Although I have several birthdays that I remember with great fondness the one that truly stands out in my mind as an experience that will always be cherished, is the one a few years ago. My husband has learned long ago that I don't place a lot of importance on my own birthday, actually I don't really put much importance on most of the days that celebrate 'me'. Just who I am, not a big fan of being made a fuss over and although I'm certainly no shy one, I prefer not to grab the limelight when it comes to 'special days'...I like to leave that for others to enjoy. This one year however, my husband and friends decided I deserved something special.
A good friend made reservations at a local Casino resort that was an experience I am very thankful I was fortunate enough to experience. I don't believe however that any of us expected the level of service and opulence that we enjoyed that evening though. Le Baccara, a fine French cuisine restaurant located on the 3rd floor of the Casino du Lac Leamy in Hull, Quebec was an incredible and enriching dining experience. In both winter and summer the view from this elegant establishment is breathtaking. In winter Lake Carriere and Lake Leamy, both viewable from Le Baccara's 3rd story windows offer a snow coated elegance that is picture post card perfect. In summer, particularly during the 'Festival of Lights' and the International Fireworks display competitions, the view can be breathtaking.
Le Baccara caters to many clientele throughout the year and as a Fine dining establishment they pride themselves on doing everything with an extra touch of class. Surprisingly however, regardless of your stature in life...whether a Head of State or a Student, the level of service and quality of treatment each and every person receives from the Le Baccara staff, is truly in a class of it's own and one that visitors cannot soon forget. With the richness of the decor, the impressive marble entry and the highest level of impeccable service, one key to Le Baccara's incredible success and 5 diamond rating is the skill with which the staff continues to treat each and every guest ensuring they feel welcome, comfortable and deserving of treatment truly fit for Royalty. Dinner attire is business casual and although jacket and tie aren't necessary they do recommend it. The dining room is open from 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm Wednesdays to Sundays and will also cater to groups on Mondays & Tuesdays. The dining room is restricted to diners age 18 and older due to the fact that entry to Le Baccara is via the Casino.
After ushering us to our table which looked out over the rivers and gave us a wide view of our favorite city just across the way, we were offered large elegant menus...obviously price is no object when one dines here as there are no prices listed on the menu. The Maitre'd provided us with the evening's Chef's specialty and also suggested wines which would compliment each meal perfectly.
Foods included a wide array of local, countrywide and French Provincial dishes and everything from the classic Garden Salad to spit-roast loin was elegantly and carefully prepared for the patrons.
After finally making our selections we were able to relax in a very serene atmosphere that despite it's opulence was very comfortable. During the evening we enjoyed the beautiful music provided to us by a very talented Harpist which added a subtle Renaissance tone to the evening which I loved. A short while after making our meal selections two Hosts approached the table with sterling silver domed plates and requested my husband and my friend's husband review the cuts of meat that the Chef had selected for them. This step impressed the heck out of my husband and he quickly joked that the next time we decided to bbq steak, I was to remember how they had presented his cut to him so that I could duplicate the experience! He was only joking of course, my husband is the BBQ perfectionist in the family unless my oldest son gets involved-- I on the other hand am only very good at making charcoal out of what once started out as perfectly edible meats.
Once prepared to perfection, our meal was brought to our table by four Hosts each carrying a sterling silver domed tray. As they stood beside each of us, all four revealed our meals in unison and the food was spectacular from presentation to indulgence. Part way through the meal the Maitre'd appeared again and wished to know if all was to our liking. Which of course, it was...very much so!
Towards the end of the meal the same 4 Hosts returned to quickly and professionally remove our dinnerware. Shortly after we were offered tea or coffee served from gleaming sterling silver turrets. Within minutes of receiving our coffee the four hosts returned, 3 carrying desert ware and the fourth carrying a 'specially prepared' elegant cheesecake dessert in celebration of my birthday. Again the presentation was impeccable. A beautifully designed pink rose made from a thin candy that had been melted and shaped to perfection, sat gracefully atop the delectable almond cheesecake. Once it was presented to me I was again asked if it was to my liking! Heck no, take it back! I think I can honestly say, I've never been served Cheesecake so elegantly before or since.
Just before completing our incredible dessert, my friend queried one of the Host's about where she might purchase cigarettes. The Host quickly asked her what she would like and then whisked off to obtain it for her. The package of cigarettes was presented to her placed carefully placed on a sterling silver serving tray, opened and revealing one cigarette poking up from the package. By this time my friend's husband was in awe as to the level of detail Le Baccara staff went to in ensuring their guests were 'pampered'. From the moment we had arrived until the moment we left, we were made to feel welcome and truly appreciated in this exclusive dining establishment. It was one of the most incredible and most enjoyable dining experiences we've ever had.
The bill for the four of us was a very reasonable $380, money well spent for a dining experience to be remembered. The food was magnificent and the only truly unfortunate event that evening was when my husband tried to take the rose, which I saved for several years afterward, to the car. It had been packaged in a carefully designed tin foil protection so that we could take it with us but on the way to the car my husband was stopped several times by several Casino security officers and each time he had to open the little package, show them it was a harmless little rose, then package it back up again. The Le Baccara staff had warned us that we might be questioned a time or two but by the fourth guard, my husband decided it was better to just leave the package wide open as he was afraid he'd eventually damage the contents if he didn't.
Le Baccara is considered one of the finest dining establishments in the Greater Ottawa-Hull region and experiencing it's offerings if only once whether you reside in the area or are visiting from another city or country, is highly encouraged.