Cailles en sarcophage isn’t always on the menu at Jean-Christophe Poirier’s cozy, open-kitchen tribute to classical French and traditional Québécois cuisines. And yet this voluptuously stuffed quail dish, famously featured in the Danish film Babette’s Feast, has become something of a signature. Why? Because the intricate indulgence served with Madeira-infused peeled grapes perfectly encapsulates how Poirier, much like the film’s central character, has seduced Vancouver diners away from their puritanical tendencies with buttery pastries, richly reduced sauces and majestic pâté en croûte. Poirier, who did his formative training at Montreal’s Toqué!, bought out his partners at The Kitchen Table Restaurant Group to become an independent owner this year. For diners, nothing obvious has changed. The regular menu, which has always been guided by his singular vision, still features individually portioned venison tourtière under golden domes of pâte brisée and beautifully brined pork chops topped with melted Oka cheese. Fresh vegetables remain scant. The beverage list is exclusively French. And the suave service brims with bonhomie.
Photos: ST. LAWRENCE