In a few short years downtown Montreal is set look very different. La Place du Canada is currently undergoing phase two of a massive overhaul while St. Catherine Street is about to get a much-needed facelift. Several new towers in the west end of downtown are in various phases of construction and soon our skyline will be changed forever. This solidifying and strengthening of our city’s core will invigorate downtown with a fresh crop of business, shopping, food, drink and entertainment. La Coupole 8Standing tall amongst all these new developments, Le Crystal Hotel and La Coupole Montreal, it’s elegant house restaurant, have set the bar high for anyone wishing to swoop in and set up shop. We paid a visit to the restaurant last week and here are our thoughts. La Coupole 1La Coupole 17La Coupole 7With it’s rounded, sky-scrapping tower and enchanting crystal ball which can be seen hanging in the lobby from the street, Le Crystal hotel and condo tower is anchored in the west end of downtown. La Coupole is one of the brightest lights in our city’s spirited restaurant scene. The restaurant offers a lush atmosphere, a decadent menu created by renowned chef, Anne Desjardins and a service so impeccably in sync with their tables, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been choreographed. La Coupole 5Early last week, DJNL was invited to the restaurant for a 3-course sampling from their extensive menu. We met and shared our meal with 3 members of the Le Crystal and La Coupole team who beamed with pride as they showed us around their establishments. They appeared confident that we would walk away satisfied before a single fork was lifted off the linen covered table. La Coupole 9The evening kicked off with a glass of bubbly (a delightful Domaine de l’orpailleur) as we socialized before taking to our seats. Plates of delicious cheeses, meats and bread were spread across the table and helped get us started before we ordered. A set menu was chosen for the evening’s three courses and each service was perfectly paired with a different wine. La Coupole 11I started the meal with a spicy autumn soup du jour. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper and made from onions, potatoes, leeks and cream, the soup hit the spot. With the temperature dropping outside, it was the perfect way to get started. We were served a glass of 2013 Pierre à feu (Sauvignon Blanc) from Domaine Vincent Ricard to accompany the soup. La Coupole 13La Coupole 12For the main course I chose the braised pork cheeks that tenderly feel apart with the slightest touch of my fork. The delicious meat came served on a creamy potato purée with a helping of a warm apple slaw that sweetly balanced the savory pork. A fresh, knife-cut tartar was also served as a main course. The meal was perfectly paired with a glass of Gamay Noir from the Niagara region. La Coupole 10La Coupole 6Between the main course and dessert we were taken on a brief tour of La Coupole. We visited two of their private dining rooms, one that reaches high into the sky with a gravity defying, vaulted ceiling. We also learned that their heated terrasse (we covered the launch last summer) is accessible all year long, including availability for private functions during the winter. Before returning to our seats we also visited the Legends wall in the lobby of the hotel. The wall features photography of some of our city’s most colourful sports legends. La Coupole 15When we were all once again seated, the dessert started coming out. The special menu chosen for the evening featured only one dessert, a homemade pudding chômeur that was served warm with toasted pistachios and a sweet sorbet. The sweet bread pudding was one of the most delicious desserts I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. La Coupole 18Our experience at La Coupole was warm, relaxed and sophisticated. Discovering their menu was exciting and I’m looking forward to trying more. With its robust atmosphere and central location, La Coupole is the perfect place to have everything from an intimate dinner to a group outing with friends and colleagues. It’s definitely on my “restaurant to repeat” list! Photo credit: David Major-Lapierre