Through the good shots and, sometimes, the not so good, our restaurant critics tell you about their experience, introduce the team in the dining room and in the kitchen, while explaining what motivated the choice of the restaurant. This week: the Gourmet Table of the popular Cidrerie Lacroix.
Posted at 11:00 a.m.
Why talk about it?
Undoubtedly one of the best-known cider houses in Quebec, whose products can be found in more than 2,000 points of sale and at the SAQ since last summer, Cidrerie Lacroix has the wind in its sails. In 2020, she offered herself a magnificent building, which hosts the new Gourmet Table. We went to see if it lived up to what was promised, a “farm to table” experience.
Who are they ?
The Lacroix family has been in the apple growing business since 1879. In 1988, Danielle Marceau and Pascal Lacroix founded Verger Lacroix in Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, and began making cider in 2004. The company is renowned Cidrerie Lacroix in 2018, following an association with Microbrasserie Archibald, which belongs to Labatt. Recently, a fifth generation of Lacroix is at the head of the company: Elisabeth and Gabrielle Lacroix, daughters of the founders, are respectively general manager and director of operations. The Gourmet Table is a bit like the baby of these. To carry out their vision, they are supported by cellar master Robin Kristner and chef Alexis Guyon.
My little family and I set off for Cidrerie Lacroix on a beautiful, sunny but chilly Sunday in October. The place, rural, is very busy, with a very pretty outdoor space, well laid out with its different sections — gourmet stop for a quick bite, tasting area, farmhouse, fire to warm up, etc. We whet our appetites by picking a few bags of apples from the orchard of 7,000 apple trees.
Inside, we are greeted by friendly, smiling staff. The bright space stands out with its high ceilings, wooden beams and hanging green plants. Although the restaurant was full online, several tables are free. It still takes a long time before our dishes are placed in front of us.
The place says it puts forward a “farm to table” philosophy, but besides the Oka cheese factories and the Round Table and the chicken from the La rose des vents farm (Mont-Laurier), no local producer or artisan is not mentioned on the map. Where do the veal and brioche bread for the burger, the braised pork belly for the sandwich, the beef for the tartare, the cod for the acras come from? Mystery.
In reality, it is mainly an “orchard to table” approach that is proposed. Some dishes use Lacroix processed products such as barbecue spices, while sauces and vinaigrettes seem to have been made with cider or apple juice. In the plate of burrata, which the adults take as a starter while son feasts on the half-club, very generous and tasty with its very juicy chicken, we promise apples from the orchard… which take the form of a few somewhat sad slices . They accompany cherry tomatoes, green olives and marinated vegetables arranged around a too cold burrata, which has not been tempered. Rather disappointing.
The promised “decadent” burger, with its veal patty and diced apples, a “local” cheddar and sautéed mushrooms, is quite good, without standing out too much. Served with a simple green salad and a small portion of fries, this dish is not up to the asking $31.
The cod acras, served with a homemade ranch sauce, are correct, a little too fried, but still soft inside, with their fresh herbs. Again, nothing transcendent.
The highlight of the meal comes at the end, when we go to the gourmet stop to order apple fritters, the specialty of the place. Served still hot, crispy and sprinkled with icing sugar, they are worth the wait of several minutes. Too bad they’re only on the menu during apple season.
Putting forward a local philosophy and proximity is in tune with the times. However, the establishment should be clearer about the origin of its ingredients and work more on its dishes to offer more substance, beyond the pretty formulas.
In our glass
The range of local ciders is vast, very accessible, designed to appeal to a wide audience. The Radler drunk on the spot was quite acidic, without much depth. Several cider-based cocktails are also on the menu, as well as a selection of Quebec wines and Archibald beers. Curious, I brought back from the local shop a bottle of Oh Honey, from the Nature Series, refreshing and tangy, even if it’s far from the farmhouse side expected in this type of natural cider.
Prices start at $18 and go all the way up to $31. Children’s menu at $10. Ciders on tap at $7 a glass and $9 a pint, cocktails hovering around $13, tasting set at $12 for four kids. For U-pick, you have to pay $4 per person in entrance fees and the apples are sold at $1.25 a pound.
Good to know
Apple picking (don’t forget your bags!) continues normally until the end of October. Then, the gourmet stop ceases its activities, but the shop and the Gourmet Table operate all year round. La Cidrerie Lacroix is participating in the La Grande Presse event this weekend and is likely to be very busy.
La Cidrerie Lacroix’s Gourmet Table is offered on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., from Thursday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., then from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., as well as on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. . We strongly advise you to book.
649 Main Road, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac