Be it ever so humble there is no place like home and that describes La Cuisine in downtown Windsor, Ontario. The restaurant was located on the second floor above a retail shop and was probably the original shop owners residence in past days, when this was a common occurrence. When we felt like having dinner in a foreign land where else but a quick trip to Canada.
The restaurant was in a flat that had been converted into a restaurant with seating in what would have been the parlor, dining room and one of the bedrooms. Where the original kitchen was, had been maintained, but the wall to the dining room area had been removed so that you could watch the chef prepare all the meals. The wall behind him was covered with assorted accoutrements of the trade, all neatly arrayed waiting for his hand to grab an item for the next dish. The restaurant was a family affair, the chef was behind the stoves cooking and his wife was the hostess and also the waitress. Such a lovely couple, they greeted everyone as if you were entering their home. During one of our trips there we were informed that the Chef had at one time worked in early television in a soap opera, whether that was in France or Canada, I can not recall. This may have been lore that they created for him, but he was quite theatrical and he would regale the diners if they were seated I the dining room area of the flat. He would sing, tell jokes and stories all the time he was preparing the dishes. Knowing this, we also requested a table in the dining room area to savor the experiences even more.
We always enjoyed starting of with a Foie gras that originated in Montreal and was served with very buttery covered toast points and a Madeira sauce. We always diverged on the salads, because they were so different. There was a Salade de Provence with a tarragon dressing and a Montmartoise that had a lot of “stuff” on the salad (my preference). Over the years we had sampled his Bouillabaisse, which had his secret ingredient of a touch of Pernod. There were times when we tried his Beef Marchads de Vin, a house Terrine and Lamb Provencal. We also seemed to end our meal with a crepe of bananas and chocolate that was sinfully rich.
The wine list was always small and selected by the chef to complement what he was serving and the list always was different. I always felt that he shopped for the wines after he shopped for the daily ingredients as the menu always seemed to have something new. One night we were celebrating and we picked a bottle of champagne that was from the Niagara Peninsula, made in the Methode Traditionelle by Chateau des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This was a non-vintage bottle of champagne, but it fit the bill as the evening was full of enjoyment, good food and great entertainment furnished by the chef and the waitress.