July 28, 2008

Been dazed and confused

There are good food experiences and good atmosphere experiences. Then there are GREAT dining experiences, where the decor, the service and the flavours all come together to create a memorable evening out.

Such was my experience at Confusion, where the only thing remotely confusing was the lengthy menu. The food was an exquisite novelty to my palate. Our waiter was amiable and very helpful. Oh, and we sat on swings to eat at the smallest two-people table ever. Yes you read that right. SWINGS. (And I can personally guarantee that they do indeed swing very well back and forth, though you might hit either the waiters or the patrons eating right behind you. I'm sorry?)

CONFUSION Tapas du Monde

Address: 1639 St-Denis (Metro Berri-UQAM)
Phone: (514) 288-2225
Website: http://www.restaurantconfusion.com
Style: tapa bar, French bistro
Hours: Tue - Sat 5:30 PM to Midnight
Sun - Mon 5:30 PM to 10 PM

(A picture taken from Tourisme Montreal. The swings would be on the right side of the room. I was so taken with the place and the food that I forgot to take pictures...)

Confusion has a great decor. It's all red and dimly lit, with mirrors and white booths. Very chic, yet cosy. The tables are also rather tiny, hence the intimate setting that's perfect for a little dinner romance or for a good family meal out. Just like the menu, the setting is a mix of casual (the terrasse right on St-Denis), the fancy (the lounge upstairs) and the unexpected (SWINGS!!!). To get a really good feel of the place, I ask, nay *demand* that you go onto their website and click on "The place" to see the Flash animation.

The restaurant bills itself as a tapas bar, meaning that it served a multitude of dishes from all over the world (but mostly in the French bistro style) in portions too small to be an individul main dish, but too heavy to serve as mere appetizers. The philosophy here is to SHARE everything (food, space, conversation), a concept I happily agree with. After much deliberation, my dinner companion (okay, my boyfriend) and I finally decided to order, all in tapa servings:
- Lamb kefta meatballs, which came with a wonderfully savoury and garlic-y hummus sauce;
- Salmon tartar with shallots and truffle oil (served with Belgian fries);
- Creamy parmesan risotto with garden veggies;
- A grilled leg of octopus, a dish the establishment is famous for;
- And two desserts, blue cheese crème brûlée (trust me, it's much better than it sounds!) and a chocolate souffle.

The bill came to about 100 dollars for both of us, without anything to drink, but oh my, it was SO WORTH IT. The lamb was so tender and well-seasoned, and that salmon! Oh salmon tartar, how I have dreamt long and hard about you! It did not disappoint, though the accompagnying fries were much too salty. The octopus was...interesting. It had the texture of fish, but the taste of chicken. Or at least, it did to me. I don't think that I'd order that dish again, but I defintively appreciated the chewy suction cups on the leg and the tenderness of the flesh. And the risotto! Oh that rich, creamy and toothsome risotto! I am a huge fan of risotto, and that one was by far the best that I've ever tasted (bear in mind that I have yet to cook up my own, or muster the funds to go try Le Club Chasse et Pêche). Another highlight was the blue cheese crème brûlée. On paper, the concept sounds silly and potential disastrous, but the execution was so smooth that the end product was sleek, sweet and distinctly cheesy.

I did not expect four tapas and two desserts to fill up two hungry people, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was so full after the meal that I couldn't even make space for a hot chocolate next door at Juliette et ses Chocolats! Instead, we walked out onto St-Denis and mingled with the Just for Laughs Festival crowds. A great meal followed by a stroll through a beautiful city in the throes of summer festival season...what more could one want?

In a nutshell: Confusion is rather expensive for students on a budget, but the food there is defintively worth your money! Great atmosphere for dates, birthday parties or family meals. So many flavours and textures to explore...I know that I'm defintively going back there. I even already started planning what I'll take next time. Israeli couscous, creamy garden risotto as a main, crispy duck rolls....I'm salivating already!


Anonymous said...

Guuuuuuuh. Spent a while digging around their site and I WANTS IT PLEASE. Everything sounds so good! And their website it really cute too.

Betsy said...

Meggie, their food is so delish and awesome and tasty and ~different~....I need to go back. Preferably with you in tow!