And so the Big Taste starts!
What would my first restaurant be? I chose Q Haute Cuisine – I’ve never been for lunch there, although I’ve considered it a few times, as they offer a 3-course Express Lunch for only $20. Q Haute is located in La Caille in Eau Claire, and shares the building with Oceana restaurant (I’ve only been there for a cocktail party and eh).
I managed to make a lunch reservation for 2 at around 10:30AM, but to our surprise, the restaurant was quite busy when we got there – it would appear I just got lucky with the reservation. Bread was already on the table, and while I’m sure it was, at one time, fresh and delicious, it was quite obvious that they put it out well in advance (to live up to the Express moniker, I’m sure) so it was bordering on stale by the time we tried it. Didn’t stop us from eating most of it, though. I got the spring mix salad with pecans, oranges and cucumber and it was good, though just a touch overdressed. The main was a wild mushroom risotto (I resisted the urge to order the duck confit sandwich, though I did see it come out and it looked divine), complete with black truffle shavings and duck salami, and it was excellent. Microgreens on top had cilantro in them, but it was easy enough to sweep them to the side and enjoy the risotto. The portion was just right, and I was impressed with the risotto’s consistency – not too soupy, not too gummy, just enough mushrooms. I ordered the lemon tart for desert and it was quite good, with a crème brûlée-like thin crust on top –it looked appetizing and tasted as such.
So why three stars? Well, I was all ready to give Q Haute four, but then I ordered tea. Now, last time I went to Q Haute was 2 years ago, and that was the time I first discovered Tea Forté, aka the ridiculously expensive tea in pyramid tea bags, so I was fairly confident Q wasn't going to disappoint when it came to tea. And then it did. They brought me Red Rose, blegh. Unfortunately, that was my last impression of Q Haute, and thus it only gets three stars.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me (and I'm pretty sure I've gone on this rant before on this blog), but as far as I'm concerned, if you wouldn't serve Maxwell House when someone orders espresso, you should not be serving anyone Red Rose when they ask for a decent cup of tea. Especially not when you have "Haute Cuisine" as part of your restaurant name.