If you’re a St. Henri resident, then you’ve probably already heard about Notre Dame’s latest hot spot, Ludger. If you haven’t, then you do now and owe yourself a trip to this gourmet watering hole or, as they call it, buvette gourmande.
The name pays homage to neighbourhood legend Ludger Lemieux, the famous architect behind the Atwater Market, among other notable landmarks. You can find his face gracing the restaurant’s exterior along Rue du Couvent. In line with his design style, the art deco details transport you back to the time of Mr. Lemieux himself.
While the name and decor are rich in history, the atmosphere is far from antiquated. Pass by Thursday through Saturday and you’ll see just how much buzz this newcomer has created. From suppertime til the late hours, Ludger is always bustling.
Their lounge scene and cocktail menu are reason enough. While you can’t go wrong with a crisp, refreshing Pimm’s Cup, the Dark and Stormy, made with rum, homemade ginger syrup, and soda, can easily rival any of your go-to cocktail contenders.
The drink menu isn’t their only gourmet feature, with a seasonal dinner menu equally worth praising. Constantly evolving chalkboard menus garner high expectations of fresh, farm-to-table ingredients, and Ludger offers just that. From fresh seafood to hearty meats, and a strong emphasis on local produce, there are plenty of great options to choose from.
The Tataki de Boeuf 1855 is a perfect example of the quality that comes out of Ludger’s kitchen. It’s prepared with kimchi, sliced truffles, and soybean oil. As if your mouth wasn’t watering already, here’s the play-by-play… The exterior: nicely seared. The interior: rare and marbled. All together: a tender and flavourful execution. Combine it with the sour kimchi and rich truffles, and, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve scored ourselves a home run. Yet even with such bold, pungent toppings, the freshness and quality of the meat still manage to be the focal point of the plate.
The short ribs are another standout dish, served with a carrot purée, fries, and a coffee-infused sauce. The plate is one heaping portion of juicy, fall-off-the-bone beef atop the most mesmerizing carrot purée, easily classifiable as a mousse with its smooth and airy texture. The “fries” lend a nice crunch to the dish and round out the robust flavour profile.
Craving lighter fare? Opt for a small plate of veggies. Or don’t. The sides of risotto are a perfectly excusable diet violation. Take, for instance, the rabbit risotto: tender rabbit and creamy risotto garnished with homemade pickled veggies in the perfect snack-sized portion – what’s not to love?
If you leave room for dessert (highly encouraged), be sure to order the donuts. Do it. The warm fried balls of dough are the perfect sweet ending to an evening at Ludger.
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