Tuesday, September 10, 2013

'Ladies' Night @ Table51'

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I know this may seem out-of-character, so sudden after a dinner party and review...
'Ferragosto', to return with yet another 'Moment in the pantheon' of life's journey. But
that same night, in August, on the way home from Alexandre & Fils, 'The Photographer',
who is our George Clooney, turned to me and said, "Frank, I like the Bove sisters, and
Ms Steele... let's have a dinner at that place you mentioned in Laval 'Table51'. Not too
far off, maybe in a couple of weeks... a more intimate soiree. Invite Cettina and a few
others." After several days, I thought about what he said and began to put the cogs
in motion.

'In the setting sun the striking skyline glitters, alight with promise, dripping with
possibilities.' ~ Andrew Morton

Do you ever sit and think; what if? What if you had never said the first hello… Or
what if your paths never crossed? What if you kept your mouth shut and just let
things pass? What if you had just five more minutes? What if you could turn back
time and make it all stand still… where would your life be? Better? Worse? Less
confused? More confused? Happier? Sadder? I have lived a life without regrets...
as for not saying what is on my mind... not in this lifetime!

Once again… the ladies who came veterans and newcomers alike, put a bounce
in my step and a smile on my face... and inspiration made an appearance… and
turned an impromptu, intimate soiree into 'Ladies' Night @ Table51'. Actually, one
of the women at the dinner christened the name. But I'll get to that later... since
this is a first at this restaurant... I will take a moment to familiarize you with it.

Forget the fact that you're at a mall in Laval... the men behind 'Table51' George
and Jimmy Kosmas, and Peter Tolias have succeeded in rewriting the rules of fine
dining by building this spectacular ode to good food on the North Shore... imagine
a hotspot similar to 'Globe, Buonanotte or Kabana'. Since opening in December
2009 the partners have worked to keep the stellar quality of the food and service
at its peak. Joined by Executive Chef Alex Rolland (who hails from Globe), they have
created a fun, fresh and innovative menu.

"Montrealers know food and know good restaurants, and are not going to forgive
you," Tolias said. "We know we don't get a second chance to make a first impression."

The restaurant strikes a balance between style and comfort, boldness and familiarity,
festivity and intimacy. In this elegant yet comfortable eatery that seats 180, you can
roll up to the bar and catch your favorite sports team over one of many beers on tap.
Enjoy a business power lunch, linger over an intimate dinner with your paramour, or
simply take a break from shopping with some girlfriends over a glass of wine. In this
busy, yet intimate restaurant, everything is prepared 'à la minute'. "There's nothing
frozen here but shrimp and ice-cream," Tolias said.

After a slow start, which is becoming the norm, the table was complete with seven
delicious ladies, a distinguished gentleman and me. The instigator, my friend Luigi,
had a last minute engagement and did not come to his own party. The distinguished
gentleman said he was happy to be the only other man in the midst of my Harem... of
which three were newcomers.

The wine arrived, not soon enough, a 'Sterling Vintner's Collection' from California…
a full-bodied, balanced cabernet with classic aromas of cassis and blackberry. We
started with a Hummus and Guacamole accompanied by Yukon chips and house-made
sesame crackers. Zucchini Rolls stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with a tomato
lentil vinaigrette. They disappeared in no time... and I kept asking for seconds... and
They took simple, fun comfort food and added their own twist... made it special. Bacon
and cheddar 'croquettes' with chipotle mayo. Everyone is doing a mini-burger, but not
like these guys. Mini Mak with a perlimpinpin sauce… all natural, juicy and even the
fresh bun is sweet and soft to the palate. Fresh-cut jumpo wings with a 'Table51' sauce,
carrots and celery... and of course a house salad.
For one of the mains... the Roasted Salmon with Pinot Grigio, maldon sea salt and seasonal
vegetables, with a carrot sauce. But the dish on most plates was the 'Braised Beef' (no
knife required) in red wine with herb-roasted root vegetables. I think it's the most tender,
mouth-watering piece of meat I have ever had (no pun intended). Unbelievable!

The ladies were getting acquainted... and I smiled... André aka Mr. Patterson, the
distinguished gentleman, late 50s' looks 48. I have known André almost as long as
Bombshell (her uncle)... a very smart man, who runs a multinational and found a way
for it to work for him instead of him working for it… Like I said... very smart. His lovely
daughter, Stefanie… who made her first appearance at 'Ferragosto'. Of course 'My Muse'
who is always delicious... and the delightful Wendy, whose dress was Va! Va! Voom!
One half of the Bove Sisters, Antonella (who christened the soirée) ... made a happy
enclave on one side. To my right the lovely Virginia, who I had not seen in a while... so
we did a lot of catching up. I have known her practically since infancy. Another beautiful
lady I had not seen in ages, Nikki Dahlin', who brought along another beautiful soul.
Joanne, who to my astonishment, is the ex-sister-in-law of my old partner when I owned
and operated 'Le Bistro des Bavards', back in my youth in the early 1980s'. I almost fell
off my chair. Another enchanting factor of the evening was a night of reminiscences.

The distinguished gentleman would have been content with these fine five ladies... but
lo and behold, by the time the main dishes arrived so did another trio of delicious dames
(love saying that). My Poppy Montgomery (Toni), who came with her two girlfriends, Julia
and Melina another sister combo. And I smiled...

'The great events of life often leave one unmoved; they pass out of consciousness, and,
when thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in
the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion. We reject the burden of their memory, and
have anodynes against them. But the little things, the things of no moment, remain with
us. In some tiny ivory cell the brain stores the most delicate, and the most fleeting
impressions.' ~ Oscar Wilde

Life is short... Live your dream... Share your passion... A la prossima!

Namaste ±
Your Cruise Director
September 6, 2013