I’ve never considered myself a food critic, but I know good food when I taste it. And I know a great restaurant when I encounter one. So how do you beat good food, good wine, and a cozy, old world restaurant? There’s only one thing that makes that experience better…when the owner re-opens the place, brings the lights up, tells you to sit wherever you want and offers a mini wine tasting until you choose the perfect Bordeaux to go with your meal.
That was my dinner experience a few night ago at Crabhouse Serafim in Old Montreal.
My coworker from The Lion King had a wonderful experience there and raved about the food and the service, so I decided to try them out. When I found the restaurant I noticed only three people on the outdoor terrace. The door was open but there was a curtain covering the entrance. I pulled it back to find a completely empty restaurant. An older gentleman, Nicolas, told me that they were closed, and I asked about their normal hours. We talked a bit and just as I was leaving he said “Hey! Are you in the Lion Play?”
I chuckled. Next thing I know he has taken my arm in his and ushered me through the door, insisting that I sit and order. Now of course I put up some resistance, not wanting to inconvenience the entire staff already preparing to close up shop. But upon his insistence, I chose my table, next to a closed piano under a replica of The Creation of Adam, took a seat and received the personal attention that he and his daughter, Tina, were offering so freely.
The meal that I chose was absolutely delicious, perfectly prepared and never rushed.
My starter was shrimp made sweet in a honey marinade over delicious saffron rice accompanied by a wonderfully sweet ice wine. The entree was a tender lamb shank served with tagine and rice and a smooth Bordeaux. Dessert? A cloud-like citrus, lemon cheesecake served in a miniature mason jar.
Needless to say, my taste buds were completely satisfied and my belly, so full that I had to decline the tea that was offered as a finish to the meal. But what was even more full was my spirit. These people, Nicolas and Tina, had opened up their closed restaurant to me and offered nothing less than what I imagine is the service they offer on their most successful day. The ambiance of my solo dining experience was only enhanced by the two young girls who were content to be toted by Nicolas or quietly entertained by Tina in the front of the restaurant
As I paid my bill, making sure to leave a substantial tip, and prepared to leave I chatted with Tina about the show and her own dabbling in the performing arts here in Montreal. She offered to throw a party for the cast of The Lion King. It being our last, and generally most hectic week, I could make no guarantee but I’ve definitely raved about them and sent a few more customers their way.
This experience of mine at Crabhouse Serafim was truly Divine Dining. Good for the spirit, soul, and belly. If you’re ever in Montreal, get down to the Old Port to say hello and have a meal. Tell them Tryphena from The Lion King sent you. And PLEASE, have the cheesecake. You won’t be disappointed!