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Jan 05

The Sterling Restaurant Review: Our only beef was the beef!

Sterling Restaurant Gatineau

Sterling Restaurant in Gatineau: Mainly because of the Meat!
It’s a good thing it wasn’t a date!
We were way more than fashionably late..
The beef though called Sterling perhaps wasn’t the best,
But we thoroughly enjoyed all of the rest.
But don’t go if you hope to lose weight

Anyone who had been in our car as we made our recent foray across the river and into the wilds of Gatineau would attest to the fact that I did little, on this particular evening to counter the male stereotype of one who eschews directions. Having a pre-conceived and, as it would subsequently turn out, totally erroneous notion of where we were going (Rue Jacques Cartier),  I crossed the Alexandra Bridge and discovered that Jacques Cartier Park and Rue Jacques Cartier are not as close as one might imagine! My second mistake, once having decided to leave the directions to our otherwise normally fairly trustworthy Tom-Tom. When I entered Jacques Cartier, it told me that it was 5.5 kms away. The street number of the restaurant which I entered from memory appeared invalid, so I accepted the alternative offered by the device.

5.5kms later, the GPS cheerfully announced: ‘ You have reached your destination!’  The only problem was that there was no restaurant in sight. We drove the length of the street hoping that we would espy our desired location. No such luck! We stopped and attempted to look up the restaurant address on my smartphone. Unfortunately, the battery was too low to accomplish this task and we had to locate the car charger. Once we were finally online, it turned out that the address was 839 rather than 400 and that was 2.7 kms away. To say that we were in the dark was both figurative and literal. In the light of day and with the advantage of a map, we were never that far, even from our first stop just over the bridge but the GPS had led us a merry dance through the environs of Hull and Gatineau. The end result was that instead of being 15 minutes early, we were now 25 minutes late. To add insult to injury, the parking lot was packed.

Sterling Beef on the barbecue over maple wood

Sterling Beef on the barbecue over maple wood

By the time we made our way into the restaurant, it was fair to say that I was not in particularly good humour. The maître d’ somewhat mitigated this by giving us a whirlwind tour of the ground floor and explaining the intricacies of Sterling Beef. We were then led upstairs to our table. It turns out that the main dining area is one of the more salient features of the restaurant with exotic wines stacked in bins lining the entire back wall and high, intricately decorated metal-leaf clad ceilings. The clientele appeared both eclectic and upscale.

What we ordered: The menu, although sufficiently varied, obviously put the main emphasis on the beef, samples of which were brought to the table for our inspection prior to our order being taken, though I am pretty sure that we didn’t actually get the one that we pointed to. I was momentarily tempted by the rack of lamb (not actually shown to us), but wasn’t sure that the ‘Sterling’ apellation applied to it and thus was lured away to a ‘table d’hôte’ at $65 which started off with a yellow and red beet soup that caught my fancy. In the end, all three of us ended up selecting filet mignon, Dorothy and I opting for the 8oz portion that was included in the table d’hôte, while our American guest, Mike, chose a larger 12oz size with onion soup as a starter. Dorothy and I accompanied our meals with a half bottle of Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon (Australian), which was very pleasant and reasonably priced at $24.

Red & Yellow Beet Soup Scallops Appetizer Snails, Goat cheese & wilted Spinach
Filet Mignon Cuban Chocolate Marquise

What we got: Neither Dorothy nor I were sorry that we chose the beet soup. It tasted as good as it looked somewhat odd. Our appetizers, which were Pan-Seared Scallops and Snails with goat cheese on wilted spinach respectively were both beyond reproach. When it came to the main course which consisted of filet mignon with yukon gold roast potato, we were split along gender lines, with Mike and I feeling that the reality did not match up to the hype. It was not terrible, but it did NOT melt in the mouth as it should have, especially at this price level.

When I had seen ‘Cuban Chocolate Marquise’ as the dessert selection with the set meal, I had no clue as to what that might mean. Moreover, I was probably a little disappointed by its appearance when it actually arrived. When I took my first bite, on the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised at the rich chocolate explosion that took place in my mouth. It may look small but it was just the right size to finish off the meal in grand fashion. It was just a pity that a restaurant of this calibre was unable to make a latté because: “We don’t have the machine!”

Worthy of note: Although the service, on balance, was relatively good, it was marred by the switching of steak where Dorothy received hers medium rare while mine was medium-well, the reverse of our orders. Mike had ordered  asparagus and it failed to materialize at the table but appeared on the bill! When this fact was pointed out, the waiter said he would have it removed but failed to apologize for the error. This was somewhat mitigated by his personally accompanying us to the door.

Summary

  • Positives: Food was well-prepared and presented. Service was attentive and cordial. Decor was outstanding
  • Negatives: Meat didn’t live up to the hype. Either the wait-staff or kitchen made a couple of errors! A little too pricey for what we got.
  • Recommendation: If you like fine dining and can hack a trip to the backwoods of Gatineau, this is worth a try!
 
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Above average
Price $$$$ Too expensive
Decor ***** Top Notch
Service *** Too many mistakes
Overall Rating **** Good but not excellent

 

Frivolous Foodie Facts
According to Canadian Beef Grading Agency standards only the top half of all beef grades as Canada AAA and about 1 % grades as Canada Prime. Only Prime and the top tier of Canada AAA qualify as Sterling Silver Premium Beef.Sterling Silver Premium Beef is aged for a minimum of 21 days, maximizing tenderness and enhancing the rich beefy flavour.
Sterling Silver Beef is carefully sourced from throughout Western Canada.

Sterling Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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