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Caprices de Nicolas, Les
2072 Drummond St.

Open Tue—Fri. from noon to 2 p.m.. Mon.-Sat. from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Licensed. Major credit cards. 282-9790.
A treasure chest of pampered civility, this breathtakingly comfortable room with its luxurious service now boasts the creations of a new chef, William Frachot.

Among dishes sampled: potato pancakes on poached salmon with beurre blanc and caviar; fried skate on aromatic couscous; melting duck liver with poached pear; a complimentary sorbet; tender duck breast with yam and dates; sweetbreads with salsify and caramelized cippolini onions; and outstanding sea bass with asparagus and wild mushrooms.

Fabulous desserts. Pricey with satisfying wines and many fine frills. A must-attend. Reservations recommended.

Carrying the torch left by the abrupt disappearance of chef Nicolas Jongleux, Les Caprices will no doubt cast light on your venal sins. You won't be able to resist William Frachot's concoctions—remember the name , in case of another sudden vanishing act. Frachot has already proved that he's in the same league as Normand Laprise or Jongleux. His French cuisine is even more influenced by American trends than the latter's, with a certain je ne sais quoi (to be precise) of folly and wisdom at the same time.

Complimentary hors d'oeuvres as an introduction and complimentary delicacies to top it all off. 500-label wine list. Private room. The chef bakes the bread, too. Unquestionably, one of the prettiest downtown restaurants—plus the garden is reserved for nonsmokers. Terrific at twilight.

Sample menu: Bay of Fundy salmon tartar with ginger confit and coriander, truffe-scented warm quail and asparagus salad, magret of roast duck with citrus juice and red-wine syrup, salmon pavé with onion preserves and currants, Alberta beef fillets with a herb crust and pistachio gravy, vanilla blancmange with red berries marinated in muscatel, basil and mint, soup soufflé à la guanaja and ginger ice cream.

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