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Poulet et Tartare
3875-A Saint-Denis. Sherbrooke métro. BYOB

RESERVATIONS: 842-6245. HOURS: 5 p.m. on Wed.—Sim. Closed Sun.—Tues. NOSMOKING SECTION: No. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. PRICES—TABLE D’HÔTE: $14.95—$17.50. CREDIT CARDS: Mastercard, Visa.
Don't be afraid to take the twelve steps down to a new little restaurant called Poulet et Tartare, sandwiched in the basement between the 300-plus seat Gargantua and Pantagruel BYOB, and the Eduardo Traiteur take-out pasta store. From the street, it is rather dark looking and vaguely dingy, but once inside, you'll be greeted with a basic but warm wood and stone atmosphere, with bistro paper-topped white linen tablecloths and deep, comfy, retro-looking burgundy leatherette chairs.

Chef/owner Eduardo (no relation) came up with the resto name because those two specialties are his strongest suit.

His fresh-tasting, simple salade du marché comes with a vinaigrette spiced with fines herbes, and the marmite à chef was a solid, if slightly disappointing soup, while the éscargots de Marseille were a twist on the standard, topped with a nicely spiced, garlicky fresh tomato puree. For the main plates, we especially liked the douce volaille a l'estragon, which was delicately perfumed, elegantly sauced, and came with a small assortment of potatoes, carrots and zucchini.

Those into tartare will find both salmon and trout tartare on the handwritten menu, as well as the obligatory filet mignon tartare. Desserts are from sister resto La Bastille down the street.

N.B.—Call before you come: they are a new restaurant, and tend to close early when they are not busy.

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