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Raclette, La
1059 Gilford, corner of Christophe Colomb. Laurier métro. BYOB

RESERVATIONS: 524-8118. HOURS: 5:30 p.m. on. NO-SMOKING SECTION: Yes. WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No. PRICES -TABLE D’HÔTE: $14.75—$16.75. CREDIT CARDS: Visa, Mastercard, Interac.
Arrive at La Raclette, as we did, on a sunny Sunday evening at six, or on a weeknight, with the entire cream-coloured room awash with the light of the setting sun) and you will see a difference. Make sure you're there early on, when the anticipation of a grand evening is in the air, and the first smells of dinner waft across the floor from the open, gleaming stainless-steel and copper kitchen.

The decor reminds us of one of Lyon's grand cafés. In one corner, there is a fantastic, massive antique buffet with a chocolate-coloured marble top, bedecked with a vase of flowers; in another, a captain’s mirror and a candelabra; in yet another, three tables for two squeeze into a nook, where savvy, early- bird couples sip their fine wine and watch the last rays caressing the Plateau's triplexes.

Even the bathrooms boast fantastic dried-flower arrangements that frame the rather romanticized posters and prints of Switzerland, and—how’s this for an extra—as the daylight fades, candles are lit to guide the diner into the darkened bathroom!

The mousseline de foles de volaille is simply splendid, rich, yet fairly light; the salade d'épInards avec vinaigrette à la menthe, which comes with tiny diced red peppers as decoration, is good as well. The escalope de veau à la crème, a Swiss specialty, served with trademark rôti potatoes (finely cut and roasted) is meltingly tender, but you may also want to try the grande raclette garnie, boeuf et jambon des Grisons; the escalope de saumon frais à la moutarde de Meaux, or the alpen nüdla (here's the Northern Italian influence), a fettucine à la crème, with gruyére, ham, and caramelized onions. Try the mousse au chocolat, the poires belle Hélene or the clafoutis aux cérises noires for dessert—all exquisite.

On a final note, the chef and her assistant should be congratulated for the superior, and improving, quality of the dishes; may the table d’hôte continue to be an arena of inspiration and experimentation for them!

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