I remember my first visit to Bistro Le Coq, as if it were yesterday. I sat down to dinner with a group of girlfriends and one declared to the waiter, “You choose my meal. I like everything. I’ll take one appetizer, a main & a dessert”. This was well before “food blogger” appeared next to my name and I remember thinking she was so brave but also applauding her willingness to try new things.
Fast forward a few years and this is how Brent and I live our culinary lives. More often than not, we let the servers choose our meals and it’s opened up a whole new world of food for us. My palate has been stretched, expanded and introduced to some incredible culinary delights using this method so when Ana, the GM of Bistro Le Coq, offered to choose our meals we were all in. Imagine Brent’s surprise, when two of our dishes arrived at the table, raw.
Typically this is where I would tell you all about the food we enjoyed (and I will…read to the bottom) but since a good many people, especially here on the East Coast of Canada, are apprehensive about sampling tartare (because it comes raw), I thought I’d do things a bit differently today and try and convince you to give it a chance. It is, after all, a delicacy and often described as the most succulent and delicious item on any fine dining menu. So, if you’re on the fence about trying tartare (beef or otherwise) for the first time, here are 4 reasons to give it chance.
1. It’s Full of Flavour
Steak can be hit or miss and while I’ve only sampled tartare a few times I can tell you, first hand, the flavour is amazing. Tartare is typically loaded with seasoning and the flavour is fantastic. I’d be willing to bet, if you closed your eyes and didn’t look, you would never know it was raw beef you were eating.
2. It’s Safe…Actually it’s Healthy!
C’mon now – this is an easy one isn’t it? We have no problem with raw fish (which is, arguably, worse when you consider the animals digestive and filtration systems) but somehow raw beef is an issue? The truth is, quality tartare is as safe as anything else on the menu. In fact, it’s got some health benefits that it’s cooked counterparts don’t like enzymes, Vitamin B & Vitamin C which are effectively killed off in the cooking process.
3. It’s Easy to Digest
If you’re someone who has some tummy troubles, tartare might just become your new favourite dish because raw meat is actually easier to digest (and packed with protein & healthy fats) than cooked.
4. It Expands Your Palate
There’s something so refined about trying new dishes, particularly when those dishes are a little outside your comfort zone. Every time you sample something new it opens you up to a world of possibilities. Personally, I find foods like this incredibly exotic and I love having the opportunity to sample dishes like these whenever I can.
Brunch at Bistro Le Coq
If you’re still not convinced to give tartare a try, don’t worry. Bistro Le Coq has plenty of other options to try including their classic eggs benny with local ham and duck fat rosti or salad (I had both) and the salads lyonnaise. We were really impressed with both dishes and also thouroughly enjoyed the breakfast cocktail selections. You can always tell when a chef takes pride in his work and everything that arrived at our table was clearly prepared with care.
The bottom line
When you’re adventurous with food, will you love every single thing you try? Probably not. Will you find amazing new foods that you never knew about? Absolutely! I think embracing the delicacies of other regions is a luxury and a privilege and that if we didn’t, we’d be missing out on some really exquisite experiences.