The Québécois Finally Bring Us Poutine With The Gentry
A very warm Bienvenue, to The Gentry! This absolutely adorable French-Canadian inspired restaurant by Chef Gillian Clark is now open on Manhattan Avenue and we couldn’t be more excited. From the moment I stepped in, I realized that this is a place I will frequent often. The décor is a little Louis XIV, a little Lewis Carroll, and a dash of Brooklyn. Ornate gold mirrors of various shapes and sizes adorn the walls in a style that would make Pinterest users swoon and a cabinet is lined with a collection of teacups. The wooden tables are engraved with French scroll, adding a casual touch to the otherwise Baroque atmosphere. The sign out front proclaims that this is Montreal-style cuisine, and I smile with the knowledge that they have an entire menu page devoted to poutines.
Our waiter, Jory, dropped off a basket of gougéres, hot from the oven, and we happily snacked on these perfect little cheese puffs as we perused the menu. I’m a huge sucker for caramelized onions so, of course, settled on the l’oignon poutine, despite there being many amazing options to select from. The poutine was excellent, a pile of fresh, crisp frites topped with sweet, melty onions and crumbled Cotija cheese. I sipped a Brooklyn lager, which pairs perfectly, and enjoyed the French café music playing gently in the background.
I was happy to have more than one vegetarian option to chose from and finally settled on the ratatouille. It was exactly as it should be; simple, rustic, and delicious, plus beautifully plated on patterned china which would’ve been at home at a sophisticated tea party. It was served with oh-so-perfect bread, spread with olive oil. This light and simple dish was so comforting that I could almost imagine a grandmother serving this to me outdoors on a warm summer day. My husband ordered the Coq Frite, or fried chicken, served atop polenta with mushroom sauce. The chicken is served bone-in, with a wing, a drum, and a thigh. He proclaimed that it was perfectly cooked with a delicious breading.
Thoroughly enjoying the lovely atmosphere, we opted to stay longer and order dessert. Every option sounded amazing, especially the hazelnut dacquoise, but I was craving apple cake. It arrived on that absolutely beautiful china, which I wish I had on my wedding registry, atop a drizzle of caramel sauce. My biggest dining pet peeve is overly sweet desserts, and thankfully this lovely cake did not stumble into that trap. It was light and moist and allowed the natural sweetness of the apples to shine through.
My experience at The Gentry was overwhelmingly positive from start to finish. The attentive, welcoming service, the delightful atmosphere that I repeatedly remarked on throughout the meal, and the wonderful food, all impressed me equally. I appreciated that each detail was considered, from the plates to the lighting to the music, which all coalesced in a natural manner without a hint of affectedness. I can’t wait to return to this well conceived and expertly executed restaurant–they are very welcome in our neighborhood!
The Gentry is located at 592 Manhattan Avenue. They are open every day, 4 pm – midnight.