“Dinner and a show” is a plain description of a night out, but it doesn’t have to be a plain experience at all. That was definitely our experience at Le Balcon, a dinner-theatre that’s right downtown 🙂 . It’s deep inside a pretty big church on Ste. Catherine Street, two blocks away from the Bay. In fact, if you’re not looking for the signs to the show, you could easily mistake the placards announcing the show for church announcements.
Once you get inside the church, you have to make your way through the many rows of pews, past the gorgeous altar and stained windows, all the way through another corridor which finally leads you to a brightly decorated and colourfully lit main stage.
Surrounding the stage are many elegantly set up dining tables on the ground floor, and bleacher-style seating on the second floor. When we got there, the dinner tables were pretty packed, and there was a lot of happy dinner chatter reverberating throughout.
We took our seats, and ordered from a fixed menu. For appetizers, we got a smooth, rich rillette with toasted French bread, and a delectable creamy soup.
The rillette had subtlety to its flavours that somehow blended together, with no one taste overpowering any of the others.
When the soup was served, it was pretty obvious that the intent to achieve a subtle flavour blend carried across appetizers. The soup was simple and pleasantly tasty.
This all made for a good opening to our mains, which were roasted filet of salmon accompanied by a smooth pulped almond cream and sweet potato mash, and braised pork.
The salmon was tender and really well-seasoned (perhaps marinated for a good long time). It fell apart easily with just a fork, but wasn’t so well done as to completely disintegrate at contact. Basically, it was cooked juuuuuuuust right. The accompanying paste and cream combined easily to further heighten the seasoning of the fish, and it tested Henry’s patience to slowly savour every bite [Henry: Yes, yes it did 😛 ] [Mariam: The concept of “Good things come to those who wait” is just lost on you, isn’t it? 🙂 ] [Henry: Yes, yes it is 😛 ].
The braised pork was equally tender. The seasoning was lighter than it was for the salmon, but that was probably for the best – the sauces that came with the pork complemented it extremely well.
Finally, dessert was a chocolate red velvet cake (apparently, the other dessert options had already been completely sold out!). It was small and delicate, and had just the right level of sweetness (for us). Overall, it felt like someone had put a lot of thought and care into balancing the flavours and presentation of the entire meal. Clearly, having a fixed menu was a good idea here!
Just as we finished eating, movement started happening on the stage. The main act of the night, Ms. Sylvie Desgroseillers, came onstage and greeted the crowed. She introduced herself and the performers of the night, and then the show was on. Oh, was it ever on.
Ms. Desgroseillers proved to be a VERY powerful stage and musical presence. Switching effortlessly between French and English, most of what she sang were covers of songs made famous by female vocalists known for their range and vocal intensity. She sang from the catalogues of Josephine Baker, (Mariam’s favourite) Aretha Franklin, and (Henry’s favourite) Tina Turner. She also added Latin songs into the mix, and all the while, she was sashaying and swaying and gesticulating.
She encouraged the crowd to get up and dance, and boy howdy, did people comply. Not everyone did, but a good fifth of the audience stood, went to a comparatively open space between tables or in front of the stage, and proceeded to dance up a storm. The place was just electric.
We’re just going to let our pictures and videos do the rest of the talking for this post. We’re going to close by saying that you should all experience this dinner theatre combo! We certainly did, and we’re going to go back whenever we can!
Where to find Le Balcon
Address: 463 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3B 1B1
Phone: (514) 528-9766