Thursday, 1 August 2013

Le Maitre D' Where Cultures Blend

Nothing was more welcome that hot day to our group of sidewalk weary, half melted writers and bloggers than the ice cold lemonade offered at a number of our tour stops. Inside Le Maitre D', a large bee skep shaped vessel filled with chilled lemonade was again the first order of business. We were pretty appreciative of their air conditioning too!

Located at 106 Main St. in Penetanguishene, Le Maitre D' is a fairly new, rather upscale dining establishment located in a building that has housed a series of restaurants over the years. They refer to themselves as being a "personal, neighbourhood style restaurant". I think a family would be happy to gather there and I also believe it would be a suitable location for a special occasion too. An 8 seat private dining room is also available for bookings.

The owner is Dave Brunelle, a true son of Penetanguishene, with very deep roots in the area drawing from French Canadian and Metis ancestry going back at least 4 generations. An experienced businessman, he has dreamed of opening a place like this. His grandfather was a fisherman and his grandmother was a cook of some renown, making feasts for her large family, church functions and community events. The family was involved in farming, hunting and producing maple syrup as well. Dave can bring all of these influences and experiences together under one roof at Le Maitre D'.

And what to eat? The menu is a nice size - not over extensive and not so small as to offer too few choices. Servers in black and white offered an array of sample sized menu items for our approval and we nibbled on tiny tarte au sucre (brown sugar pie), tourtiere (savoury pork and beef pie), tartare de coregone fumee (smoked white fish) and traditional aboriginal people's bannock. I must say that I couldn't get enough of the smoked white fish and have to confess that I had several tastes of that particular menu item, just to be sure!
I understand that the bannock has become a little bit of a local sensation because of it's inclusion on the Sunday brunch menu where it is featured in the cleverly named eggs bannodict.

Dave is another member of the Huronia Food Trail who is a great believer in obtaining his ingredients locally whenever he can. All his fish, including the smoked fish, comes from Lepage Fishery in Pentetanguishene which fishes the fresh waters of Georgian Bay. Fellow Trail members become suppliers too when Eco Huronie provides organic vegetables and the Karma Marketplace keeps Le Maitre D' stocked up on chutney, ketchup and jam.

Diners can savour the fresh and delicious cuisine while listening to the sound of local French Canadian music in the background. Once a month, these local artists preform live at Le Maitre D'. Be sure to have a look at the works by area artists on the walls, as well as the historical photographs of old Penetanguishene. Wines and beers from near and far are on offer to make your evening complete. In the words of the well crafted press release I received, "Because so much of what we do is authentic to the area, from recipes, tastes, entertainment, art, and its ownership, Le Maitre D' stands alone."

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