Chien Noir’s New Tricks

By Patrick Bisson

Locals and visitors alike have long known Chien Noir as one of Kingston’s de facto special occasion destinations (as anyone who has tried to get a reservation during convocation will attest to) – and for good reason: quality dining, exceptional service and an effortlessly authentic atmosphere that restaurants in larger metropolitan cities often attempt to replicate.

And while owner Tim Pater is certainly proud that Chien Noir is top-of-mind when guests are looking to celebrate those special moments in their lives, he is challenging the conventional perception of the restaurant by making it more accessible to guests – without compromising what makes it unique.

The first step? Dropping the ‘Le’ from Le Chien Noir (“Some people found the ‘Le’ to be a bit too ‘fancy’ sounding,” Tim says) – a small change in the grand scheme of things, to be sure, but still a bold move for a restaurant known for its focus on fine French cuisine.

Next came the addition of an all-new modern brasserie menu, featuring nuances of Vietnamese and Moroccan cuisine. Created by chefs Eric Brennan and Maurice Boire, new menu items like Vietnamese Crêpes and Vietnamese Jumbo Shrimp were inspired by France and its former colonies – and then injected into Chien’s menu to satisfy their guests’ evolving tastes and desire for global flavours.

The new [Vietnamese and Moroccan] additions to the menu make sense with French food, having been colonies of France,” Tim says as he walks me through the new menu. “There is a lot of interchange between those cuisines – in Paris particularly, you’ll find a lot of Vietnamese influences in food, and in the South of France you’ll see lots of North African and Moroccan influences.”

But perhaps the most exciting additions to Chien’s menu are the all-new sharing plates, which feature inspiring takes on classics like Seafood Croquettes, Chicken Liver Mousse and Steamed PEI Mussels. The plates are designed to be enjoyed alongside great company (whether at the bar over a few drinks, or at a table before an entrée) and at a price point that compliments the new casual and accessible positioning – every item on the new menu is under $30.

Whether it’s their unique, internationally-inspired menu items or new casual approach to dining, one thing is clear at Chien Noir – you can teach an old dog new tricks.
69 Brock Street | 613.549.5635
Cassoulet ‘Marocain’: duck confit, ‘Pig & Olive’ merguez lamb sausage, ras el hanout spice chickpea-tomato stew, green olives, and preserved orange – $29 . Tim suggests pairing this dish with a glass of Domaine Magellan Merlot.
Arctic Char Meunière: Red lentils, green beans, toasted pine nuts, brown butter, garlic, lemon, and parsley – $28. Tim suggest pairing this dish with a glass of unoaked Rosehall Run Chardonnay, which is served on Tap.
Charcuterie & Artisan Cheese – Choose from house made and local charcuterie and Canadian artisan cheese – new selections available daily. 3 for $15, 5 for $23, or 7 for $32. Tim suggests sharing this with friends at the bar along  with some oysters and Local Craft beers from MacKinnon Bros. or Stone City Ales.
Grilled Lamb Sirloin – Moroccan couscous, dried fruit, toasted nuts, seasonal vegetables, tahini sauce and chermoula – $24. This would pair well a glass of our ‘Dame-Alix’ Côtes du Rhone which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes.