Simon Lam loves to eat. Although he isn't a trained chef, he sure knows what good food tastes like.
One of the Best Hamburgers I've Ever Had
Established in 2000, Le Chien Noir is well known for its French-influenced cuisine. They have a somewhat upscale atmosphere, with a touch of classic design elements. We visited them for lunch in late July and sat in their lovely secluded patio.
They have a relatively small lunch menu. Of course, I gravitated towards their Bistro Burger, which comes with freshly ground beef brisket, veggies, bacon, and special sauce all on a brioche bun. I got mine with the house salad. The presentation was inviting and appealing. The salad, which contained mostly spinach, was fresh, creamy, slightly salty and very tasty. Their burger was juicy, rich, and well seasoned. It was the best hamburger I think I have ever had in Kingston.
The other aspects of the restaurant were also good. The service was friendly and efficient. Their washrooms were nice, clean, and well-stocked. Regarding their health inspection record, they incurred one critical and two non-critical, repeat violations. These were corrected at the time of inspection, so I'm not too worried.
Overall, I would recommend eating here.
A Bit of History
Tim Pater opened Le Chien Noir in 2000. He also launched two other restaurants in downtown Kingston: Atomica and Harper's Burger Bar. Le Chien Noir has done quite well over the years and is a favourite spot for French bistro classics.
Le Chien Noir has an elegant and classy vibe. The walls are mostly exposed red brick and grey stonework. French-themed art adorns the walls. The ceiling is cladded with decorative shiny metal coverings. Classic, art-deco-like pendant lights provide illumination for the dining area and bar. A large window also allows natural light into the space.
Rich dark brown uncovered tables are paired with dark brown metal and wooden chairs. The tables are beautifully set with cloth napkins, silverware, and accompanied by wine glasses.
In the patio, paper napkins replace the cloth ones. The back patio is a very nice, private space from the public street to enjoy your meal.
Overall, the interior is very upscale but still comfortable.
A small group of us visited Le Chien Noir in late July. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we got a table in their back patio. It was quite lovely to be outside in their secluded patio.
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The restaurant offers many French-inspired dishes. But I'm a hamburger fan, so I opted for the Bistro Burger. The patty is a daily house-ground, naturally raised Enright Cattle Co. beef brisket. It comes with Manchego cheese, house bacon, gem lettuce, zuni pickles, shallots, special sauce, and brioche bun. I got a house salad with my burger. What makes this burger kind of special is that you can have it cooked to any doneness you like. I told the server to do mine medium-rare. The whole thing comes to $21, one of the priciest burgers I've had.
We were given bread and butter to munch on while we waited for our food. The bread was nice and fresh.
The burger and salad were served on a white round plate. The salad looked appealing with a deep vibrant colour. The burger also looked very scrumptious. The presentation was very attractive and mouthwatering.
I got right into the salad first. The salad consisted of spinach, and I believe baby kale, with radish, pickles and what looks like fried onion pieces. The dressing was creamy, slightly salty, but very good. I really enjoyed my house salad.
I couldn't wait to dig into the burger. The patty was done right, very rich and juicy. I also loved the crispy bacon. I thought the veggies complemented the unctuous proteins quite well. The special sauce was just amazing and really brought everything together. It was divine!
We were served by one waitress. She told us the specials, and options we could have with the menu items. For instance, I could've had a combination of a small soup and a small salad with my burger. She was very friendly, accommodating, and efficient. The food came pretty fast so we didn't have to wait too long. Another male server who saw me come in, quite rightly assumed I was looking for the washroom, kindly directed me to the facilities. I thought that it was good service for him to assist me. Overall, I was pleased with the service.
The state of a restaurant's washroom is often an indication of their cleanliness and upkeep. I visited Le Chien Noir's washroom, which was in their basement. The washrooms were a good size and quite nice with modern fixtures and decorative detailing. It was clean and well-stocked. I was happy with their washroom.
The Kingston Health Unit regularly inspects food facilities in Kingston and post their results on their website. I went on there to see how Le Chien Noir did on their last inspection. They were last inspected on July 8, 2019. One critical, and two non-critical, repeat, violations were noted. The critical violation was not maintaining food at the proper temperature. This was corrected on inspection. Although they did receive a critical violation, I'm happy it was resolved.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Simon Lam