I had been wanting to go to Toque! for many years, and finally on my latest visit to Montreal, I was able to make it. I would never have guessed that the service at this highly regarded restaurant would be so poor.
When the server came to our table, I asked him about the Quebec sparkling cider on the wine list. I said, "Is this cider very sweet?", and he said, "I don't know." That's it, that's all. Not, "I'm not sure, I'll find out," or, "Let me get someone who knows more," just "I don't know." I was pretty surprised that at a restaurant of this calibre, the server couldn't handle such a basic question about a local product, nor offer to get the answer for me. The situation was made worse when my friend and I looked at each other in a confused sort of way as we were expecting at least a bit of guidance from the server (and in fact, at Toque!, I was expecting friendly, thoughtful, knowledgeable guidance), and the server turned to walk away saying "I guess you need more time to decide." WHAT? I was completely shocked. We were two minutes into a dinner that I'd waiting to have for years, and the server couldn't even be bothered to take our wine order? We called him back and decided to take our chances with the cider.
Our meals were ordered and served without incident, but also without any interest from the server. The food was good, probably very good, but it was placed before us unceremoniously, with no explanations of what was what or any type of commentary whatsoever. I do my share of fine dining, and I can honestly say, I've never seen worse service than what I saw at Toque! It was like the server wanted to be anywhere except there. Other things about the service indicated a lack of training or attentiveness. When my friend shared her starter with me on my bread plate, the person clearing the tables just removed the oyster shell from the bread plate, rather than getting me a fresh plate. It was clearly drippy and wet as the oyster shell had been on it, did she really think I wanted to look at that all night, let alone use it for bread? It was a small mistake, and something I might have overlooked if the rest of the service had been good, but the overall picture was of a disinterested server, and poorly trained support staff (even if the support staff make a mistake like that, I would expect the server to correct it).
I have been treated so nicely at so many other restaurants, and had so many servers who were interested in making my dining experience the best it could be, I can't imagine why I would ever return to Toque! I have no complaints about the food, but being treated so contemptuously by the server made the whole experience a negative one for me.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.