The 2.0 La Traversée Restaurant
With sunnier days ahead and the end of lockdown, Thomas Engasser, owner of the La Traversée restaurant aboard Bota Bota, is delighted to welcome passengers on board once again.
His Provençal singing accent cannot contain his excitement: the La Traversée restaurant is getting a makeover. Menu, wine list, decoration and dishes have changed, “We wanted to update everything, without changing our name. The idea was to give us a new visual identity”.
Something new, in the plates and glasses
With last year in mind, Thomas wanted to rethink the idea of sharing. “When people come to Bota Bota, they do so as a couple or with friends, in order to share an experience. I wanted this experience to be reflected in La Traversée as well.” He takes this opportunity to rethink his dishes with Rita-Adèle Beaulieu, chef on site. Their concept? Plates to share. With this system, it is easier to adapt to everyone’s needs: vegetarian dishes, plates for one, some that are a bit more filling or dishes to share. There is something for everyone.
The wine list now offers a clever choice of private import organic wines, maceration wines, orange wines, not to mention “coquin” wines that call for reunion and summer fun. Some wines come from Quebec estates and others take us on a journey beyond our borders; a delicate incitement to elsewhere, punctuated by the slow waves of the river.
Cooking local, with heart
La Traversée invests locally by collaborating with producers and restaurateurs in Quebec. “It seemed obvious to us to put other talents forward.” To name a few, Mano Cornuto for its pasta, Trip de Bouffe for its Lebanese flavors and Pascal le Boucher for its exceptional meats. Consequently, La Traversée offers accessible and simple dishes with frank and seasonal flavors, with local tastes.
“Trout tartare remains a must, and those who have been longing for them will be delighted to know that we are now serving fries!”, Thomas announces with a laugh.
The juicy tomatoes of the eponymous salad, meanwhile, come from local producers and the cheese that accompanies them is homemade.
The restaurant’s signature dish remains the same: the pepper tart which holds a special place in Thomas’ heart. “This recipe is one my mom has been making for me since I was little,” he explains, a tinge of emotion in his voice. This is where the whole purpose of La Traversée lies, to offer recipes made with heart.
The best of both worlds
From his native Provence, Thomas retains the singing tones of his mother tongue and his passion for cooking. Born to restaurateur parents, it is with unequivocal evidence that his path has taken him to the shores of the St.Lawrence River, as the restaurant owner aboard the Bota Bota.
This is where he built a team of which he is very proud today. “I work with amazing people who have different backgrounds, who come from all over the world. They make my professional daily life very stimulating. And I am also proud to be surrounded by women who hold key roles in my company: from the chef to the manager, the photographer to the members of the marketing team. And of course, Geneviève Emond, owner of Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau, with whom I’ve worked hand in hand with for many years. Women bring a certain sensitivity that is necessary in a business, and it is a pleasure to work alongside them.”
Settling in Canada a little over 10 years ago, and having obtained his citizenship a year ago, his journey is like that of those who fall in love with a country like a first love: with patience and passion.
“I cried with sadness the day I left, but 10 years later I’m lucky to have found amazing people, genuine friendships, a wonderful restaurant and… even a Quebecer girlfriend! I’ve understood that I have two homes. I am extremely lucky; I have the best of everything. Montreal is my El Dorado, it is where I found myself.”
To discover La Traversée’s menu, click here.