Once upon a time there was Edgar, a sophisticated yet homey lunch spot with a tiny kitchen, a tiny soup-and-sandwich chalkboard menu, and its tiny owner, Marysol Foucault. Don’t be deceived by all this diminutive size. There’s more deliciousness per square foot going on than should be legal. And so, since 2010, the crowds have kept coming and addictions have formed for Foucault’s baked goodies and weekend brunch fare — precious poached-egg dishes and devilishly good Dutch pancakes with pork belly. And so it was time to grow, and Odile was born. A five-minute drive away, still in residential Hull, Foucault found a second spot — not much bigger — where she could feed more brunchers but also begin serving dinners (her dream) her way. Thoughtful menus change weekly and offer minimal options and a certain Québécois sensibility with cosmopolitan flare. Eating at Odile is what I imagine it’s like to be a guest in Foucault’s home. The food blurs the line between chef food and ambitious home cooking and settles into new territory that has a charming fairy-tale-like quality. Peek behind the curtain of Foucalt’s life — a bear tattoo, taxidermy as a pastime — and discover some themes, such as a strong affinity for the arts and nature, including wild animals. Perhaps it helps explain her mastery over meat and reveals something about how each plate manages an almost poetic balance between beauty and simplicity. Should you find yourself in her neck of the woods, think of Foucault as the food lovers’ Little Red Riding Hood and Odile as her soul-satisfying basket of goodies. Never mind the greedy wolf: Foucault has a knack for attracting only like-minded eaters. And like all happy endings, Odile may help restore your faith in the world (or at least in restaurants).
47-A, rue Montclair, Gatineau, 819-205-4425, www.odile.ca.