Saturday, December 01, 2007

Pied-a-Terre (November 30, 2007) by js

Review by js
(See review by ts here.)

So. Finally.

We've been waiting for the new Andrey Durbach/Chris Stewart offering, the French bistro, Pied a Terre. It's located on Cambie and 18th.

We've actually tried to sneak in last Saturday, on the way home from West Vancouver (went to the butcher; bought some beef shanks). We were there at 5:30, exactly the time they open, but the French-looking girl told us that they wouldn't have any seating until 10pm that night.

Shrug. Fair enough. So we would have to wait another day.

The day was yesterday. It was somewhat on a whim too. At around 3:30 in the afternoon, we were discussing what to cook. (Salmon in the fridge, but needed another dish to round out that night's dinner.) After tossing and turning, we still can't figure it out. TS decided to call Pied a Terre to see if they have space. Surprisingly, they said they could accommodate us, a party of 2, for 8:30 that night.

Okay. So problem solved. If we weren't going to eat home that night, we'll cook the salmon and head on out. (Salmon was cooked, wrapped with bacon. TS also made a butter corn side-dish for the kids and CSC.)

8:30 it is. Plenty of parking at the back.

We had to wait a few minutes while they get our table ready.

While waiting, we saw a "minor celebrity" dining there with friends. I think his name is Zack Spencer, who used to do the weather on CTV or BCTV or Global -- but now does some sort of car show on either of those channels.

The grudging glass of wine I had to order: a Sauvignon Blanc. Because, you know, they were going to hate us if we don't partake of alcohol. The wine was surprisingly good: none of the icky wine taste.

(I told TS I don't want to learn about wine. I don't particularly care for wine and I don't want to care, because I'm afraid if I do start learning, it is just going to take way too much of my energies.)

We did also order a bottle of mineral water.

After discussion, I decided to have the Table d' Hote, consisting of 3 courses: soup or salad, trout or steak, creme caramel or chocolate mousse.

I had the soup, which was a split pea soup. I generally love split pea and ham soup, so I was happy they had this. I was expecting some smokiness to the soup though, which I didn't get. The split pea soup was just okay, not spectacular.

I had the lemon tart brulee, which I've been wanting and wanting for so long, ever since I've had lemon tart brulee at Parkside. It's not the same though (the Parkside one was way, way, way better) and I have to say the dessert again is not spectacular.

What was spectacular about the meal was my trout. It was cooked with a kind of butter sauce and capers -- and it was excellent. Somehow, it seemed to be greater than its parts. I've had brown butter sauces before, but this went beyond the usual deliciousness of a brown butter sauce. The trout was perfectly cooked, crispy skin and all. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the side could have been better. I had 3 small pieces of potatoes that were not really that memorable. Tasted bland.

Overall, a very good meal -- and very reasonable. When we got the bill, I was a little bit amazed, because we had 3 courses each and beverages, and the bill came to 86 and change. I was expecting a much higher tab, so it was a nice surprise.

For its price level, the restaurant delivers. There's no wow factor, but it doesn't make wow promises. It's a neighbourhood French bistro: food done well and not too expensive. So if you're hankering for some classic French bistro food, head on over to Pied a Terre.

Oh, we also saw Vikram Vij, his wife, and his daughter. They came in around 10pm. Another minor celebrity sighting.

(See review by ts here.)

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