Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wednesday, Aug 18th - Les Faux Bourgeois Bistro and Cafe - French gem on the East Side

Alsacienne Tarte Flambe
I went out with the 'Ladies who Wine' aka some girls I used to work with a few years ago.  Besides a similar attitude to work and life balance, we also share a passion for Food and Wine so we like to catch up on gossip over a nice meal every once in a while.

Faux Bourgeois has been on our list for a while and we had decided we were probably spending too much time in Kits.  It had been receiving consistently strong reviews in publications and from friends.  Yet it's in a most unexpected location in the Kingsway area of town where the few restaurants peppered in the somewhat tumbleweed suburban area are normally Asian.  Actually, if you are heading Eastbound and you are not paying attention, you will miss it.   It is offset from Kingsway so if you hit Fraser, you have gone too far.

Once we'd managed to find our way there, we arrived to find it packed.  It was a Wednesday and it had two full seatings.  Amazing.  I was a bit worried at first when I strode up carrying my bicycle helmet in evening casual to find two couples in cocktail dresses and suits.  I needn't be.  It was kitsch and homey enough that it did not matter.

Monmousseau Cufee Touraine
We started with a nice bubbly.  K always seems to like to start with sparkles.   We had a bottle of Moumousseau Cuvee JM.  It was light and crisp, a tad tart.  We had a variety of starters and it complemented all of them and a thorough chat.

Escargot in Garlic Butter with Croutons
I ordered the classic Escargot in Butter with Garlic.   K and J ordered Tartes Flambee which are open faced tarts on puff pastry.  K had the Florentine and J the Alsacienne.

Florentine Tarte Flambe

I quite liked my Escargots.  I will as a default order them if they are on a menu because they are so difficult to find.  Well, that is if there isn't bacon on them.  It was served out of the Shell with three Croutons.  I am not sure how I felt about the fact that the Escargot had been extricated for me.  I will admit that my history with Escargot have not been incident free but there is something to be said for having mastered the little twisting wrist motion to get the critter out of their shell.  It did make eating alot less complicated and I did have several more Escargot that normally come on a plate when you are served the shelled ones.  The Garlicy Butter was wonderful though the croutons a bit too crisp for sopping up but we still had some lovely fresh bread on the table.  I like to spear one Escargot with a piece of bread. MMMM

The Tartes were equally popular.  I will admit that I thought the square cut puff pastry made them look somewhat like toaster pastries.  We have had Tartes Flambees at DB a bit more free form though more scarcely dressed.  Geometry aside, the toppings were abundant.  If you like bacon, I would recommend the Alsacienne. The nom-nom's from my friends told me that I need to try the Tarts next time if I can tear myself away from call of the Caracols.  The Florenine was heaping with Spinach and drizzled with a nice Tapinade dressing.

As a main, I ordered the special, Bouillabaise, Seafood Stew.  K had the Duck Confit and J the Roasted Lamb Sirloin.  To continue with our meal, we ordered an Oregon Pinot Noir, Argyle.  I had assumed my Bouillabaise would have a tomato base.  It did not.  Still it was hearty enough to play with the Pinot.

Roasted Lamb Sirloin
I asked what the white squiggly lines on her Lamb where as I was doubtful.  She said it was a Horseradish Dresssing and it complimented the nicely done Lamb well despite the questionable aesthetics.  As for the duck, it is the dish that they are most noted for and though K did not say outright, her empty plate spoke volumes.  I'll have her write a comment.

The portions were homey and just on the edge of too generous so you would eat it all and feel only a bit too full or you would leave only a tad behind and not feel you wasted.   We cleaned our plates but I felt compelled to leave 1 potato. I don't know why.  My broth was a tad on the salty side but not distastrously so.  The Seafood was gently cooked and none of the components over cooked.  At home, that's really hard to do.  I have seen on television where a chef may cook each component separately and bring them together.  That always seemed over the top to me for what is meant to be a comfort food.  But when it is well done like this, you see why.  I still would not do that at home though :^P

We shared 1 dessert of a Silk Chocolate flourless cake.  I was a bit trepidatious after my poor experience at Matisse in Victoria.  I am fully recovered.  This cake was indeed Silk!  It was the complete polar opposite of that sandy mess I had at Matisse, Victoria.  I would have almost had a whole one to myself.  It had a lovely praline like crust. MMMMM

Overall, I was quite pleased with the overall experience.  I'd like to see more French wines at different price points to help on that difficult decision when red and white meats are on the same table.  Given the area, it is a destination and it is worth the visit.  A definite Gem on the East 'sayeed'.

Cost: $$$-$$$$
Service: Friendly and attentive enough though someone with wine knowledge would add to the French experience
Ambience: modern Parisien bistro, low lit. Can be romantic or fun for friends.

Les Faux Bourgeois
663 E 15th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5T2R6
(604) 873-9733
Les Faux Bourgeois on Urbanspoon


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