Restaurants & Bars 26

Is Cambie our new Pied a Terre? (Vancouver)

grayelf | Sep 4, 200912:11 PM

We realized yesterday afty that it was our 9th anniversary so I scrambled for a reso. Luckily Pied a Terre came through for us, and we had an excellent meal.

We were served with a whimsically presented stack of tasty parbaked-finished-in-house Terra baguette which in retrospect I shouldn't have eaten to conserve room. I ordered an aperitif (I love that word) of lillet ($6) which I had not tried before and enjoyed very much as I am a fan of fortified wines. My starter was the carrot soup du jour ($7.50), which came served in a deep bowl (yay!) and was very rich and delicious if slightly oversalted. I opted for the beef bourgignon special (listed at $25 but came out at $23 on the bill) made with short ribs which was meltingly tender and meaty without that whiff of game you sometimes get in short ribs. The addition of generous amounts of lardon was gilding the lily but in a good way. The veg in the stew were delightful and the potato puree suitably light and fluffy if again oversalted. My only regret: this is such a generous portion that I had no room to try any of their desserts. FYI this NEVER happens to me -- I can really eat and still have room in my dessert stomach but not after that dish. I actually considered getting one of the three pieces to take home...

The SO went for a glass of pinot noir ($10) which I think was the Louis de Vinière Viells Vignes 2006, Loire which he pronounced light and right for his palate. His hors d'oeuvres was the seared scallops with potato, bacon, watercress and parmesan ($12) which he devoured, noting only that he didn't feel the roasted baby spuds added much to the already rockin' party of lardons, greens and cheese. I can't eat scallops but my taste of the rest confirmed his assessment. He followed with the Berkshire pork belly, mustard and cider sauce, savory apple tart and celeriac purée (charged at $19 but more I thought on the menu -- Google is not cooperating). This dish was an order-again success despite some odd spicing on the "apple tart" which as far as I could tell was a sliced up baked apple -- we weren't sure but it seemed like someone had gotten carried away with the nutmeg. The pork, as the SO rightly noted, was the star of the show, and it was delectable, with a slightly hammy taste to it and much leaner than the pork bellies I've been eating lately. This plate was smaller than mine but the SO was stuffed also so I think it's safe to say that you will find value both for quality and quantity here. I should add that the service was stellar with only two wait staff in the room, contrary to a recent poster's experience. In fact, apart from the oversalting which didn't bother me because I am a salt fiend, we experienced none of the blips described in comments about PAT elsewhere -- though the room was all but full the noise level wasn't an issue and though the tables are quite close together I didn't feel hemmed in. The bill came to $77.50 before tax and tip. Highly recommended for an elegant but relaxed bistro.

We were so full that we had to take a walk afterward and noticed a new (two weeks old) resto across the street at 3250 Cambie called Shanghai Village (604) 872-3618. I was excited to see a Shanghai style place so close to home and had to investigate. The staff person who came over was most helpful and apologized about not having take out menus yet. Instead she offered me their lunch and dinner menus to peruse along with a cup of tea which I declined (even a beverage would have done me in a this point!). She noted that they actually specialize in Nanjing food from a city outside Shanghai, so that is cool. The menu looks amazing with lots of items I've never heard of plus more familiar fare such as XLB (one of their specialties she said and was pleasantly surprised by my apparently not entirely mangled pronunciation of the dish which is listed as something else), and the resto was still half full at 9:15 on a Thursday with nary a gwei lo in sight. We will be back very soon to sample the wares.

As we walked back up Cambie, I pointed out the Mt Pleasant Cheese Co 3432 Cambie 604-875-6363 to the SO who had not been in and my gesticulating caught the attention of a fellow working late inside. He unlocked the door, asked if we were hungry and appeared genuinely disappointed that we were not (which again shows you how much food was on my plate at dinner -- I DO NOT pass up free cheese, ever). He asked if we had the cheese plate at PAT (apparently he supplies them) and told us he just took over the place. I think he said his name was Peter but my memory fails me. He is in the midst of adding a 24-seat table for cheese and charcuterie tastings, and he will be having seafood as well. Details forthcoming in the newsletter which he plans to start up again after the transition to new ownership is complete. So we may have another version of the Salt/Gudrun style eatery in Cambie Village very soon.

All in all, looks like it's time to start frequenting this area again after a long absence caused by Canada Line craziness.

Place links not working but here's a few pix of PAT -- the lillet, the bread "stick", the scallop app and the carrot soup:

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