Restaurants & Bars 3

Quick Takes on Visits to La Quercia, Abattoir, Ensemble and La Brasserie

Peter Rodgers | Mar 9, 2012 01:14 PM

I spent a few days at our second home in Vancouver last week and four evenings visiting new and old restaurant venues, to wit:

La Quercia -- I am a big fan and never miss the opportunity to dine at this bistro when I can get a reservation (which can be a challenge). I won't lose faith, but this was not a particularly successful visit. A crispy sweetbread appetizer was just okay and a fresh pasta dish sauced with clams and mussels did not work at all. Still, the service is excellent and the welcome as good as anywhere in town.

La Brasserie -- Again, I am a regular here. This time I sat at the kitchen bar, which is a blast (how do they keep all the fried onions from falling off their pyramidal hamburgers?). The German charcuterie platter was terrific as was a scallop dish served in a slightly Asian style broth with a saute of wild mushrooms. One of the best meals I've had at this Davie Street place.

Abattoir -- My first visit. The restaurant has a lot of buzz. Good house-made bread, an interesting warm steelhead trout and crisp potato salad; then a solid, if not exciting version of steak diane. All in all, worth another visit. First class cocktail to start, and the wine list is solid.

Ensemble -- This restaurant also was new to me. I tried the lobster caesar salad -- a super starter -- and then the pulled pork sandwich with a side of fries, both of which were excellent as well. The plates are fairly small, but two were enough for a light dinner.

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