by Lauren Mote
This is going to be a very brief account of my evening at Pied-à-Terre, and as you continue reading, you’ll find out why.
Upon arrival, I was immediately impressed. This was reminiscent of the bistros and street-side cafés I dined at in Paris.
Pied-à-Terre, the newest restaurant to join the Parkside and La Buca family in Vancouver. This was a “bistro typique” in the sense of simple decor, simple classic bistro menu, good lighting, great noise – everyone so close together, tables blending with each other’s conversations, etc.. I find Angela, a very vibrant server, and happens to be the girlfriend of David, a server that I work with at Lumière. She escorts us to our table amongst a full house of guests.
The menu immediately made me feel at home; my favourite comfort or “soul food” is that of classic French bistro – duck leg in a bowl of juicy cassoulet beans; steak frites with herbed compound butter dripping down the sides of the meat; foie gras parfait – perfectly seasoned – served terrine style with stewed figs and a micro-green salad.
We place our order for a bottle of 2003 Crozes-Hermitage with the steak tartare ($10.5)and foie gras parfait ($12.5) to start. Both of these starters were recommended by David himself, so we were excited to savour the delights. The food is said to be so delicious here, and great price point. It was the truth so far.
Here is the problem: the manager comes over before the wine or appetizers arrive. The hood exhaust has shut down in the kitchen. Health laws state the if smoke during cooking cannot be sucked up an exhaust hood, one must cease cooking immediately. So, there we were, having ordered our main courses of Duck à l’orange ($23) and Beef Shortrib Bourguignon ($22.5) but we are confined to uncooked food only. Damn. We change our wine to a half litre of Domaine de l’Auster Faugères 2003, Languedoc, and anxiously await the arrival of our cold appetizers. Let me tell you this; despite the lack of hot plates, the appetizers were incredible. Hands down the best terrine style foie gras I have ever consumed, and the most velvety steak tartare; perfect. The wine was amazingly paired; leave it to Melissa to match solids with liquids so well.
I chatted with the table next to us, a couple of Vancouver foodies, Ami and Diane. We learned Diane was from St. Catharine’s (where Melissa and my partner Johnny are from) and Ami from Israel (who guessed by my gestures and mannerisms that I was either Jewish or Italian – the former of which was correct).
I thanked the staff for their hospitality and said I would be back. The manager handed me a certificate for $25 off next visit to make up for the gastronomical inconvenience. We left shortly there after, craving hot food.
I look forward to going back to Pied-à-Terre and sampling the other items I was unable to savour during the faulty exhaust hood incident!
3369 Cambie St.