Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fantastique French @ Les Faux Bourgeois

My friend Aasia planned a birthday dinner for a mutual friend. She is on top of things and made a reso at her favourite restaurant in their East Van/Mount Pleasant 'hood a few weeks in advance. I've been wanting to eat at Le Faux Bourgeois for such a long time. I've read soooo many mouthwatering reviews and everyone I know who has eaten there ranks it as one of their favourite places in the city or puts it in the "hidden gem" category. Tucked away in the obscure little intersection/cross roads area at Kingsway and Fraser, this always-busy bistro (make a reso in advance although I've heard that sometimes if you time it right, you can get seats at the bar) has a reputation for great service, reasonable prices, and amazing french food.

The service: Fantastique! LFB is staffed with adorable, low key, un-pretentious, and extremely patient waiters with real, and very thick French accents. I mention patience and the accents because at one point in the evening, I had our waiter go through the specials. He described the featured take on mussels, the scallop entree, and then one that I couldn't hear/understand. I smiled, nodded and asked him to repeat it....he did...I still didn't understand, so I asked "and what exactly is in that?" to which he slowly replied with careful annunciation "Pork Chop."
I also mention patience because we were a slowwwww table. Although they were packed, we waited for our 7th to arrive for around 40 min before we ordering appy’s, and then another 20 min or so before we ordered our mains and we never felt rushed or pushed along like I’ve experience in many other places. Service throughout the evening was extremely attentive and water glasses were constantly being topped up (we never once had to ask for more).

The food: I won’t pretend I’m any expert in French food and I don’t have a lot to compare it with but I know what tastes amazing, and everything I tasted tonight was just that.
As a party of 7- managed to plough through the majority of LFB's menu. I apologize that the photos are pretty dark- but you can't argue with the ambience of French food by candlelight.
Appetizers to share:
*Mussels and Fries from the Daily Specials (also available with pasta as an entrée)
-Done with garlic, sausage, white wine and tomatoes-
-the sauce was hearty and savoury, but still not too heavy
-the mussels were huge, plump, juicy and cooked to a perfect texture
**Calamari from the Daily Specials appetizer offerings
- light and crispy. Not greasy. Savoury, slightly spicy yogurt dip.

When the entrees came out- our chatty, noisy table was almost silenced as we all enthusiastically dug in…. other than “oooos” and “ahhhhs” and “yummms.”
I had the Pan roasted Lamb Sirloin with vegetable ratatouille and horseradish cream ($19). I really struggled on whether to get the duck or the lamb, but since our appy’s were seafood and starch, I wanted a main that came with a lot of vegetables.  The lamb was cooked to a tender medium that melted in my mouth and was served in slices on a bed of fresh of fresh ratatouille blend of chopped tomatoes, zuchinni, eggplant, onions and just the right amount of garlic and drizzled with a light dollop horseradish cream. This dish was a fantastic medley of flavours and textures and the only thing I could of used is a bit stronger horseradish flavour but its only because I’m a spice fiend!
Other dishes at the table were…..

Canard Confit  ($17)
Crispy duck leg, fingerling potatoes, frisèe, green beans, port jus
*The birthday girl ordered this and loved everything on her plate- from the moist, juicy duck with its flavourful, crispy skin to crisp savoury roast potatoes and fresh green beans - I tried some of her duck and it was awesome- rich and buttery. Duck leg…..so yummy. Donald the Duck should probably start wearing some pants to cover those tasty gams up for self-preservation.
Volaille ($18)
Free range spring chicken, goat cheese and mizuna salad, mash and gaufrette potatoes, lemon, garlic and herb vinaigrette
*I didn’t try this one but the plate sure looked pretty. The devourer of this dish raved that it was “juicy and delicious” noting that “all the side dishes worked in harmony to compliment the chicken.”

Les Toulouse ($17) or “French Bangers and Mash”
Toulouse Sausage with tomato chutney and port pan jus. Choice of pommes purée or green salad
*the Brit who ordered this main thought it was good- but he wasn’t blown away….sausages tasted great and were huge- but didn’t love his mash and thought the portion was actually a bit small compared to the other dishes

Moules Frites ($16)
Mussel Marinieres served with French fries
*Aasia ordered this- she has every time has been here before and will probably order this same main for every future meal at LFB
*same yummy dish as the appy we all shared- but with a garlicky, buttery, white wine sauce. I couldn’t say which sauce I preferred because they were both unreal. But I think we all described this sauce as “something so tasty that you wanna take a bath in it.”

Le Steak Frites ($17)
*this was Medium thick sliced Hanger Steak lovingly smothered with Red Wine Shallot Jus served with a plentiful serving of fries.
*Large but not gargantuan portion sized cooked perfectly medium rare and more of those crispy, not too salty fries- this was a hit! In fact the brit who ordered French bangers and Mash, kept looking over with envy at this dish….

Filet de Bouef Grille ($19)
Tenderloin with potato gratin and glazed veg with a red wine shallot jus
*Didn’t try this one but the friend who ordered it commented on how tender and tasty the meat, how savoury the sauce was- and she loved her perfect little cheesy brick of potato gratin.

Two of the ladies at the table managed to muster enough room to order the Classic Crème Brulee and Nut encrusted chocolate silk cake. I had a bite of each but honestly….I was heading into a food coma so I really can’t say much other than that they were both tasty and sweet.

What an all around great meal! LFB definitely lived up to all the hype and I can’t wait to go back…..

Les Faux Bourgeois
663 East 15th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C.

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