My girlfriend and I were planning on having dinner together on Saturday night, and I spent about two days prior trying to find a restaurant that had room for a somewhat larger group of eight to ten people (it was a bit of a pre-birthday celebration). That was a huge nightmare! In the end, it turned out only the two of us made it out, as quite a few were intent on watching the Canucks’ game, but we were then able to head over to Davie Street to try La Brasserie (a French and German bistro), which doesn’t take reservations.
The cozy, thirty-five seat restaurant was full once we arrived around 7 pm, but there happened to be a couple of spots left at the bar. Since neither of us were really concerned about a table that night, we took those seats and were ready to dine right away. We started off with a couple of glasses of shiraz and then perused the menu. It was great to sit where we were, since the kitchen was right in front of us, and we were able to see all of the dishes as they were prepared, which helped us make our choices for dinner.
In the meantime, we ate the two types of bread that they brought for us – this was served with butter and a chicken and pork rilette. I quite liked the rilette – the texture was nice and smooth, but I did feel that it could have been a tad more flavourful.
After that, we decided on the Steak Tartare to start. This was served with a very crisp buttered bread, and again, I really liked the texture of the combination of the meat, egg yolk, and what appeared to be onions and chives, topped with a sprig of parsley. The only problem I found with this was the crunchiness of the bread tended to cut into my mouth a bit – but I did enjoy the subtle taste of the beef dish. When it was finished, I still wanted more…
Next came our mains – mine was the Suckling Pig. This was served with schupfnudel (a type of dumpling or thick noodle found in German cuisine), sauerkraut, and dijon mustard. The absolute best part of this was the nice and crispy crackling around the nicely marbled pork. The sauerkraut was also better than I expected it to be – it was perfectly salty and tart. As for the schupfnudel, this was my first time ever having them before, but they reminded me of the perogie dough I used to eat when growing up. If there wasn’t enough potato filling left, we’d cut off and boil the dough and then fry it and eat it just like that. As for the one’s that night, they were nice and crispy, and perfect in small-sized dumplings!
My girlfriend had the Free Range Rotisserie Chicken with pommes frites and caramelized garlic jus. When I tasted it, I actually quite enjoyed it (I usually don’t order chicken when at restaurants since it’s something I make so often at home). The sauerkraut this was served with was dark reddish-purple in colour, and more sweet than tart. It went well with the chicken, as it also had a hint of sweetness to it and was also very tender and moist. The bonus to this were the pieces of roasted garlic on top!
The fries themselves were quite good too. They were lightly crisp and salty on the outside, served piping hot. I had to include a rating in there for these – I’ve also heard great things about their truffle poutine, so I’ll have to come back and try those one of these days.
As for dessert, the restaurant doesn’t seem to have a set menu, but daily specials. Our server recited what was available that evening, and with her help we managed to pick just two out of the five items listed – we almost got all of them they sounded so good!
First off was the Lemon Tart. This was served with a raspberry glaze and a vanilla bean cream. The best part of this was the caramelized sugar shell on top that gave it the same appeal as a creme brulee. The lemon was tart but sweet, and it was somewhat light, which was great to have after such a large dinner.
The Cinnamon Bavois was amazing. It was served on a crispy hazelnut cookie, with a caramel sauce and apples lining the plate. The bavois was light and fluffy and had just a hint of sweet cinnamon flavour. This was a great ending to the meal!
La Brasserie has a cozy warm atmosphere, a great selection of beers and wines, and the food was just what I was in the mood for that evening. Plus, they’re open for lunch Tuesday to Friday and have a weekend brunch available as well – something I’ll need to try next time I go!