It is very tough work running a restaurant and running a successful one is part magic, one part luck, but a whole lot of formula driven planning and action. This one is missing some of the formula and needs luck to survive and prosper.
The newly opened Vie de Paris grew out of a successful crepe stand that operated in Sinclair Square. Its lacklustre competition in the Square is a series of fast food joints offering a range of low costs food for office workers. Until the Canada Line is finished its very difficult to find your way into Sinclair Square so its primary clientele will likely be in the building or very close by.
This restaurant needs help as the 2 serving staff seemed quite overwhelmed by the full house they had during our visit. They were rushing around trying desperately to do everything and achieving less. It took them 25 minutes to bring a glass of water. The menus took only about 10 minutes but there was no offer of a beverage, which seems odd as it loses a potential source of revenue and profit. The owner/waiter taking the order was curt and gruff to some of us. When asked what type of pasta came with the Coq au vin – he merely shrugged and said “I don't know”. There was no attempt to explain or find out.
When the meals came in about 15 minutes I canvassed each of our group and the view of most was that the meals were acceptable (rating 5 or 6 out 10) but nothing outstanding and the portions seemed to be on par with “nouvelle cuisine” which seems to be code for “go home hungry”. Our meals sampled included the aforementioned Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon, a few salads and a buckwheat quiche (which was reported as excellent). Most meals were satisfactory but some seemed to be missing something « je ne sais quoi ». They seemed to be somewhat bland and lacking in a depth of taste. The meals were all cooked fairly well but this restaurant could be so much more if they could smooth out the protocol for treating guests as they arrive and sit down..
Hopefully the owners will smooth out the teething problems and be a bit more welcoming as they are supposed to be. Having said that, the restaurant does not have any competition with the other fast food outlets in Sinclair Square so maybe they will do OK. Pity - as they could be superb and become a real drawing card. Time will tell.