Submitted Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 2:45am [Dine in]
After other plans fell through, I tried calling at the last minute for a reso tonight. The reason I called is that I had heard from 3 *separate* people to check this place out - I've been working in Kits for years & never even knew it existed! The only place available was a bar spot at 8:45 - my wife & I hummed and hawed, but took it (a little late, but it's the holidays).
We walked in and this place was absolutely pulsing! I didn't even mind sitting at the bar because the main dining room was packed. We were immediately taken with the place because of the service - there seemed only to be 3 gals working the room (I'm used to sooo many more than that!), but they seemed so casual & at ease - floating from table to table laughing it up with guests & with each other. I almost wanted to apply for a job! Not pretentious at all - just welcoming & genuine.
We took a look at the menu & were taken with the lowball price for 3 courses - $35..? We anticipated tiiiiny portions & mediocre food. We asked the bartender lady (maybe she was the manager?) a few questions & the answers turned into a huge, impressive conversation. They have a new chef, he's been working there for a few years & just took over. Everything is from scratch, is organic, freerange, seasonal, local & sustainable. They even have a farmer in Richmond who grows veggies for just them. There is almost no staff turnover - they seem to be a little family.
We got our food (the wife: 12 hr braised pork shoulder, me: venison shank) and the portions were...HUGE!! Neither of us finished; maybe they were too big? The food itself was terrific - nothing fancy & frilly. Just good food. And then the dessert menu came - 35 choices?! The server talked us into the zuccotto (sp?) & the marble cheesecake - both were unbelievable.
After vising places like bistot bistro, salad de fruites & the faux bourgeois (reviews to follow), there's no comparison for affordable French food. Our bills were only pennies different there (or cheaper!), but the staff & experience were incomparable.
Simply put, you should go. You'll love every part of it.
Was this review helpful? 6 / 8 users found this review helpful.
Submitted Saturday, December 12, 2009 - 2:17am [Dine in]
There's a reason for all the hype, acclaim & grandeur. This place is polished, from food, to service. I can say unequivocally that it's the best of the best - I really think it's world class.
My wife had the vegetarian tasting menu, I had the seasonal chef's menu - we both had bites of each others & unanimously loved everything. Food was epic - try it.
Our server was great. I was really impressed with the way she helped me with the wine list: we were overwhelmed by the novella of a list (I *hate* that - really...50 pages?!) I clapped the book shut & asked for anything she thought would compliment our meals for under $100. She took about 10 minutes, but when she came back to the table she presented a wine that was incredibly thoughtful. It came from a vineyard that we had mentioned to her that we had visited, it was owned by a man who owned a restaurant we mentioned liking & it was only $75! I had totally anticipated being presented with a bottle that was $100, or juuust over. Classy!
So, I would definitely recommend West (especially over Lumiere, or any other "fine dining" restaurant in this city - pshaw!). Obviously not a place to become a regular, unless you're loaded. But like the title of my post...definitely go for a special occasion!
Was this review helpful? 1 / 2 users found this review helpful.
Submitted Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 5:38pm [Dine in]
Go to The Wallflower when you're hungry, don't want to cook, and just want "something". You will not find a great dining experience here, just middle-of-the-road, plain old food. I don't mean that as an insult: I feel like this kind of food more than once a month.
Their menu is all over the board & globe. From perogies (not homemade), to sandwiches, meatloaf wellington, tofu stirfry, and chicken fingers. It's the joint that does the "jack of all trades, master of none" approach to cuisine. However, the prices are descent: blue plate meals from $10.
Service late at night is great - attentive, chatty, accommodating. They seem to appreciate you being there (as opposed to their 'hipster' neighbour the Foundation) and don't rush you out past closing.
Warning: to avoid nostalgia, do not go in anticipating the Aurora room, it's very different, and not nearly as classy. Just different.
You know, I think I'll go back when I don't know what I really feel like eating.
Was this review helpful? 6 / 9 users found this review helpful.
Submitted Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 12:23pm [Dine in]
I drive by this place every morning for work, and it always intrigues me - a cluttered little window with a glowing neon 'open' sign. So, my wife & I decided to try it out last weekend - and we've found a true little gem. It's run by women in both the front & back of house; and the middle-age servers act like surrogate moms as soon as you step in the door. They call you 'honey', & 'dear', and make sure you're going to get just what you want. They make you feel like you're visiting home from college: you will be well taken care of, you just relax and have some coffee. The walls are full of old pictures & kitsch. Mismatching cutlery, plates & mugs just adds another level of 'hominess'.
The food comes out incredibly fast (under 10 minutes, with a full restaurant), and in the meantime they come around with coffee constantly. My wife ordered the 3 cheese omelette - it came with hashbrowns & toast. Everything was as it should be: good & hot. After asking if their hollandaise was home made (yes), I ordered their eggs benny with bacon. The eggs were hard (which I was impressed by - most places stop at medium, no matter what you say), but I've gotta say - I don't think I've had worse holly in my life. It was...semi-opaque, not a hint of yolky yellow. Not sure what recipe they were using, but there was no zip or seasoning. Just greasy tasting goop. But still, it somehow tasted like it was made with love!
Regardless, I will definitely be going back & recommend you do too. Stick to the basics (burgers, omelettes, sandwiches), and I'll bet you find a few haunt.
Was this review helpful? 4 / 7 users found this review helpful.