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sblessleyVancouver West EndSince July 21, 2007Try List (1)15 Reviews
Average Rating
2.5 (2.6)
  • Food2.5 (2.6)
  • Service2.5 (2.7)
  • Value2.5 (2.7)
  • Ambiance2.5 (2.6)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 Reviews Found
Red Ginger Asian Cuisine967 West Broadway, Vancouver
Plus ça change - or maybe not
Submitted Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 7:24pm [Take-out]

I accidently went to Red Ginger today. Lookin' for lunch; had parked in the overpriced lot behind the restaurant for a nearby doctor's appointment and thought I'd amortize the $4/hr fee by fetching lunch before giving up my space. It only occured to me later - was this the "reincarnation" of Kam's Crappy Singaporean on Davie Street - where I'd been enough times to "have known better"? The hint that gave it away was the "Two for 1" dinner special -- Kam's perpetually had these coupons in the weekly paper, making a diner wonder whether the meals were so overpriced that 2 x 1 should be the norm, or if their value was just half what they should have been.

I looked at the menu, and despite it appearing to be ostensibly a Chinese restaurant, it had a clear southeast asian flair - fine by me. Ordered Nasi Goreng. As a lunch special it's $8, enough for 4 (and I'm a bg eater) and came with hot and sour soup (poorly transliterated as "suar" ("suan") la tong on the menu). Reception was cheery and efficient, I had my takeout in 10 minutes or less, and it was hot, flavourful and tasty. Maybe a little too tomato-ey but well within the range of edibility.

Kam's Place on Davie was an abomination. Kam himself was rude (and based on other reviews for this restaurant, still is); service had been spotty, food bland. My impressions of *that* restaurant are so visceral that despite a generally positive experience today, I'd STILL avoid Red Ginger if it is run by Kam.

Check out nearby Kaya Bistro, no doubt reviewed herein. Fantastic food, authentic, modern decor and fantastic waitstaff. Kam has way too many negative karma points to recommend his new-ish offering, even if the food had been "to die for". That said, my small sample of their food and service was superior to anything I ever had at Kam's.

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JR's Taste of Ceylon3929 Knight Street, Vancouver
Adequate, but there's better half a block away
Submitted Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 12:19pm [Dine in]

During the hour or so we were at JR's, we were the only seated customers; one guy came in for a take out order. Truth in reviewing: this was a Monday night, around 7pm - in the rain - at least two strikes against a restaurant getting decent traffic. We were admonished that the meats were not yet finished, would a 15 minute wait be OK? I don't think in Sri Lanka we ever had a meal that took less than an hour to arrive (it's part of the charm) so this wasn't a problem.

We ordered a couple of curry dishes: meat (chix) plus 3 veg for one of us; seafood (squid) "devilled" curry and a side veg. The food was adequate. We've had "the real thing" in Sri Lanka and the flavours weren't bad, but nothing to compel us to return. There were two really pleasant waitstaff - both Philippinas, one so new that she didn't know what was in the items on the menu. My wife spotted the cook and thinks she's actually Sri Lankan or Tamil (a presumed prerequisite :)

The prices were reasonable but bore no correlation to the ingredient cost, quantity or preparation complexity. So the chicken curry with rice and sides were, say $10; the seafood curry alone was $14 - and didn't include the rice or side dishes. One "can't recommend": the eggplant curry was rather bitter and the skin inedible. Perhaps the bitterness was the way it should be, but I didn't care for it. The chicken was quite spicy by Canadian standards - fine by me (in-country it can be incredibly spicy cuisine) but might come as a surprise to less those preferring less fiery cuisine.

Beer selection was local (i.e. Molson...) and priced at about $4.50/a bottle - so 4 of them total amounted to a significant hunk of our bill, which totalled at about $60 less a groupon of $20.

The restaurant offers nightly specials (I noticed this on their web site - it wasn't particularly obvious) and these may bring in local Sri Lankans for a "taste of home". However, I don't think we'll be back. As we headed home to the West End, we passed by House of Dosas - another Sri Lankan restaurant nearby. IT was packed.

For adventurous diners, I'd suggest you check JR's website, and try one of their "speciality" evenings later in the week. I get the sense their heart is in the right place and I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm with my "damning with faint praise". For a "known quantity" in Sri Lankan, I'd much prefer House of Dosas.

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Judge's Indian Cuisine1188 Davie St, Vancouver
A Great Addition to Davie Villiage
Submitted Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 10:11pm [Dine in]

Judges recently took over from chain restaurant "All India", and is a great update. The service was attentive but not rushed. The menu classic, yet diverse. Two servers, polite and attentive. We were expecting "same same but different name", but this was a completely new dining experience for the venue, sharing only the cuisine of its predecessor. Refreshing.

We were dining on a Groupon, often an invitation to poor service and substandard food, yet we were treated with the same respect every diner deserves (and we tipped accordingly - please do!). Two points for treating a guest like... a guest!

We also appreciated that the food was served "as in country"; we always try to set expectations for the spice level we enjoy, but are often left wanting..Too often, cuisines such as East Indian are "dumbed down" for North American tastes, which is to say, "bland". However, we explained what we were looking for - I got some sweat for my forehead, yet my wife wasn't overcome by the heat in her dishes. We ordered three: a vegetarian paneer dish, lamb and chicken. All were served hot and carried individual flavours that evidenced they were actually cooked to order, not served from a vat of generic Indian mediocrity. Hints of citrus, individual herbs. This was East Indian cooking a la minute, not for the masses. They goofed on our naan order, but when mentioned offered us a replacement - when we declined ("we'd just eat it") they offered it for takeout - which we gladly accepted.

Prices were fair, neither cheap nor expensive - commensurate with the quality I think we got.

All in all we had a great dining experience and can recommend Judge's without restriction. We dined on a Tuesday, traditionally a quiet night (this certainly was), so you'll have to form your own impressions on busier nights.

Judge's offers free local delivery from 5-10pm with a minimum $20 order. We probably wouldn't take them up on this as we're only a couple of blocks away, but it's worth considering.

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Kamiya Japanese Restaurant345 Robson Street, #202, Vancouver
Close to the VPL, but little more to recommend it amid a sea of good Japanese restaurants
Submitted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 6:04pm [Dine in]

Chose this place because we were going to an event at the library and it's pretty much "on premises". Have had sushi takeout but first time for dining-in. Both my dining companion and I found the food mediocre: in my case, the sushi rice seemed completely unflavoured (sushi rice is prepared with sweetened rice vinegar and represents probably 60% of the flavour of the combined rice/fish). Service was spotty - only one server for the whole restaurant (which isn't that big). Think I noticed different prices from the printed menu to what was on the wall. An order for miso soup never arrived and no mention of it, but the server scrambled to take it off the bill, attempting long-division to "undo" the HST portion of the soup.

All in all, disappointing.

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Renovation
Nu Aegean Cusina1661 Granville St, Vancouver
The place needs something Nu... and maybe some salt
Submitted Friday, September 2, 2011 - 4:31pm [Dine in]

We had a late lunch using a Groupon for a 4 course dégustation ("4 Course Aegean Summer Menu"). The courses were a "salad shooter", tuna tartare, chicken, and a chocolate cake which they referred to as "angel food". The restaurant was quite busy (Friday, 2:30pm) but we observed most of the other diners were utilizing their Groupons too, as the offer ends in two days.

OK course by course:The "salad" may have "shot", but it didn't "hit". Lettuce juice, diced cucumber & tomato and a touch of feta served in a shot glass. In a word, bland. As I write (Sep 2, 2011), it is the peak of tomato season so really there's no excuse for a mediocre tomato. Yet - truly insipid here. Shame and while I'm not a conspiracy theory, I have to think "what a great use of trim from other food, too bad it wasn't enjoyable".

Second was the tuna tartare. I kind of liked this, but ahi is not particularly flavorful, and, alas, neither was the avgolemono sauce, which while of perfect consistency, was also lacking any real flavor, particularly the lemon which would have complemented the tuna nicely.

Chicken: this course was a chicken thigh, heavily marinated, served with orzo pasta in a green pepper. Finally... flavor! But... too much. Maybe it was that our tastebuds had gone to sleep and the chicken marinade was a rude awakening. It just wasn't balanced -- neither with the other courses, nor the other components of the dish. I would complement the sauce accompanying the orzo: "tomatoey" with a hint of sweetness. At the risk of being too hard on the dish (or is it already too late?) the pepper itself was on the crunchy side. That's a fine way to serve a pepper -- but not a baked pepper dish. Also picking nits, my wife's pepper had one collapsed wall with the goodies spilling out. "Who cares?" you might ask. If I did that while in culinary school, I'd have gotten the culinary equivalent of a nun's ruler across my knuckles. Plate need to be consistent in a Fine Dining restaurant. My wife's chicken also had a couple of blobs of fat; understandable from thigh meat but unpleasant to encounter.

Dessert: I liked it. It was a small piece of relatively ordinary chocolate cake (hard to imagine it actually being angel food, as it was fairly dense), with a lovely mousse topping and a small cookie along side. The cookie was supposed to be almond... could have fooled us.

Service: with the exception of the initial greeting and sit-down, service was pleasant and punctual. Almost to a fault. We may simply have gotten a particularly ebullient server, or perhaps she was just a little too "cheery" ("Oh, excellent!", "Fantastic!"). Smarmy. Regardless, she did a fine job; sometimes two personalities just don't hit it off.

Ambiance: the restaurant is attractive enough (that is "damning with faint praise") but the marble tables are chipped, an inlay on the floor once painted was in need of repair. Orange globe lights overhead shouted "The 70s are over! Please change me!"

Conclusion: unlike nearby (and affiliated) Restaurant C, our Groupon introduction to "Nu" won't bring us back. We got what we paid for, more or less -- a four course lunch for $15. Had I paid the regular price of $29 I'd have been highly disappointed.

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Thai Basil1215 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Nice addition to the neighbourhood
Submitted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 10:27pm [Dine in]

Davie Village is awash with Japanese restaurants (Samurai around the corner from this place is excellent) but no Thai or southeast Asian places save for Kam's (ugh... read the reviews here). So this is a welcome addition. Plus, it replaced a mediocre sushi joint... there were already plenty of mediocre sushi joints around.

It's a tiny place -- maybe 5 tables indoors plus a couple outside. The chef is Thai; lack of pork on the menu suggests someone from the south of the Land of Smiles, but that's just speculation.

It is "Thai comfort food" for those who have spent time in the Kingdom. The heat is toned down to Canadian tastes, but they will flavour it to order, and provide spicy fish sauce ("prik naam plaa") even with takeout. The set-of-four condiments always found in Thai restaurants (I used to know the name for this set!) in Thailand is always at the ready on the counter by the Cashier station. I ordered a "kee mao" dish (this is a class of Thai food often served in bars, and it is generally spicy to begin with) and order it "Thai medium", and I was afraid the smoke alarm was going to go off in the place. Tasty, though.

Give this place a shot. It's just around the corner (west side of Thurlow, just south of Davie). They're in their infancy, restaurant-wise, and Davie Village's collective palette needs them to succeed! If you like it, write 'em up here. If you don't like it, well, try again or at least provide some feedback so they can serve us better.

A couple of dishes we've enjoyed repeatedly: the Red Currey with Pumpkin (nice sweet edge to a traditionally hot dish), tom kaa gai (chicken/galanga soup).

One bitch: $1.50 is a lot for a small bowl of rice. But hey, prices are quite reasonable otherwise, and restaurants have to make a buck somewhere (most of the profit in restaurants come from drinks)

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Kadoya Japanese1063 Davie Street, Vancouver
Did I like it? Not sure.
Submitted Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 10:17pm [Dine in]

Reviews of this place tend toward "imaginative" sushi rolls. Gotta give 'em that. I ate there for the 1st time tonight, at the sushi bar, so I watched a lot of other peoples' meals go out. Now, I've been to Japan many times, and to many an authentic Japanese restaurant whether in North America or Japan itself. This isn't... exactly... it.

The review that convinced me to add my own read in part "if you want real Japanese sushi [go to Japan]". Well, yeah, see your point, but you need only cross the street and go west one block for authentic, inexpensive food -- Samurai Japanese Restaurant. Went there first but it was packed and the sushi bar was also full. Thought I'd try somewhere else.

Back to Kadoya. The first thing I noticed at the 'bar, was that none of the staff was Japanese. Cantonese, I think. That said, the sushi-chef was a man possessed. His moves were smooth, he was compulsive about cleaning his work surface. On the other hand, twice I was struck (literally) by flying things -- water(?) once, tobiko (fish roe) a 2nd time. I don't think it was an amuse-buche.

Here's the reason for my conflicted rating. I had unagi donburi -- basically eel with its classic sweet sauce, on a bowl of rice, with a few pickles ("umeboshi"). And it was fine. Not the most elegant presentation, but solid food that tasted like it should have, at a fair price.

Meanwhile, I'm watching possessed-sushiya make Kadoya's signature "rolls". They aren't exactly rolls i.e. makisushi with nori on the outside. Not exactly nigiri either: flattened oval sausages of sushi rice with a slice of fish atop. More like mountains of rice with "stuff" on top. I've always thought of sushi as mildly-flavoured rice as a vehicle for delivering (mostly) fish to your mouth.

The rolls are a work of art -- but not necessarily culinary art. The ones I saw go out were squirted with multiple sauces -- one clearly mayonnaise, another perhaps the sweet sauce that goes with eel. Then... eeew! Piles of multi-colour fish roe. I'm fine with fish roe, but these got blobs of red, black and green coloured roe. Gaudy.

This isn't sushi, in my opinion. If you're looking for fusion, maybe this is it.

One more thing: a number of reviewers have complained about the service, but my visit was on a Saturday night -- peak time. The waitstaff were working very hard, but I never felt neglected. I'd say they had 3 or 4 waitstaff -- more than enough for the tiny dining room. Can't fault them for that.

Kadoya one be on my list of places to return to soon. It wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't that good. I think Samurai is better food, better value. I must whine about them for a moment, though: they've dropped their "Dead Frog" draft beer. I quite liked it.

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Closed
Refuel Restaurant1944 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
Fine FINE Fine Dining
Submitted Sunday, July 6, 2008 - 3:43pm [Dine in]

Had been looking over my other reviews, and realized I tend to pan the unpleasant experiences without giving out kudos where due. Here, they're due.

Despite having table reservations, we asked for seats at the bar (which is about 40cm from the Cooks' work areas, and at the right end, next to the "pass" where food gets its final touches before going out to the diners. What a treat -- I've always felt that fine dining should be a bit like theatre, appealing to multiple senses, having an air of sophistication and where appropriate, sense of involvement. Fuel offered all these and the food unfolded in front of our wide eyes.

The Lovely Missus had the "back bacon" or whatever they're calling it. Cooked sous vide, then fried, it was simply luscious pork goodness. The presentation and accompaniments were perfect. I had the other pork main, they didn't describe it this way, but I'd have called it a "degustacion of pork on a plate". Even if that's spelled wrong. Oh, we also had a plate of cold spot prawns -- fresh? Guess so: they were moving when they cut them before grilling. Sweet, lovely flesh. Those were served on a vinaigrette on arugula -- not that exciting but at least it didn't interfere with the prawn flavour.

The food is imaginative, creative, and has great flavour pairing with the veg/starch on the plate.

We had been recommended an outstanding "inexpensive" ($48) bottle of BC Merlot (Shiraz?) which was meted out by the server at a much more leisurely pace that normal (which is great, because we really don't need to quaff a bottle of wine then after dinner drinks then hope in our car and careening home in the Toyota...). Good wine, appreciated slowly. Yum. And while it was a hardy-red, it offered a fruitiness that complemented our Porkfest nicely.

The bill was about $200 for two with wine and tip. A splurge for us, but we'll be saving up for the next opportunity.

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Closed
Aurora Bistro2420 Main, Vancouver
What's happened to Aurora?
Submitted Sunday, July 6, 2008 - 3:10pm [Dine in]

We took some friends and family over today to what had been a stellar and cost-effective offering: Aurora's Sunday brunch. Disappointing. Service was slow albeit cheery but the food -- "eh!, eh?"

The six of us ordered 3 different mains, Requested my eggs (duck bacon sort-of-benny) [poached eggs] "slighly runny not firm". Firm they were. Underseasoned as well. The "hash" it was served on was just a bland potato mixture. The duck bacon, while lovely, wasn't flavourful enough or sufficient enough in quantity to bring the "salty meat" component (be it bacon, ham, or even smoked salmon) that brings together a benny.

Even the hollandaise was bland, although the texture was spot on.

Three diners went for the sable fish; there couldn't have been more then an inch of fish (two for the generous portions) -- a true challenge to locate. Five plates arrived at the same time, no indication where/when the 6th was going to come. About half way through my meal (she insisted we start) the Server came and told the hungry diner that "her eggs were not cooperating". Naughty eggs!

So, mediocre food, a server trying to cover too many tables, a $120 tab (including 1 pot of coffee but no drinks). We could have lopped the 0 off the price, and walked to the local Denny's instead of driving over to Main St.

Huge disappointment and it makes me wonder if the Chef reveling in his success a bit too much. Maybe there's an opening at Cactus Club?

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India Bistro1157 Davie Street, Vancouver
Davie Village's Best East Indian
Submitted Thursday, August 30, 2007 - 9:48am [Dine in]

The restaurant is actually in the West End, Davie St between Thurlow & Bute. We had dined there before and enjoyed it, and went back last night. We weren't disappointed.

The food is delightfully authentic (we're anglos, but we've been to India many times), and unlike a lot of places (the one across the street, for example), you can actually convince the waitstaff that yeah, you really _do_ want the food spicy. Canadian spice-sensibilities tend to run mild, so you need to ask for "hot" if you want an ordinary Indian level of spice. The restaurant draws East Indian customers, always a good sign in an ethnic restaurant.

We ordered palak paneer (spinach/cheese), lamb tikka, and garlic naan. Each item arrived piping hot -- we actually had to wait a bit before the naan was cool enough to pick up.

The tikka was particularly impressive. Uniform, spicy chunks of tender lamb, prepared medium rare (well-done lamb is not a pretty thing), served on a bed of mild onions in a "sizzle plate" (as are often used for fajitas).

Service was good but the previous time we were there it was downright fawning. We were outside and a bit out of view so I can forgive the less-snappy service.

One more thing: "cheap" beer: $4.50/pint for Granville Brewing draft products!

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Bridges1696 Duranleau Street, Vancouver
Sticker Shock
Submitted Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 8:05pm [Dine in]

After realizing that nearby "Go Fish" is closed on Mondays, starving, we sat down here rather than face the mobs at the also-nearby Granville Market restaurants. Had we seen the prices before sitting down; had we not been starving, we'd have given it a miss.

We had lunch around 2pm on a Monday -- not exactly peak time. Service was friendly but slow. Two of our party split a fish 'n chips order ($21?), I had the Salmon Fillet Burger ($18!). Both came with a large portion of fries; the salmon came with a bit of mesclun salad mix, the fish and chips an onion-laden coleslaw.

The fish was nicely fried: fried haddock is more comfort food than haute cuisine. Wasn't overdone, wasn't underdone, was fried at proper temperature. What else can one say?

The salmon burger was excellent, and at a $9 price point I'd line up to enjoy it twice a week. At $18... never again.

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Closed
Kam's Place1043 Davie Street, Vancouver
Can't recommend it too highly
Submitted Monday, July 23, 2007 - 7:48pm [Dine in]

Actually, haven't been to Kam's in at least a year so take that with a grain of salt (a ml of fish sauce?). I have found their food mediocre, "un-Singaporean" and service uninspired. But, with the 2 x 1 coupons in the free newspapers, it seems worth it. Shop elsewhere.

What turned me off (mediocrity notwithstanding?)? Had some issues with both food and service one visit; like a good Canadian I tend to let things like this slide, but it seemed unusually poor. I went up to the owner and, as politely as possible, tried to explain what I'd experienced (cold rice, cold service). He basically accused me of lying (why? because I wanted a free bowl of rice?) and made it clear that my feedback was not welcome.

Why write a year later? Went to restaurant Azia this afternoon and was reminded me how fundamentally wonderful southeast Asian food can be. Skip Kam's (maybe there's a reason for those 2 x 1 coupons?), try Azia, Tropika, or one of the Banana Leaf restaurants.

Life is too short to eat cold rice -- unless its in pudding.

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Closed
Azia990 Smithe Street, Vancouver
One hit, one near hit
Submitted Monday, July 23, 2007 - 7:40pm [Dine in]

Went in for lunch, had "Singapore noodles" and Beef Rendang. The noodles were OK -- not especially flavourful but arguably that's what Canadian Anglos want (not in my case). The Rendang, however, was to die for -- a wonderful balance of sweet & hot. I don't think I've ever had better -- even in Indonesia. Portions were appropriate not huge, attractively presented and at proper temperature.

Prices are maybe a tad high but not unreasonable for the neighbourhood (Smithe near Burrard).

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Closed
All India Restaurant1188 Davie Street, Vancouver
Indian for the Masses
Submitted Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 11:21pm [Dine in]

This place replaced Theresa's, a solid (but unsuccessful) breakfast joint that made its debut about 12 months earlier. There's another Indian restaurant almost directly across Davie St, we'd go back there (nice service, authentic-feel to the food) before returning here.

It isn't that there was anything that said "Aha!" Stay away! It's just that the food was good without being outstanding in any way. Never had tandoori food with the bones -- really cooked in a tandoor? The papadum were not crunchy -- ok its been raining for a fortnight but this isn't a hard problem to overcome (the papadum crispness, not the rain). Our server admitted that "the buffet is for white people", who want it quick and moderately priced but not too "enthusiastic".

All in all I think I'd head for Kingsway or Little Punjab for a proper Indian fix. If wandering Thurlow-Bute and looking for an alternative to Stephos (shouldn't be hard...) -- try the Indian place oppposite. Fast, relatively inexpensive, inoffensive East Indian? Comon' in.

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Closed
Davie Village Cafe1141 Davie Street, 201, Vancouver
Great location, mediocre breakfast
Submitted Friday, July 20, 2007 - 8:16pm [Dine in]

Been meaning to stop by this place for years, plus after some turmoil, it re-opened with original ownership and a visit seemed appropriate. Stopped by for breakfast (we're local). Pleasant server. Fair prices. We were the only ones at the time; maybe 3 tables when we left. A bad sign.

Uninspired food: eggs bene had tasteless hollandaise, which makes or breaks that dish. Partner's scrambled eggs (they won't fry eggs -- what's with that?) were overcooked and insipid.

Alas, our Davie Village neighbourhood doesn't offer a surfeit of breakfast joints: Theresa's (still on Denman St) closed after less than a year; We liked it. Starbucks doesn't qualify as "food". Get thee to Melriches for local colour and flavour.

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