My family were regulars at this restaurant when it opened... and it was great. Crowded, small, and many times people would bump into the back of you while you were eating... but the great service, food and sense of authenticity were worth it. We dined there at least once a month. As times change our schedule took us to different neighbourhoods and we left La Brasserie for a couple of years. Tonight an unscheduled stop at St Paul's Hospital offered us an opportunity to visit an old friend.
Turns out, our old friend sold to an incompetent new proprietor. The menu was mostly the same but everything tasted like it was well past the best before date. Even the sauces tasted like they were out of a can! Actually, on a rare good note the chicken that I ordered for myself was moist and well cooked but on a bed of limp aged vegetables that with the sauce ruined the dish.
Out of 5 dishes ordered only the Duck was acceptable to my son. When we were asked how the food was I was honest.. thinking that a new chef was filling in on an odd night. During the conversation, with the waiter.. (which I think was the owner,) I learned that the restaurant was sold in August of 2013. The conversation was pleasant enough and I was assured that he would speak to the chef the next day about our experience. The thing that bothered me is that nothing other than that was offered. No opportunity to change dishes or an offer of re-plating new food. No bread or water was even offered.
The two other tables occupied should have tipped me off for a restaurant that was consistently full before.
When the bill came.. nothing was taken off and no apologies. This is the first time in 20 years that I have left without leaving a tip. I worked as a waiter for a time and know how you depend on tips to survive.. but this service was polite, but unapologetic and not attentive to our needs at all.
We left without eating the $100 worth of food that we paid for so we were hungry and went to another french restaurant that we know well. As luck would have it they screwed up a dish as well.. but they made a fresh replacement that was outstanding and refused to let me pay for it even though I insisted.
I hope that the owner of La Brasserie wakes up and learns customer service.. or hires a chef that can deliver. Gordon Ramsey was never so needed in Vancouver! Totally disappointed! Never will go back unless I see a real change in menu and attitude.