Gastown - Vancouver Restaurants

 

Cassis Bistro (Downtown, French)

I made a visit to Cassis Bistro (map, web site, visitor reviews, 420 West Pender St. Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-605-0420) and was really impressed. Cassis Bistro is a French tapas bistro hidden away in a somewhat seedier area of downtown Vancouver on the edge of Gastown (about two blocks from the Granville Skytrain station).

Ron Brill of Martiniboys (click here to read review) writes of “…elegantly simple, modern tapas fare…alluring French flavours…” and I concur. Cassis Bistro is definitely deserving of the positive buzz it has been getting recently.

Pictured below are some of the items we ordered. First was the complimentary amuse bouche, which was olives and antipasto served with French bread. The olives and antipasto were served in an interesting narrow tray and whetted the appetite perfectly. For an appetizer, we ordered a crepe with Brie cheese (around $10), which tasted great. Looking at the photo brings back fond memories! For the main course I ordered the Duck a l’Orange ($17.50). The menu describes this item as:

Duck and oranges: a combination popular in many countries. This dish consists of Muscovy duck braised with oranges.

Let me say, the Duck a l’Orange was fantastic (or should I say merveilleux “en Francais”). I am a huge fan of orange juice and oranges in general, and duck is always a special treat for me since I don’t cook it at home. So this was a match made in heaven.

We also ordered a side dish of some vegetables: beets and zucchini (also pictured below, around $5). This went very well with a side of bechamel sauce.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a lorange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a l'orange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Cassis on Urbanspoon

10,740 views - Posted Thursday, March 19th, 2009

 

Wild Rice (Modern Chinese Cuisine)

Wild Rice (web site, map, 117 W. Pender, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-642-288) is a stylish, modern, and upscale restaurant on the edge of Vancouver’s Chinatown that serves innovative Chinese cuisine.

Wild Rice is one of the only restaurants in Vancouver with a menu that takes familiar Chinese dishes and re-imagines them in a marvellous fusion between new and old-world Chinese cuisine and high-end Western-style tapas.

40something, a reviewer on DineHere.ca writes (click here to read review):

The decor is polished and dark with mute dark green panel lighting. Wear black my dear! Very Sean Connery turtle neck. BTW The prices reflect the ambiance.

[…] The food was pretty darn good. Like with other outings, we ordered and shared. It was eclectic and all nicely presented, yet seemed more like elaborate tapas then meals. Our service was good (I guess that has changed for the better recently given the older reviews). And our wait staff seemed knowledgeable and attentive enough.

The restaurant is offering a special menu for Dine Out Vancouver 2009. I have copied it from their website and included it below. Vegetarian (vegan) items are indicated with a “v” symbol.

3-COURSE MENU OPTIONS:
available wednesday, january 14 through sunday, february 1, 2009.
please note that, during dine out, our regular a la carte menu will not be available

1st course:
bc side stripe shrimp congee or
vegan menu item hot & sour soup or
wonton soup with pork dumplings

2nd course:
yarrow meadows duck confit on shanghai noodle or
vegan menu item local mushroom & baby bok choy on noodle or
free range kung po chicken on jasmine rice

3rd course:
red bean panna cotta or
vegan menu item seasonal berry dumplings or
tea cup chocolate pudding

$18 per person. optional VQA wine pairings available.

Pictured below are some of the dishes we tried last week. It was a real feast!

Peking style duck pancakes from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Yarrow Meadows duck breast, scallion pancakes, and hoisin $18

Peking style duck pancakes from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with yarrow meadows duck breast, scallion pancakes, and hoisin $18

Spicy kung po chicken with twice cooked peanuts from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Maple Hill free range chicken, broccoli, and rice noodles $18

Spicy kung po chicken with twice cooked peanuts from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with Maple Hill free range chicken, broccoli, and rice noodles $18

Side stripe shrimp congee from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. A modern take on traditional Chinese soup. Made from brown rice $9

Side stripe shrimp congee from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. A modern take on traditional Chinese soup. Made from brown rice $9

Ma po doufu from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with tempura eggplant, chili jam $11

Ma po doufu from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Made with tempura eggplant, chili jam $11

Gai lan (Chinese brocolli) and crisped shallots from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. $7  (side dish)

Gai lan (Chinese brocolli) and crisped shallots from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. $7 (side dish)

Local fruit dumplings (dessert) from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver.  Star anise caramel, vanilla doufu ‘ice cream’. $8. The Caramel sauce was stupendous!

Local fruit dumplings (dessert) from Wild Rice restaurant in Vancouver. Star anise caramel, vanilla doufu ‘ice cream’. $8. The Caramel sauce was stupendous!

Wild Rice on Urbanspoon

12,705 views - Posted Monday, January 5th, 2009

 

Jules Bistro (Gastown)

Jules Bistro (web site, map, visitor reviews, 216 Abbott St., Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-669-0033) is a upscale but casual French bistro in Gastown that is attracting the talk of the town.

asianfusion, a reviewer from Seattle on DineHere.ca writes (click here to read review):

“Very French” – The husband and I had dinner here last night and had a very enjoyable evening. Steak Frites were tasty as was my halibut. Creative wine list made up of BC and French reds. This place reminds me of many Paris bistro’s with it ambiance and joie de vie.

artfuldodger writes on the same site (click here to read):

I love the size of the restaurant. It is intimate yet it avoids the slightly cramped feeling of, say, Pied-a-Terre or Grub. The design is cool too: exposed brick wall, mod furniture and woodiness.

To start, I ordered an amazing sounding soup from their menu, the Bisque de Homard et Dungeness Crabe ($12, pictured below) which is lobster and dungeness crab bisque served with croutons, Rouille and Gruyere cheese. It tasted even better than it looked, and I’m a big fan of both lobster and crab so this was the perfect combination. Now I want to go to Paris, right away!! Speaking of Gruyere cheese, over the holidays I tried an incredible smoked Gruyere – I think it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite kinds of cheeses.

I was then treated to the Coq au Vin aux carottes fondantes et choux de Bruxelles braises ($19, also pictured below) which is braised hen in red wine with glazed carrots and brussel sprouts. I noticed that this item is no longer listed on their online menu so they may have changed things up since I visited (Dec. 9th 2008). I really enjoyed this dish and would definitely order it again.

Like many of our city’s higher-end restaurants, Jules Bistro is also a popular hangout for some Vancouver celebrities and public figures. A friend reports that Gordon Campbell was dining at the next table to him, the night after I visited. After noticing Hon. Campbell, my friend chatted with the waitress and she said that the Premier had winked at her when ordering his soft drink, saying that he was the designated driver. Apparently that didn’t stop our Premier from having a raucous good time.

Future music star hopefuls might also want to pay Jules a visit, as k-dawg73 writes: “Famed music manager Bruce Allen came in and sat down at the table next to us with a group of 6 other people.”

Bisque de Homard et King Crab ($11) - Lobster and King Crab Bisque Served with Croutons, Rouille and Gruyere Cheese from Jules Bistro in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Bisque de Homard et King Crab ($11) - Lobster and King Crab Bisque Served with Croutons, Rouille and Gruyere Cheese from Jules Bistro in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Coq au Vin aux Carottes Fondantes et Choux de Bruxelles Braises ($19) - Braised Hen in Red Wine with Glazed Carrots and Brussel Sprouts from Jules Restaurant in Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Coq au Vin aux Carottes Fondantes et Choux de Bruxelles Braises ($19) - Braised Hen in Red Wine with Glazed Carrots and Brussel Sprouts from Jules Restaurant in Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Jules Casual French Bistro on Urbanspoon

12,508 views - Posted Thursday, January 1st, 2009