Friday, October 29, 2010

La Brasserie

                                              a little bit of French...a little bit of German...
and a whole lot of value!


La Brasserie has been on my list of restaurants-to-try for quite some time now.  One, being that it is a "Franco-German" restaurant (you don't have very many of these in Vancouver) and two, I have come across an abundant number of food bloggers who have visited this restaurant and have got nothing but good things to say.  Thirdly,  I've also read that they have a Truffle Poutine on their menu and with a sudden poutine craze -reading, seeing and craving nothing but poutines - it was very fitting to finally pay this little "gem" a visit...

Truffle Poutine...*drool..

On this night, my dining companion and I started off this lovely evening with a nice glass of Villa Wolf Riesling ($8) each.  For our appetizer, I suggested the Mussels and Frites in a Lemon Parsley Cream but asked to substitute the frites for a Truffle Poutine (of course) and pay a little more ($4).  While reading and 'prepping' (lol!) for this visit, I was also aware that they served Lamb Cheeks here. Yes, the idea of eating cheeks from any type of animal may be a little daunting, to say the least, but knowing me - I love the tripe, tongue, liver, stomach, tendon, ear, feet etc. etc. (obviously, I have a limit so don't even think of going on a hypothetical question rampage - e.g, Would you ever eat a ______ of a ______?) Point being is, my friend once had Veal Cheeks from Le Faux Bourgeois Bistro once and said that they were amazing.  Thus, this evening allowed for a great opportunity to pop my cheek-eating cherry (boy, does that ever sound wrong!)

Mussels in a Lemon Parsley Cream
To start, we were served two types of bread: french bread and othe ther being some sort of rye bread with butter and a Pork and Chicken Rillette (similar to pate).  The pork and chicken rillette was more like a pork and chicken spread/salad, with shredded pork and chicken, mayonnaise, seasoning, etc.  I thought it was ok and a nice start to the meal.  The mussels were very plump (always a good thing) and I enjoyed the lemon, parsley cream broth (though no broth can ever compare to Chambar's).  The Truffle Poutine was ah-may-zing - with a plentiful amount of huge mozarella cheese curds and teeny tiney pieces of truffles throughout.  The frites themselves were crispy - no complaints there!

Braised Lamb Cheeks with a Carrot Puree

My entree arrived as Braised Lamb Cheeks in a Carrot Puree with an assorted array of beautifully-presented vegetables: baby carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, brussel sprouts and long green beans.  I don't think I have ever had an entree accompanied in the presence of the recommended amount or an exceeded amount of vegetables!  The lamb cheeks were moist and very tender, though a little salty but they were delicious, overall.  The vegetables were all very fresh and cooked and boiled to perfection.  The portion size was quite generous as well.  My d.c opted for one of the specials: Roasted Quail with Spaetzle (?).  Not sure what her entree was exactly as the server spoke way too fast.  I had a sampling of her quail; it too, was quite tasty, cooked to perfection and I loved the crispy roasty-ness aroma to it.


Ok - not super friendly nor over-the-top and worthy of praise


Quite relatively reasonable - $20 and $22 for our entrees


Nice, romantic, dim-lighted ambience - perfect for a romantic date or a small group dinner outing

Overall: 7.9/10

Yay:  Come here for the truffle poutine! Generously-size portions of generally well-executed Franco-German fare, perfect dining destination for a romantic date

Nay: Not the right place for huge group outings, no reservations taken - first come first served!

Posted by: J

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tropika Malaysian/Thai Cuisine

r-r-r-radish cakes, come to momma!


On this night, I luckily had 3 dining companions, which enabled for a multi-appetizer, multi-entree meal (of course this could not have been accomplished had we not had the 2 entertainment book coupons)! Food was good, as usual, with the appetizers ousting the entrees on a quality scale.  In chronological order, we savoured and feasted on the following:

Stir-Fried Radish Cake (2 orders!) - Best dish of the night, hands down.  Tropika's version of the radish cake is definitely like no other.  It is ridiculously tasty, perfect in texture, more darker in appearance (lots of soy sauce is used), and very flavourful.  I like that is is comprised of little chunks of radish cake, molded into a semi-circle and stir-fried (as opposed to pan-fried or steamed).  Two thumbs waaay up!

Roti Canai (2 orders!) - The roti here is one of the best, imho.  It's not as flaky as one would like, but I like that (very minimal) sweet taste to it, and I love that accompanying sauce!

Chicken Satays - Little morsels of nicely-marinated chicken thighs...already quite good and with the peanut sauce? Ten times more delicious!

Pad Thai - I don't particularly love the Pad Thai here but always end up ordering it.  The portion is actually quite generous, though I'm not quite feeling the ketchup-y sauce.  The noodles are kinda dry, but I do like the tofu, chicken and shrimp that it comes with.

Green Curry Chicken with Coconut Rice (on the side) - The curry here is actually just ok too.  One can tell that it is prepared to cater to the Western palate with a substantially bigger ratio of coconut milk.  I actually prefer my curries to be more spicier, but this one was ok.  The rice was not as coconut-infused as I would've liked but it paired well with the curry!

Sweet & Sour Fish - Perhaps we had ordered the wrong dish, but this dish was the biggest disappointment of the night.  Not sure what kind of fish it was, but it was quite dinky and hardly meaty.  There was, however, a generous amount of veggies - diced peppers, tomatoes, onions...and pineapple.  The server also deboned the fish for us, which was a plus.

Sambal Beans-This was a great choice! Once again, good portion of nicely fried (and then stir-fried) long beans tossed in minced pork, xo sauce, chilies and shrimp paste.  Love, love, love the flavourfulness of it all!


Ok - not praise-worthy nor something to complain about. Though I wonder where the female servers are? :S


Reasonably priced (and even better with an entertainment book coupon! :) )


Arrived here on a Monday night and the restaurant was still about 3/4 full!  This decor is quite minimal, no music, but it's fine. A little loud

Overall: 7.6/10

Yay: Tropika has multiple locations, accepts varied coupons (try looking in the Georgia Straight if you don't own a Ent. book), great for family dinners and serves wonderful food all around.  Come for the radish cakes alone...mmmm

Nay:  Their entrees are good, but not spectacular.  Their drinks, though extensive, are not very good....and where are the female servers when you need one? lol

Posted by: J