Modern Mix Vancouver would like to express its congratulations to CRU Restaurant (1459 West Broadway), for winning Gold in the the 2009 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards “Small Plates” category! “They’ve got the most inventive small plates in the city,” said one judge. “Sleek, sexy, and sophisticated.” Try the duck confit robed in bacon if you need convincing.”
CRU will be the exclusive canape/appetizer sponsor at Modern Mix Vancouver’s one-year anniversary party, on Tuesday May 12th (6:30pm to 9pm). Save the date! Facebook event is HERE, more details and official invitation to come soon.
Modern Mix Vancouver was invited to Yaletown’s r.tl (1130 Mainland Street) last week for a sampling of its new regional features. In case you missed the first article, r.tl’s menu is split into three sections, with each section featuring five to six small plates inspired from a distinct region of the world. The featured regions rotate on a three month basis, with the exception of BC, which is a constant on the menu.
A quick peek at the menu reveals that executive chef Erik Smith has chosen Portugal and France to join BC as its regional features for the next three months. The 50-seat establishment is chic and trendy, with dark wood furniture contrasted by contemporary white chairs.
I went to Hapa Izakaya (1479 Robson St) in downtown on Friday night. The location of the restaurant is quite hidden – although located on Robson between Nicola and Broughton Street (those names don’t mean anything to me – just know it’s closer towards Denman Street), the outside of the restaurant is quite dark. The first time I walked in, I was amazed to see such a small opening expand into a fairly spacious cavern of a restaurant.
Hapa Izakaya is known for its Japanese-style tapas. We were a group of 6 and didn’t make reservations (couldn’t until 8pm) and we ended up waiting almost an hour for our table. While we were waiting, we were seated around a small table and we had the option of ordering drinks and looking at the menu. Prices range from about $3 for edamame beans or octopus sashimi to about $7 for “ebi mayo” prawn tempura (highly recommended) to $10+ for featured appetizers consisting of seafood and meats. These dishes are meant to be shared but if you want to get an individual portion of something filling, try the “ishi-yaki”, a Korean rice bowl with egg. We watched the servers madly beating the raw egg into the rice and watched it cook against the inside of the hot stone bowl it was served in.
So go see for yourself – check out Hapa Izakaya. There is also a location in Kitsilano.
Les Faux Bourgeois (663 East 15th Avenue) is a dimly lit French restaurant located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood by Fraser and Kingsway. The restaurant is a partnership between the former co-owners of Jules Bistro in Gastown and Go Fish near Granville Island. I have had my eye on the place before it even opened its doors and I extremely excited to finally visit Les Faux Bourgeois for dinner last night. When we went, the 50-seat restaurant was completely full and bustling, with a few empty seats at the bar. The rustic and relaxed feel to the place makes it unpretentious French dining despite the restaurant’s seeming success. A chalkboard marked the “poisson du jour” and wine glasses were abundant at every table. It was a pleasant surprise to still be seated comfortably with a fair-sized gap between us and the next table. A few tables were left open for walk-in’s and even those were constantly being filled.
I had previously been turned away for weekend sittings, and have read only positive reviews about Les Faux Bourgeois. Perhaps these two things raised the bar just a bit because I was disappointed by what I ate. The fausse nicoise ($10) was overdressed with vinegariette, while the lamb tenderloin ($18), although tender, was too salty and there was nothing special about the french fries. The bread for the table was cold and hard. Despite all this, I must admit I would still return for another visit. Considering the value, location and atmosphere of the place, it is worth a second shot.
They are now open on Sundays for dinner, and just recently opened their Cafe side, which serves local organic and fair-trade coffee in the day time.