Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: Le Crocodile (Vancouver BC)

Le Crocodile is one of Vancouvers most fantastic institutions for exquisite French food. I had the chance to sit in on a holiday set menu with some new and old friends, and the experience was met with mixed reviews.

The place was packed when we arrived. We were seated promptly and served a beautiful amuse bouche of a sauteed prawn set atop a cool refreshing portion of beet carpaccio. To prevent transfer of heat and colour, the cooks had separated the former and latter with a small round of potato crisp. This was arguably one of the best courses in the meal.

We were then served a quail stuffed with foie gras that was roasted and served with a veal demi glace. Unfortunately, this dish was not great. The quail was slightly dry, and the whole thing did not taste seasoned. We also had a hard time detecting any foie gras.

Next, we had a light tasting salmon and shrimp seafood terrine. It was served with an emulsified sauce, which, while being light on the palette, had slightly split on the plate. Some enjoyed the terrine, but some compared it to the gummy texture of "hot pot fish balls". I think if the fish was omitted from the dish, it would have revealed more of the salmon and shrimp texture.

For the main entree, we had a choice of veal tenderloin or tilapia and lobster pasta. I opted for the former, and really enjoyed it. The vegetables were perfect, the veal was tender and flavourful, and the morels and wild mushrooms were delectable.

Dessert was a trio of pastries: a cocoa-chantilly filled choux pastry, a sour cherry panna cotta, and a berry tart. Everyone loved the panna cotta, minus the sour cherry. It was one of those "surprise!" moments when someone bit into the center to discover it was sour.

Service was fantastic. There were ample waitstaff, the sommelier was friendly and not snooty, the hostess / coatcheck girl was friendly and helpful. Based on the great service, and given that this was an exceptionally busy night for the restaurant, I'd return. I know the flaws in the food were anomalies.

Le Crocodile

909 Burrard Street

Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-669-4298

Le Crocodile on Urbanspoon

More photos available at my flickr photoset, "08DE31 NYE".

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