A-buck-a-shuck oysters: La Brasserie
1091 Davie St., Vancouver
Normally, waiting for a table makes me pretty grumpy and the wait for a table of two at La Brasserie on the Friday night that we visited was a ridiculous 40-minute affair. The three things curbing my grumpiness was my charming dining mate, La Brasserie’s equally charming host (who offered us drinks while we waited for our table), and of course the thought of a dollar a piece oysters. When we finally sat down, we ordered 16 oysters without even looking at the menu. And they were definitely worth the wait. The Royal Miyagi oysters were cold, smooth, velvety as they slid down our hungry throats with rich buttery notes in aftertaste. I could have eaten 16 more of those little morsels of heaven but I opted to order one of La Brasserie’s famous entrees- the braised lamb cheeks served with a sweet and creamy carrot puree and seasoned vegetables.
When the dish arrived at our table, it was definitely an attractively appetizing sight to look at with its colourful vegetables- bright orange carrots, fresh green Brussels sprouts, pure white and beige cauliflower and parsnips, and my favourite wrinkly morel mushrooms were hiding under the veg, soaking up all the flavourful juices with their spongy cavities. The carrot puree was a perfect platform for the dish, offering colour and sweetness that softened the gamy taste of the lamb cheeks. The meat was cooked perfectly and I loved the tenderness of the lamb cheeks against the crunch of carrots and parsnips. The amount of fat in the lamb cheeks really balanced the texture of the meat, making the cheeks moist and juicy.
I also loved the intimate ambiance of La Brasserie. The small restaurant has limited seating, and we lucked out with our window seat. But the cramped tables, notable art decor light fixture on the ceiling, bold red wall and open kitchen makes this place a perfect little spot for a romantic dinner. Our server was a little bit on the snooty side but I imagine it’s part of the experience of dining in a French restaurant.