Undeniably one of Vancouver’s most-loved restaurants, L’Abattoir is a place I’ve always wanted to try. Chef Lee Cooper serves French-inspired and locally sourced fare to an enthusiastic crowd in the Gastown district of Vancouver. On this occasion, we decided to dine while seated at the bar (where the full restaurant menu is also offered).
Cool “zig-zag” wine shelves…
Sea Star 2015 (Siegerrebe/Muller-Thurgau/Ortega) ‘Salish Sea’ Pender Island, BC… Not a commonly encountered grape, and a wonderful local table find. It paired very nicely with the meal.
House bread basket: Bacon brioche rolls, spiced flatbread, and Parmesan & anchovy puff pastry twist… That anchovy twist was especially great.
Salad of beetroot, pear & blackberry, with endive & horseradish cream… Just the right amounts of crunch, softness, sweetness and a touch of welcome ‘punch’ from the horseradish.
Terrine of smoked foie gras, with toasted brioche, cherry, coffee… Delicious! This was a huge hit.
Poached humpback shrimp, with Meyer lemon, fennel, garlic, chili… Expertly prepared and certainly enjoyable, but this dish would have been even better if it was served with the shrimp head.
BBQ Humboldt squid, with kohlrabi, radish, ikura, kaffir lime… The Humboldt squid is a nasty critter for fishermen to land, and its relatively tough texture often present problems for lesser chefs in the kitchen. Here, Chef Lee did a great job in taming the squid to a wonderful tenderness.
Baked Pacific oysters, with whipped garlic butter, black truffle… Quite good, but alas, the butter was applied a bit heavy-handedly here, in essence largely drowning out the natural brine of the oysters. A pity, since this was an otherwise a great opportunity for the local British Columbia oyster to shine. (Note: My gracious server reminded me that the bed of salt beneath each oyster was simply decorative in nature, and was not meant for actual consumption. This drew a slight smirk from me. I guess they've had some trouble with other diners in the past...)
Char-grilled quail, with apple butter, Brussels sprouts, vadouvan… Every bite was scrumptious in this dish. The vadouvan undoubtedly lent a unique, exotic appeal to this preparation.
Steak Diane, with 8 oz. filet, pommes dauphine frites, bone marrow butter & caramelized shallots… Satisfying; the beef here is juicy and robust.
Coffee (French press)…
Meyer lemon meringue, with Earl Grey ice cream & candied kumquats… Gorgeous and delicate to behold, and even greater in its flavors - a truly spectacular dessert!
Gastown at night…
A splendid showing for the kitchen at L’Abattoir. Downsides were few: Some of the flavors were a bit too strong, and a few of the local seafood selections could have been better highlighted. The service was thoroughly friendly and professional, with no airs or pretension whatsoever, a fact which was greatly appreciated by all customers.
I very much liked L’Abattoir, and would come back.
217 Carrall St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2