DinnerLes Faux Bourgeois

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Les Faux Bourgeois is a quaint French Bistro located on a half-block strip of East 15th Avenue, intersecting Fraser and Kingsway. We first heard about it through some coworkers and acquaintances. No one had tried it yet, but everyone heard it was good. So on a wet autumn evening Case and I went to check it out.

We arrived in a slightly shifty neighborhood, which happened to be kitty corner to one of our other favourite spots: Ba Le. It was early — 6 o’clock to be precise — so we didn’t think a reservation was needed. We were wrong. The restaurant was already packed. Luckily, we were still early and our hostess was able to find us two spare seats at the end of the bar, which we gratefully took.

Our waiter slash bartender was a young, easy going Frenchman casually dressed in jeans and a white, long sleeve tee. Which was cool because I was half expecting stuffy people, dressed in monkey suits.

The first thing we noticed is how small the place is; it couldn’t have seated more than 50 people. The dark and intimate setting was further enhanced by the city lights radiating in from the two large picturesque windows at the front facing 15th and Kingsway. Mellow jazz and international folk music fluttered through the dining room as the chorus of conversations from happy patrons enveloped the entire atmosphere.

We started off with two glasses of Château de Cabriac. I say that as if I know what I’m talking about. But I don’t. It’s red wine; it’s French; and it’s good — that’s about all I know about wine. Being unfamiliar with the menu, Case and I decided to share a few starters and a main dish. We began with the Paté de Campagne and Salad de Chêvre Chaud. The Paté came in this awesome miniature Dutch oven, and it totally kicked ass. I imagined a gang of poor French illegals in the back room slaving away making an assembly line of these freshly made paté in the cute, dwarf-like earthen pots. The texture was light, fluffy and the flavour was rich and earthy. The salad was pretty decent as well. The greens were ever so slightly dressed and remained crisp and crunchy. It could have used a touch more salt, but no complaints otherwise.

Halfway through the meal, a ragged, rail-thin Frenchman in a chef’s outfit two sizes too big sauntered out of the kitchen and poured himself a glass of ice water. He surveyed the dining room before muttering something to himself in French and shuffling his way back.

For our main, Case could tell I was eyeing the Steak Frites the moment our butts touched the bar stools, so we ordered that. Les Faux Bourgeois doesn’t just serve Steak Frites, they serve Le Steak Frites and it comes with a choice of shallot and red wine jus or black peppercorn jus; we got the shallot and red wine. By now, our bread basket had gone empty, so our waiter came by to replenish our supply as well as the couple’s next to us. We heard the guy next to us remark, “Wow. More bread,” to which our waiter slash bartender replied with great pride and without the least bit of sarcasm, “Of course, I’m French, I serve bread with everything.” If we hadn’t yet been convinced, it was at that point Case and I knew we had come to the right place.

The Steak Frites arrived medium rare. Our’s came already sliced; which we’ve never had before — but it was lovingly smothered in the shallot and red wine jus with a stack of frites on the side. The steak was juicy and the jus was perfect. The frites were super fresh, light and crispy. We were thoroughly stuffed, but we weren’t quite done with Les Faux Bourgeois yet.

For dessert, we had a slice of pecan pie and two coffees. Let me say one thing: these guys are hardcore. The coffee was taking an unusually long time to arrive, so Case quipped that maybe they were making them in French presses. I brushed that off as ludicrous, as who would be crazy enough to go to all that trouble for some coffee, especially during a busy dinner service. French guys, that’s who. Our coffees arrived in two personal sized French presses along with the pecan pie. The pie was awesome — and the coffee was well worth the wait. Our whole meal was just under $80 with taxes and tips. Which is more than we usually spend, but given the feast we just had — reasonably priced.

We were at Les Faux Bourgeois for just over 2 hours, and although a small crowd began forming at the front, we never got the impression they wanted us to leave. Our industrious waiter slash bartender was super friendly; the food was practically flawless; and we waddled out into the blustery Vancouver night: two very happy customers.

The Details

663 East 15th Avenue, Vancouver

Les Faux Bourgeois on Urbanspoon

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