Alouette Bistro – Needs Work

Alouette Bistro is the newly opened (2.5 weeks ago as of 9/12/21) French restaurant inside the Le Soleil hotel in downtown Vancouver. It replaces an Indian restaurant that was there previously. Upon arrival we were stuck at a table in the back, in between two larger tables, with a large in column in front of us. The table felt like it didn’t belong there. Anyway, the dining room is elegant-ish. Here was the menu for the evening:

The brought us some bread to start which, other than the cheese stick, was nothing special, nor was the butter. This is disappointing for a French restaurant.

We started with some oysters and added the seared foie gras on top. I had never heard of such an option and was excited to try it. Unfortunately, the foie gras did not add any value to the oysters. The oysters on their own were fine, but the server brought them without any explanation as to their origin. I recommend you skip the foie gras if you order the oysters here.

The service at the restaurant was very slow. I don’t know if it was due to being so new, a lack of workers, or both. For example, it took a very long time, I would say more than 30 minutes for my first cocktail to arrive. The second starter was where this restaurant shined. The beef tartare. It was prepared tableside and everything worked well together, especially the fresh truffle which came through beautifully in the dish. My recommendations would be:

  1. a bit more seasoning and acidity
  2. list the truffle on the menu – its the start of the dish but no word of it on the menu as you can see above
  3. more consistent service, the table beside us also ordered this and their server explained each ingredient in detail including the origin of the beef; we received minimal info

Aside from the above, this dish was really really good. The beef was amazingly soft and fresh.

For our main, we had – moules et frites and the vol-au-vent. The mussels were meaty and fresh but the broth lacked serious depth. The fries were delicious and very crispy. The vol-au-vent used foraged mushrooms (which again, I would highlight on the menu), but was just ok. On the menu it says it comes with herb salad but they served us some very bitter cabbage.

The mashed potato on the side was pretty good, not Robuchon good, but fine enough. For dessert we had the crepes suzette which was not good at all. The flambe, texture of the crepe and everything else about the dish was off. It was like eating pancakes with no flavor.

Overall, I think this place needs to improve its service and food. The menus do not accurately describe the dishes, and the service is quite slow and inconsistent. Sit a the bar, have a drink and the beef tartare, then go for dinner.

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