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Is this highly regarded Vancouver restaurant worth it?

5/13/22 (UPDATE) – So I went back to L’Abattoir last night and this time ordered a la carte. The experience was MUCH better. The startes, except for the scallops which to me did not taste that fresh, we delicious. The foie gras was good, but surprisingly, the baked oyster, which was also part of the tasting menu below, was way better this time around. All the flavors and hint of truffle worked so well together.

I had the Steak Diane which had a very delicious sauce, perfectly cooked steak (very tender and moist) and the bone marrow was a nice touch. Dessert was much better this time around too and I learned that they took the Tropezian off the menu.

Lastly, we learned about Amaro and the restaurant’s extensive selection, from our amazing server that evening.

Overall, service was outstanding and the food was much more in line with the restaurant’s reputation than what I experienced from the tasting menu. I would return, but only for a la carte.

4/29/22 – L’Abattoir is a highly regarded restaurant in Vancouver. It frequently shows up on lists of best restaurants in Canada. I had not been in a while and wanted to know if it lived up to its hype. I made a reservation for the Gaoler’s menu which is a tasting menu. The meal started with 3 breads – bacon brioche (good, hint of bacon, nice soft texture), anchovy twist (could use more anchovy) and a cracker:

This was followed by a trio of amuse bouche. The first issue of the meal starts here. The portions were large for an amuse. Usually an amuse should be one bite. Parfait of beet and caviar – the beet, and vinegar overpowered the caviar to the point where all I tasted was beet, yogurt and vinegar. The steak tartare and bluefin otoro on shiso looked and sounded good, but it was just ok. The terrine of foie gras was good, but the portion was too big. In my opinion, an amuse should set you up and excite you for the rest of the meal. You should be left wanting more.

The next course was baked oyster with truffle and whipped garlic butter. Presentation was good but the dish itself was not memorable.

Next was spot prawn and halibut. The halibut was dry. The spot prawn was pretty good but the whole dish felt like a slightly better hotel meal.

Following this was BBQ squab with strawberry, rhubarb and tamarind glaze. This dish had the least appealing presentation. The strawberries and sauce looked dull and jam like. The taste of the dish was strongly smoky but to the point where it reminded me of a smoky sweet bottled bbq sauce (which I know it wasn’t, but thats how it came off).

The final savory dish was good. Lamb. The demi glace sauce was incredible. Full of flavor and the lamb was well cooked.

The desserts which followed were ok but not spectacular. Caramelized apple sorbet. This dish had a lot of potential but lacked a creamy, salty, and sweet balance.

Next was a Tropeziene.

…and finally shortbread.

Overall, the service was pretty good and the atmosphere was good. The food is where things fall flat. A lot of the dishes lacked refinement that you will find in Michelin starred restaurants. For the best tasting menu in Vancouver, check out Anna Lena.

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