Saturday, November 20, 2010
This little French bistro has been in my neighbourhood for more than ten years, yet I have never found a time or excuse to dine here in the past. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I have subconsciously avoided it because the idea of enjoying a competently prepared calmars frits or salade de chevre chaud in a community centre is not at all appealing. Salade de Fruits is located in Vancouver's French Cultural Centre, and many people enjoy the unpretentious, authentic feel of the restaurant.
I finally managed to dine here last week with my co-workers. It is funny how my opinion of the meal has evolved over the past few days. During dinner, I was impressed with the unrelentingly French servers, the table d'hotes options, and the casual atmosphere of the space. Of the ten entrees that were ordered, I only heard negative reviews for one of them. I ordered the large duck confit, which consisted of two legs atop a subtle cassis sauce, mash, and a tiny vegetable tipi composed of crisp asparagus, snap peas, acorn squash, and broccoli. Although I am obsessed with duck confit and would probably order this as my last meal on death row, the asparagus almost stole the show. It was cooked (blanched) perfectly. I should note, however, that I did like the confit at Les Faux Bourgeois and Jules more when considering portions and flavour.
A day or two after dinner at Salade de Fruits, I kept thinking about how odd the dining room at the Cultural Centre was. Once the Centre shuts down for the day, tables are simply put out into the lobby. I was the furthest one can get from the kitchen, at the head of our table, and I was practically sitting in the dark library of the Centre, which connects to the lobby. In hindsight, the idea of consuming $20-$25 entrees in a québécois community centre just isn't as appealing as enjoying a meal in a cozy, hip restaurant such as Les Faux or Jules. I went from loving the Salade to liking the Salade. So sad.