1616 Alberni Street
Vancouver, BC V6G 1B1
Tel: (604) 685-3924
March 29, 2012
Written by: Second Stomach
I love the dining experience at Le Gavroche. I have been here many times in the past and tonight I had the pleasure of coming again, this time with a few friends from out of town. Snowman and I were joined by Wong Tun Soup and Noodles.
There’s nothing not to like about Le Gavroche. It’s centrally located in Downtown yet somewhat secluded away from the all the traffic and busyness. I can usually find parking on the street and the parking rates are surprisingly reasonable for downtown ($2/hour). If you don’t pay attention to the street, you can easily miss the restaurant because Le Gavroche is located in a house. Walking into the restaurant, I feel like I am visiting someone’s home – the doorbell rings and I can walk upstairs to find a cozy room filled with many quaint tables. We were welcomed warmly and sat down to study the menu.
Lucky for us, March is lobster month. We’ve been here for their lobster menu in the past and really enjoyed it.
Here’s a look at the menu for this year’s Lobster menu:
Here’s the regular menu at Le Gavroche:
Our dinner consisted of:
2 lobster menus:
Menu 1 – $39
1st course: Warm Lobster Salad
2nd course: Cavaletti Royale
3rd course: Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brule
Menu 2 – $39
1st course: Lobster Bisque
2nd course: Lobster & Shrimp Cake on Ling Cod
3rd course: Duo Mousse au Chocolate
Duo De Canard Aux Figues (Duck)
Carre D’Agneau Provencal (Lamb)
Grant Marnier Souffle
Before we got started, we were served some fresh bread and an accompanying plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- The bread was sliced thick. Although not served warm, this bread would serve its purpose a little later in our meal (more about that later).
To wet our appetite, we were served a small cup of corn chowder with candied bacon:
- Everytime we’ve visited Le Gavroche, we would usually be served some sort of appetizer. This time it was a small serving of corn chowder with candied bacon.
- Don’t be deceived by the small serving size. This chowder was chock full of goodies including chunks of fish. I really enjoyed this.
Ok, let’s get “officially” started…with the “first” set of appetizers.
Warm Lobster Salad (1st course, part of lobster Menu)
- This salad consisted of watercress, grapefruit, chunks of lobster, and spinach (I think, underneath the lobster)
- There was a delightful mix of flavors – a little bit of sweet, salt, and savory. Lobster chunks were tender and firm and buttery. I think the grapefruit sections provided a sweet and tangy contrast that made this salad outstanding.
Lobster Bisque (1st course, part of lobster menu)
- The flavor in the bisque was strong and not too salty. I always worry that some bisques end up way too salty but this one was just right.
- I thought the bisque was on the thin side – I would have preferred the bisque to have been a touch creamier than it presented.
We were then treated to a lime sorbet:
- I know the purpose is to cleanse the palate and this sorbet did just that.
- The sorbet was very limey. I could have easily had a few more scoops and have it for dessert.
On to the main entrees…
Cavaletti Royale (2nd course, part of lobster menu)
- Cavaletti is a type of pasta – the texture is very similar to gnocci. In this dish, the cavaletti were narrow lumps of doughy pasta that were drenched with a rich buttery sauce.
- On top of the pasta was fresh chunks of lobster. Perfectly cooked – and a very nice complement to the softer pasta underneath.
- Everyone absolutely LOVED this dish. In fact, we all agreed it was the winner tonight. The sauce was creamy and rich and there was not a drop left on the plate at the end (that’s where all that handy bread went). French food is usually all about the sauces and this dish was the poster child for rich and savory sauces tonight.
Lobster & Shrimp Cake on Ling Cod (2nd course, part of lobster menu)
- The menu item says lobster & shrimp cake *ON* ling cod, but it really is the reverse.. the ling cod sits on the lobster and shrimp cake.
- The ling cod was cooked just right – firm and tender and not overcooked. The lobster and shrimp cake was right beneath the ling cod – but you can’t really see it in this photo and it was a small portion relative to everything else on this plate. Instead of this dish being a “lobster” dish, I felt it was more of a fish dish.
- Served atop black rice and alongside some root vegetables, this plate presented beautifully.
Duo De Canard Aux Figues (Duck) – $32
- Two types of duck meat are presented. On the left, the duck breast is sliced and prepared medium rare. On the right, the meat on the duck leg was so tender that it came off the bone so easily with a fork. This paired nicely with the port fig reduction sauce.
- Served with root vegetables (again), asparagus, and potato.
Carre D’Agneau Provencal (lamb) – $36
- There were 3 pieces of lamb in the rack presented in this dish. The lamb was super tender – served medium rare (as we asked) and with a mustard-salt crusted exterior. I thought the flavor was exceptional – I liked the flavor of the salt mixed in with the fattyness of the meat. My only concern was that the lamb was just a bit too fatty for my liking. Many of my bites consisted of a lot of fat so I was missing out on enjoying the actual meat.
- The lamb was served a top of a vegetable ratatouille of sorts and asparagus.
Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brule (3rd course, part of lobster menu)
- I’ve had a number of creme brulees in the past, and I think the best creme brulees are those that have the right combination of a crispy brule and a very smooth creamy interior. I personally like having more brule and so the ones served in the traditional ramekins tend to have less brule and I find that I need to conserve my brule with each serving of the creamy filling. This one was served in the traditional ramekin.
- The brule was crispy but the filling was not the ultra smooth creamy feeling that I was seeking.
- The gooseberry and a thin, crispy, candied biscuit atop the brule was a nice complement.
Duo Mousse au Chocolate (3rd course, part of lobster menu)
- This dessert has 2 types of mousse – dark chocolate and white chocolate. The dark chocolate mousse sits atop of a cookie crumb and in between the mousses are freshly sliced strawberries.
- Both mousses were very smooth. The dark chocolate was not terribly sweet but not bitter either. I was a little worried that Noodles was not going to like the dark chocolate mousse since she prefers milk chocolate but she ended up enjoying it. The white chocolate mousse was much sweeter, but not too sweet. Having the sliced strawberries was a perfect complement- they particularly went very well with the dark chocolate mousse.
Grant Marnier Souffle – $18
- Ok, get ready for this souffle. There are 2 souffles at Le Gavroche – the grand marnier souffle and the chocolate souffle. I’ve always had the Grand Marnier Souffle because it’s such a classic and it’s never disappointed. One of these days I’ll bring myself to try the chocolate one.
- You need to give the kitchen some time to make the souffle (probably at least 20 minutes) - we knew right when we arrived that we were going to order one tonight so we immediately ordered it from the get go.
- When it arrives, it comes right out of the oven nicely puffed. Our server then poked at the centre of the souffle and you can see in this picture that the souffle didn’t really deflate. A sign of a good souffle.
- Into the centre we pour the full serving of cream. Oh, the goodness!
- Here’s the souffle half eaten – to show you a little bit of the creamy mixture.
- This souffle is absolutely amazing. I think it’s the best one I’ve had (so far). The egg whites that make this souffle are so light and fluffy. The exterior is just a bit crispy and sugary and this contrasts so well with the light texture beneath it.
- I know that this souffle looks like a big serving – in fact, it is meant for 2 people. I think I could easily have 1 (or more) at one sitting. It just goes down so easily.
To cap off our evening, we were served with dark chocolate truffles:
This time, Noodles didn’t like these truffles because she thought they were too bitter. I think she just didn’t give them a chance because a few more bites in brought on the sweetness of the chocolate.
Here’s the bill for the 4 of us:
Le Gavroche has it all for fine dining experiences – the setting is intimate and romantic, the food is prepared perfectly and presented thoughtfully, and the service is attentive. Le Gavroche often has set menu specials – often the feature set menu will be $39 but a 4 course tasting menu can be selected choosing items off the regular menu for $55.
- Centrally located, intimate and romantic atmosphere
- Exceptional food quality and service
- Best souffle – worth a visit, even just for a night time snack
- Can be pricey – especially if you have multiple courses and wine pairings.