Saying Goodbye To The Kitchen Pass At Gastown’s “L’Abattoir”

September 26, 2010.

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by Andrew Morrison | Tonight’s my last shift working the pass at Gastown’s L’Abattoir. A big thank you to all the staff for tolerating my presence in their midst, and to owners Nin Ari, Paul Grunberg, and Lee Cooper for allowing me the opportunity to play witness to the opening of their superlative restaurant. I’ll miss my brothers in arms, Dylan and Joe (and all the bacon brioche that we sneak at the end of the night), and the excitement that comes when the room is packed and the pass is full of dupes. I might even miss polishing 1000 pieces of cutlery a night (probably not). For certain, pulling 150+ covers in a 70 seat room made for a fun, hectic ride. I’d never before worked with so solid a crew, both front and back. From orientation and training to opening night and every shift since, it was a pleasure and a privilege that I won’t soon forget. Thank you.

Some of the insights gleaned during my stint will be in Vancouver magazine’s November issue (in a wide-ranging story on the exploding dining scenes of Gastown and the DTES), but you’ll be able to read more about my L’Abattoir days in a story on the current state of restaurant service in our city that is coming out in the March 2011 issue (I think) of the same magazine. I’ll be working at West next (shadowing the legendary Brian Hopkins), and maybe on the floor at one other restaurant (not sure which just yet). But that’s all beside the point. I clock in for my final shift in two hours. Come in, say hello, and try the beet soup with meatballs, dill, and horseradish creme fraiche. It’ll blow your freakin’ head off.

Here are just a few of the tasty memories I’ll be taking with me…

  • Lee and Paul, pre-shift
  • Nadia, Kristopher and John during staff meal at L'Abattoir
  • David and Shaun tend the first guest of the night...
  • L'Abattoir
  • Hello Tanis!
  • One of Shaun's cocktails...
  • Romano readies to run...
  • Salad of chicken and lightly pickled cauliflower | Foie gras flavoured mayonnaise, lemon & parsley vinaigrette
  • A chanterelle mountain...
  • Chanterelles
  • The mushroom turnovers with pecorino fondue spiked with black truffle
  • My favourite: mushrooms in filo with chanterelles and morels, broccoli puree and a fondue of black truffle and pecorino...
  • Jack and Lee plating during the rush
  • L'Abattoir | Measuring 5 ounce pours...
  • Staff discussing the food...
  • Mostacciolo pasta with borlotti and housemade mozzarella
  • Lee tweezes garnish on a halibut plate
  • L'Abattoir
  • Confit of albacore tuna | Smoked pork fat, egg, crispy bits
  • L'Abattoir
  • Confit of albacore tuna | Smoked pork fat, egg, crispy bits
  • L'Abattoir
  • Roast flank steak and sweetbread | Potato fondants, charred onion, fried peppers
  • The line...
  • Roast flank steak and sweetbread | Potato fondants, charred onion, fried peppers
  • Post-shift debrief.
  • Lee takes it in...
  • Nadia having a taste...
  • Halibut with garlic sabayon
  • A light moment in the rush...
  • Chef Lee Cooper of L'Abattoir plating a halibut dish
  • Jack and Lee
  • Flank steak with sweetbreads and potato fondants
  • Salad of chicken and lightly pickled cauliflower | Foie gras flavoured mayonnaise, lemon & parsley vinaigrette
  • Jake walking toward the atrium
  • Exterior
  • L'Abattoir
  • Dungeness crab and chickpea toast | Toasted brioche, light crab custard, carrot pickles
  • Opening night at L'Abattoir
  • Cold side action...
  • Hillary's awesome chocolate yogurt
  • Lee and Paul, pre-shift

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