by Andrew Morrison | Chef Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart officially (if softly) opened The Sardine Can yesterday after a hectic Monday night dry run that saw three full turns of tables. I’ll go a few more times before I get into lengthy dish descriptions and broad analysis, but suffice it to say here and now that the little 20 seater at 26 Powell Street focuses on simple, unassuming Spanish tapas and pretty much nails both the requisite casual ambiance and bold flavour hooks. Durbach’s albondigas, patatas bravas (with soft fingerlings!), fish toasts, and so on are each represented well and are wholly pairable with Stewart’s select list of wines, beers and sherries. The prices are a little higher than I thought they’d be, but rents in Gastown ain’t cheap anymore, and I left feeling more sated than depleted (having torn through half the menu – doubling down on some items – and finding not a dud in the bunch). They’re open from 3pm until late and don’t accept reservations. If you go this week, and you should, be sure to bring cash. While they do accept credit cards and Interac, customers paying cash get 10% off of everything. Take a look at the before and after… Read more
I swung by the location of The Sardine Can in Gastown (26 Powell St.) over the weekend to have a closer look. A refresher…
The concept sounds like a proper Spanish tapas bar; the hole in the wall kind that Vancouver’s most hopeful food lovers have long been waiting for. Durbach and Stewart want to make it the most casual and accessible restaurant in their stable. That means no molecular gastronomy, no El Bullish artistry, no high falutin’ anything. Instead, Durbach tells us that we can expect some 12 raciones (small plates) alongside Spanish wines served in tumblers, a decent selection of sherries and Spanish beers, as well as a couple of Cavas.
There wil be 10 seats at the bar (which will double as a kitchen), plus three tables that can be configured to fit groups both small (4) and large (10). As befitting the casual, no nonsense intent of the concept, they will only be serving walk-ins. They’re also toying with the idea of opening as early as 3pm, which is pretty damn awesome, as Gastown is pretty dry before 5:30pm. Expect midnight as their nightly close, perhaps later on weekends.
They’ve only just taken possession, but you can see the potential…
The GOODS from Pied-a-Terre, La Buca, and Cafeteria
Vancouver, BC | As he does each year as cooler temperatures set in, Andrey Durbach will be offering diners at cozy neighbourhood rooms Pied-à-Terre, La Buca and Cafeteria the chance to taste the earthy flavours of in-season mushrooms and wild game. Running from Oct. 11th to 23rd, the Game & Wild Mushroom Festival is a must for food lovers who are particularly drawn to freshly picked wild mushrooms, hearty cuts of rarely featured game and the rich reductions that Durbach is known for. Get all the details after the jump Read more
Seasoned, acclaimed restaurateurs Chris Stewart and Andrey Durbach (interview), owners of La Buca, Pied-a-Terre and Cafeteria, have just opened Commissary, a rather cool-looking little shop selling “prepared foods to take home.”
It’s located at 4027 Macdonald St. – right beside La Buca. They’re selling stocks, terrines, patés, soups, sauces, stuffed pastas and basically any of the ingredients that they employ in the recipes articulated in each of their restaurant kitchens. In addition to these staples, they also table proteins (we picked up some sweet sockeye for dinner) and gastro-esoterics like truffle paste and Callebaut baking chocolate. Cuteness aside, it’s cunningly utilitarian in its functionality for both them and us, serving not just as a space and means to make and sell what they’re already doing for themselves, but also to allow us in on the action with their surplus. Clever.
News from Scout supporters Pied-a-Terre, La Buca, and Cafeteria
Vancouver, BC | Diners seeking decadence this New Years Eve will be able to celebrate in award-winning style at Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart’s neighbourhood restaurants, Cafeteria, Pied-à-Terre, and La Buca. Matching the value-driven line-up of dishes will be an array of bubbles and boutique wines to fit any budget. Get all the details after the jump… Read more
News from Scout supporter Pied-a-Terre:
Vancouver, BC | Beginning today and running until December 23rd, Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart will open the doors to their cozy neighbourhood room, Pied-à-Terre, for holiday lunch. Durbach has crafted a special three course menu priced at $32.50 that is sure to entice lunch goers looking to stay away from the office a little longer. Guests can expect French fortified classics like Scallop Ravioli with Tomato, Gin, Fine Herbs and Crème Fraîche; Fillet of Trout served with braised Lettuce, Peas and Ginger-Soy Beurre Blanc; Coq au Vin with Pommes Purée and French Beans.
Pied-à-Terre will serve holiday lunch from noon to 2:30pm. Dinner is served seven nights a week; Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 10:30pm and Sunday from 5pm to 9:30pm. For reservations please call 604.873.3131 or for more information please visit www.pied-a-terre-bistro.ca. Read more
Main Street’s Cafeteria is now a proud member supporter of Scout. We will be publishing their news and press releases on our front page and hosting a page for them in our list of recommended places to check out. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support of our little website. Click ahead to read on or jump directly to their Scout page. Read more
News from Scout supporters Pied-a-Terre, La Buca, and Cafeteria
Vancouver, BC | For ten days in October, diners at cozy neighbourhood rooms Pied-à-Terre, La Buca and Cafeteria will have the opportunity to experience the earthy flavours of forest fare. Running from October 12th to 21st, Andrey Durbach’s fifth annual Game and Wild Mushroom Festival will give guests the chance to taste their way through seasonal, woodland themed menus highlighting freshly plucked wild mushrooms, hearty cuts of rarely featured game and the rich reductions that Durbach is known for. Read more
by Andrew Morrison | It’s not uncommon for eagerly anticipated new restaurants to fall flat on their faces. The service can be skittish, the food unevenly prepared, and the vibe altogether unsettled, but that’s only to be expected with new rooms. I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, usually by paying them three separate visits. One can’t expect (though it’s entirely reasonable to demand) perfection during the first few weeks. Mistakes — even a horrendous one, or two — are the norm. One dines accordingly, as if in a minefield.
That said, on very rare occasions, a restaurant comes along that’s a genuine pleasure to review straight out of the gate. Cafeteria is one of those. Having opened two weeks ago at Main and 11th, it’s without any noticeable flaws and drunk on that most elusive of hospitality cocktails: experience, mixed with confidence, and good luck. One visit was enough, but I went twice because I liked it so much. Read more
A quick shot from the line-up at the new restaurant Cafeteria (Main and 11th) taken mid-rush in its first week. I’ve been a couple times now, once because it’s sort of my job and twice because I particularly enjoy gorgonzola and mustard creams bathing my schnitzel. They don’t take reservations (the easily inconvenienced have my condolences).
Cafeteria will open its doors softly to friends and family tonight (public this weekend). The new 30 seat restaurant comes to us from industry vets Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart. As you may recall, they sold their L’Altro Buca restaurant (previously Parkside) in the West End to Carol and Luciano Loi of Adesso Bistro a couple of months ago in order to purchase the Ping’s spot at 2702 Main (details all here).
The focus won’t be cuisine-specific like their two other restaurants, La Buca (Italian) and Pied-a-Terre (French), and much like the original Parkside, the menu will travel quite a bit. They’re aiming for “super casual”, with no dish large or small trespassing beyond the $20 mark. In the end, what I imagine we’ll end up seeing is a playground for chef Durbach’s creativity, which is never a bad thing. All told, I’d count this as a huge win for Main.
I popped in before the doors were unlocked earlier tonight. Click through the menu and the room below…
Chris Stewart and Andrey Durbach (interview) have sold their L’Altro Buca restaurant (formerly Parkside) on Haro St. in the West End to Luciano Loi, who once upon a time owned a Ligurian trat in Kits called Adesso Bistro (now a fratty surf joint called KarV). The ink on the sale has only been dry for a few days, but it’s been long enough for Stewart and Durbach to pounce on a new space – Ping’s Cafe at 2702 Main Street.
We’re working under the assumption that Luciano will likely reprise his regional Italian theme in the L’Altro Buca location (another Adesso Bistro perhaps) but what Stewart and Durbach are going to do on Main is not a total lock. Though this only just happened this morning and they don’t take possession until May 18th, we can tell you that they’re looking to execute a quick turnaround with an opening date set for mid-June. Read more
News from Scout supporter L’Altro Buca
Vancouver, BC | With Olympic mayhem and meals served in tents now a distant memory, those looking to revel in local fare and fresh flavours at exceptional value can take refuge at Westend favourite, L’Altro Buca. For the next few weeks, chef Andrey Durbach is highlighting the arrival of springtime ingredients with a new menu featuring twenty items under twenty-five dollars, family-style dining options, and prix fixe price breaks. Diners can choose from items such as salad of king crab served with wild prawns, avocado and tomato and basil dressing; grilled asparagus served with housemade pork cheek bacon and poached egg, finished with Parmigiano Reggiano; handmade fazzoletti pasta with osso buco ragu and gremolata; roasted Rossdown Farms chicken served with olive oil mashed potato, lemon, rosemary, confit garlic and fresh baby artichokes. Read more