The GOODS from Campagnolo
Vancouver, BC | Chef JC Poirier and Bar Director Giovanni Giardino plan a weekend celebration in honour of Saint Valentine’s Day at Campagnolo Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to show their affection over a divine four course dinner, available Saturday February 12 to Monday February 14. Barman Giovanni will loosen things up with a thoughtfully prepared aperitivo while Chef JC Poirier prepares a romantic Italian dinner for two.
Campagnolo’s first come-first served policy remains intact all weekend long but for one day only, Monday, February 14th, when the restaurant will accept reservations. Guests are invited to make their dinner reservations, for the Valentine Menu, in advance by calling 604-484-6018 (a credit card number is required to book). View the menu and Giovanni’s special Valentine’s-inspired cocktails after the jump… Read more
Nearly a year ago we broke the news that Chow restaurant on South Granville was closing. It was a beautiful space, so I was very sad to see it go. What was especially disappointing what this its greatest asset – owner/chef Jean-Christophe Poirier – followed up the closure by leaving the country for South America. I assumed we wouldn’t be seeing him again for quite some time, if ever, but I’m glad to report that he’s back in town and taking the chef de cuisine reins at Main Street’s Campagnolo. We’ve seen advance copy of the press release that will announce his arrival tomorrow. Read it and rejoice after the leap… Read more
We are very saddened to have to report that the very excellent Chow Restaurant at 3121 Granville St. closed last night after service.
Chef JC Poirier’s ode to smooth and sophisticated French was outstanding in my book, from the always reliable food and the stellar bar program to the slick decor and genuine service.
Chow was a complete restaurant, the kind of youthful and independent neighbourhood operation I wish we had plenty more of in Vancouver. They earned Silver in 2007 for Best New Fine Dining at the Vancouver magazine restaurant awards, and enRoute magazine followed suit by declaring it one of “The Next 20″ best new restaurants in Canada. It was also a shoe in for my “Top 10 New Restaurants” in the Westender, and generally a favourite among food lovers and critics. I am confused/angry/bummed that it’s gone, and hope that JC won’t decamp from this city to more receptive climes.
Guest-blogger Lauren Mote | Chow is on South Granville, smack dab in a neutral area, just five doors north of a steep hill. Along this stretch, from Broadway to 50th, the customers change on all sides. We get ‘em all. The most interesting thing about them is that they are all complete products of the neighbourhoods in which they live. The places they visit don’t define their attitudes. Read more
The following is the first of several posts by guest blogger Lauren Mote, bar manager at South Granville’s Chow Restaurant.
The Covenant of the Cook: an unspoken theology or contract accepted from the moment the apron goes on, and the knives are sharpened.
We all know it takes a “special” kind of person to last in a restaurant, to withstand the military regime of the “Oui, chef!” kitchen. The covenant of the cook, the bond that holds the team together and keeps them loyal to their chef, shows in bold relief whenever I hear “D’ahhhhhh——–!”. It’s the high-pitched squeal that intermittently stirs up from JC’s spacious dungeon, where we keep our cooks.
If you took a long look at his team at work, you’d wonder how it is that they ever stop screaming. Robbie the sous stares back at me with his “Pasquale?s Kitchen” red hat and off-set spatula, his walkie-talkie to the other kitchen informants (I would pay him to break out into an aria like Pasquale Carpino himself). Up close and personal, his finesse and precision confirms why he’s JC’s right-hand man. To his right, JC anxiously prepares cases of butternut squash for battle. Kitchen intern “Killer” sadly busted his arm a while back, and is still out of the game. He loved peeling squash.
Every so often, with a little encouragement from the other screams, JC will turn and join his crew, squealing “D’ahhhhhh——–!” while reverberating ever so slightly to the Marky Mark track blasting on the dungeon stereo. Dom, our favourite Quebecois cook (from the same town as JC), pokes and prods the meats on his station, dips his finger into a random sauce to control salt (we assume), but he never yells. His particular charm comes from his attempts at becoming fluent in English. Of course we don’t make it easy for him. We teach him bad words and how to blaspheme, all the rude slang and the least “correct” ways of expressing oneself (is it really verb before noun, or is it noun before verb?). When Dom bellows lines like “Luuuuuuke, get the yolk eggs, get the yolk eggs!”, and then quietly mutters “I like these peoples a lot”, it’s hard not to find him the most charming man in the world.
Myra, who has somehow acquired the unflattering nickname of “LidBin”, likes tall wicked witch socks, short pants, and sneaking out for mid-service cigarettes. She is hands-down the greatest staff meal cook I have ever encountered, and to that end some have stopped buying groceries altogether. At 4:30pm every day, Myra can stuff them silly for free. She’s the team’s pastry gal, and about to compete in her first ever pastry competiton for Quady Essencia Orange Muscat. To prepare, she’s been happily sampling off her ideas to guests and staff alike until they are perfected (very good for morale). On a professional, “scalding hot items” note, I’m pretty sure Myra could reach into a boiling hot pot of veal stock with her bare hands and not give a twitch.
Lastly, we find Sean Bone. He’s a double-name addressee for some reason. “My name is Bone, Sean Bone. People call me Sean Bone.” OK. Each member of this kitchen brigade is worthy of their own blog entry, but Sean Bone will be good for plenty. He’ll absolutely have a Top 10 list of Reasons Why He Should Always Get Enough Sleep, with listings 3 through 9 predictably including variances of “the necessity of wearing clothes at all times in the kitchen”.
I get to leave this place, to work the floor upstairs where the sunlight, the traffic, and the people all are, but down here, where harmlessly disturbed individuals (that anyone would be especially reluctant to pass a knife to) prepare the most outrageous of duck breasts, the most delicate of seafoods, and enough addictive sweet and savoury accoutrements to undress a team of stubbornly sexless curlers, there is this common covenant that makes the professional kitchen the envy of cubicles everywhere, even of us pretties up top. Their love for food is shared, yes, but it is the kitchen as “giggle factory” (as Robbie puts it), the love of cooking in a platoon, that makes it so special and singular.
Executive Chef: J-C Poirier
General Manager: Tyler Finnie
Bar Manager: Lauren Mote
The epitome of West Coast cool, Chow restaurant specializes in fresh cuisine with a focus on local and regional ingredients. In the lounge, rare liqueurs are combined with hand squeezed juices to create unforgettable cocktails, and wines and beers have all been chosen as perfect compliments to both the menu and a variety of palates. Join us for a quick lunch, a drink after work, a meal with friends, or a late night snack at the bar. You won’t be disappointed.
Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards 2008 – Silver
The Vancouver Sun – Best of 2007
The Westender 2007 – Top ten new restaurants
Enroute Magazine 2007 – One of the next top 20 restaurants in Canada