Our weekly distillation of who wrote what about food and drink in this week’s city print…
Alexandra Gill goes head over heels for the new Lumiere in the Globe and Mail. Buried elsewhere in the paper is a not so amusing anecdote about a Newfie waiter being punched in the face by a customer for serving a steak that was “too meaty”. For real.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market and bar manager Justin Tisdall (the one and only JT) get some ink courtesy of Joanne Sasvari in the Vancouver Sun. Not a review. Also in the Sun is Mia Stainsby’s near perfect review of DB Bistro Moderne next door.
Thomas Tran, executive chef at Don Francesco’s, gets profiled in 24.
I can’t get enough of Foodists.ca, Vancouver’s best food website.
The National Post on the evils of shark fin soup.
Carolyn Ali warms to Charm Modern Thai in the Georgia Straight. It’s the fourth restaurant incarnation in this Yaletown location in three years, so they could probably use the leg up. Also in the Straight (missed from last week) is Pieta Woolley’s lengthy article declaring the “economy won’t devour Vancouver’s upscale eateries”. It’s a fine read, with the following gist: it’s all good. By “upscale” she means Bishop’s, Tojo’s, and Lumiere. It’s the more recent restaurant entries are the ones with targets on their backs. An excerpt:
Back in 2001, Peter Hall was living in San Francisco and watched the dot-com bust decimate Silicon Valley. The area went from jam-packed to ghost town overnight, said Hall, the associate director of SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development. He compared that era to Vancouver’s current economic climate.
“Suddenly, this thing appeared out of nowhere,” Hall told the Straight, noting that most Vancouverites haven’t begun to see the recession yet. But they will. Referring to the Bay Area, Hall said, “The newer restaurants in the leading-edge, gentrifying neighbourhoods took a hit. They weren’t established, and they didn’t have a good client base yet. They shut down very quickly. But Chez Panisse in Berkeley is fine.”
The recession will arrive in Vancouver soon, Hall believes, and will hit the city’s employment rate and wallets with gusto. But the patrons of high-end establishments will be last on the chopping block, he noted. Workers who are approaching retirement will postpone leaving their jobs, rather than cut into their luxuries, Hall said. Those who are very comfortable, he explained, won’t change their behaviour. Of the wealthy, only those who live entirely on investments will be forced to modify their spending.
Indeed, SFU economics professor Stephen Easton told the Straight the businesses that will take a hit are those that sell things like multimillion-dollar yachts. Not the lunch business at CinCin.
That last sentence would have more impact if CinCin hadn’t already shut down for lunch. In related news, A&W sales see uptick of 13%.
Rob Feenie’s Tuna Tataki sees some Province action.
In the Courier, Cheryl Rossi pens a piece about Vince Alvaro’s proposed new club on Seymour (in the old A&B Sound location). I thought it rather lame that he referred to Vancouver as a “fishing village”, as if his 6,000 square foot unisex bathroom lounge (with bar) would grant our city entrance into the heralded Metropolis club. No thanks. Money quote from the Department of Bad Timing: “the new establishment will be more upscale and expensive than anything else downtown”. He has plans for a restaurant space next door, too. As to how supremely douchey it will be, I haven’t the foggiest.
As for me this week, it turns out that I still love Gyoza King.
PS. Know any good restaurant managers looking for work?
Andrew Morrison is a west coast boy who studied history and classics at the Universities of Cape Town and Toronto after an adolescence spent riding skateboards and working in restaurants. He is the editor of Scout Magazine, the weekly food and restaurant columnist for the Westender newspaper, a contributor to Vancouver and Western Living magazines, and a proud board member of the Chef’s Table Society of BC. He lives and works by the beach in Vancouver.