Remembering The Cellar Door Caesar At West Broadway’s Defunct ‘Cru’ Restaurant

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by Andrew Morrison | We typically use the #TBT column to look back at restaurant openings but this week we’re going to focus on a closure, specifically that of the much-loved Cru Restaurant back in 2012. It was five years ago this week that Mark Taylor (now GM at Cibo Trattoria and Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar) closed the award-winning eatery after its nine year run at 1459 West Broadway.

He had recently opened Siena Restaurant at Granville and West 12th (which he has since sold), and his partner had just given birth to a baby girl. Running two restaurants at the same time was too much. “Cru was actually busier after Siena opened,” he told me at the time, adding that “the hassle to pleasure ratio is just not what it used to be.”

A good many talents toiled there at one time or another (eg. chefs Dana Reinhardt, Alana Peckham, Tim Evans), and I’ve heard it was a great wine knowledge incubator for front of house staff. Several of the dishes have been impossible for me to forget. Every duck confit I ever tuck into I measure against the one served at Cru, and the Caesar salad I make at home is based on their “Cellar Door” classic (slightly over-pungent and finished with Asiago cheese).

Like many Vancouver diners, I miss it. Every time I walk past the address – now home to a Thai restaurant called Jitlada – I inhale deep with my memory, searching for the magic smell of its phenomenal Syrah-braised beef short ribs. Alas, we have pitifully few photos of Cru on file. The following gallery is the only evidence we possess of it…

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  • Mark, Alana, and Bill
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  • Chef Alana at Market
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