Imagining this Steakhouse on Chinatown’s Edge

Restaurant Porn is a regular column of daydreams presented as a means to introduce Vancouver diners and designers to concepts, looks, and fully-formed ideas that they might draw an inkling of inspiration from. We do our best to pair the foreign rooms with local addresses so as to let everyone in on the fantasy.

(via) A good steakhouse is a wonderful thing. We have a handful of them in Vancouver but, true story: we’ve lost more than we’ve gained in the past 15 years. While not at all tired of the ones we currently have and enjoy (for how could one really ever tire of a place like Hy’s?), I was immediately taken by the looks of this beautiful thing in the United States…

WHAT IT IS: A fully tricked out, New Orleans-inspired steakhouse and bar called C. Ellet’s. It is the newest restaurant from James Beard award-winning chef, Linton Hopkins, who named the place after his great-grandfather, a bridge builder. From the designer:

Charles Ellet, Jr. thus served as our muse as we gathered design inspiration from the language of cartography and the meandering tributaries that flow into the Mississippi and down to New Orleans. A modern, Big Easy mood is set by the pearlescent tones and textures of Venetian plaster walls, soft grey marble, silvery mirrors, old wood floors, and zinc, with brass accents and diffuse light through gauzy drapery. Gently radiused corners and edges provide a detailing motif as materials come together throughout the space.

The restaurant is organized as a procession of individual spaces, flowing from public to private. A gracious main entry receives guests with access to both the dining room and bar area. Intimate banquettes are tucked along the perimeter of the dining room under a scenic mural that curves along the soffit above. A long, linear wine hall leads to a small vestibule and ultimately, the private dining room and secluded bar. The oyster bar anchors the front corner of the restaurant with a window opening onto the pedestrian promenade for take-away orders. Patio dining flanks the main entry, offering a view of the scene along the promenade. A generous kitchen and back-of-house area allow Chef Hopkins and his staff to produce the locally-sourced, innovative cuisine for which he’s well-known.

WHERE IT IS: Atlanta, Georgia — specifically a corner of The Battery, a new mixed use entertainment district that includes SunTrust Park, home of the city’s Major League Baseball team, the Atlanta Braves.

WHERE WE WISH IT WAS: In the original Wild Rice location at 117 West Pender St. just west of the gates of Chinatown and just down the block from Rogers Arena, home of our Vancouver Canucks.

WHY WE WISH IT WAS THERE: Wild Rice was hugely important in the evolution of Vancouver as a food city. Given that the  modern, forward-thinking, wine and cocktail-savvy Chinese restaurant was such a trailblazer for 13 years here (2001-2014), one would hope that its successors would leave equal if not greater impressions. Sadly, that just hasn’t been the case. The address is now home to Mirai Sushi, the building’s third tenant in as many years (previously The Abbey and the rather unfortunately named Thai Confusion), and though I wish them success beyond their first birthday I still can’t help but harbour visions of the double height space with front and back mezzanine levels given to a theme similar to that of C. Ellet’s in Atlanta.

Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee

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