Fable, Vancouver.

November 2013

This little spot, site of the former Fuel, is named as a combination of “farm to table”, but delivers pretty good food and nice service independent of any imaginary locavore or health benefits.

The welcome was a bit casual, with the apparent hostess talking on the phone for a few minutes while we waited, but once seated it was a warm and welcoming room with the kitchen clearly visible in front surrounded by a bar. Things got noisy by about 8 PM but not intolerably so.

The menu is faux-downscale, printed on rough paper and evoking a diner with dishes like “spaghetti and meatballs” and “canned tuna”. Don’t worry, the meatballs are made of duck and the spaghetti is tagliatelle with mushrooms. There were several appetizing specials. We started with the roasted beet salad and chickpea fritters which were both respectable (beet salad is pretty well everywhere this season, and there wasn’t anything dazzlingly unusual about this one), the chickpea fritters salty and crunchy.

Service was charming, sincere, and helpful. I brought a 2005 Bordeaux (Bienfaisance, a bit of a disappointment) and was quite happy to pay the $20 corkage.

In light of the wine I was glad to see a beef dish, called steak frites, which turned out to be delicious perfectly medium-rare sliced ribeye I think with large but very crisp deep-fried potatoes, surrounded with a tangy mayonnaise takeoff although accompanied by undercooked broccolini. The duck breast main was also delicious.

$88 for two seemed a pretty reasonable bargain even though we brought our own wine.

Fable is another perfectly viable option in town, although I’m not sure I would drive out of my neighborhood specially to return to it when there are so many other lovely options. Food 7.8 service 8.0 ambience 7.1 overall value 8.2.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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