Les Faux Bourgeois, Vancouver.

August 2018 and previous

I thought I had already reviewed this little French spot in the Kingsway and Fraser area, but I can’t find the review. I’ve probably been there four times, once with the Confrerie wine club and a couple of times with Robin. I remember those experiences as good but not great, although I’m always somehow impressed by the “Faux” authenticity of the physical plant.

This time I was there with wine buddy Larry, scheming as usual for future voyages of acquisition. We had a reservation and got a nice table by the window, and the place was completely packed by 7:30 when we left. Walking in, I asked the hostess if I should give her our bottle of wine and she was almost pointedly dismissive: “Give it to your waiter.” Fine. We sat, and a French-accented young guy arrived, asked us about drinks, took the bottle (l’Aventure Estate 2014) without comment, and when asked about specials gestured to the blackboard nearby.

The menu was satisfactorily pitched as French bistro: onion soup, escargots, two puff pastry tarts, three salads, cheese or charcuterie plate etc., as starters, and mussels in white wine, grilled squid, duck confit, steak frites, lamb shank, grilled trout etc. as mains. Specials included a big veal chop for two and some more salads. We went for the heirloom tomato and beet salad and grilled prawns to start, and then duck confit for me and lamb shank for Larry.

I uncharacteristically enjoyed my tomato and beet salad, nicely set up with a straightforward vinaigrette, and the prawns were chewy and succulent with garlic. The duck confit was gorgeously crisp and moist, set on a large bed of wilted arugula with onions, potatoes, and goat cheese, very tasty with a port wine reduction mixed in. I neglected to taste the lamb shank but heard no complaints.

Our wine which I brought and they served for a corkage of $25 was a disappointment, an expensive but mulled and murky Paso Robles syrah, but although we left comforted by the great food, I felt a bit annoyed at the frankly arrogant offhand service attitude. Noise by that time was certainly deafening. $75 each pre-tip including the $25 corkage.

I’d say Faux Bourgeois is a credible choice in town for french bistro food if you can ignore the staff’s letting you know that they would rather be somewhere else.

Food 9.0, service 6.4, ambience 8.5, value 7.9, peace and quiet 6.1.

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 40 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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