So I’ve heard about this bustling French bistro in East Vancouver for awhile now, and it seems to be on everyone’s list of favourite French restaurants. Les Faux Bourgeois — A Fake Middle Class. What an interesting choice of name. After taking a look at the seemingly reasonable menu (all entrees are under $20), we decided to plan a double date and check this place out.
I was warned that you have to book weeks in advance. With only a few days notice, we only managed a 5:30pm booking; it certainly is a popular place. But hey, it’s still an opening. We’ll take it!
Les Faux Bourgeois’ regular menu is fairly small, along with 4 featured items written on its blackboard. To start, each of the two couples decided to share a Soupe a L’oignon Gratinee. I remember having onion soups with greasy broth and fatty cheese, and I just felt kind of sick afterwards and it wasn’t a very pleasant feeling. Not here. The onion soup arrived piping hot, with gooey cheese all over. The broth was really light and flavourful, not rich and heavy as my past experience suggested. Our friends were comparing it to the one at Burgoo (currently still on my to-visit list) and they seem to prefer Burgoo’s.
For entrees, two of us ordered the featured items, two from the regular menu. First, on the fresh sheet was the Seared Scallops. We were surprised to see four jumbo size scallops. They were done perfectly: crispy on the outside and sweet and soft inside. The dish came with a bed of wild rice, and we all tried a bit of it. All I can say is, it’s too healthy for us youngsters. I’m not a huge carb person anyway so I didn’t miss much, but I wouldn’t mind if the wild rice was substituted with some sort of puree such as cauliflower or mashed potatoes. However, I really enjoyed the zucchini fritters. It’s light and fluffy and not greasy at all. I always like zucchini so now I want to find out what was in it and how to make it.
Another fresh sheet item was the Bison Flat Iron Steak. My friend WK was a bit skeptical when he ordered the dish, as he wasn’t sure if the steak would turn out dry and chewy. Bison meat is similar to beef but leaner, so his concern was valid. But it was quickly discounted when he took his first bite. It was moist and juicy, and seasoned well. It’s almost better than a regular piece of steak. The mash was pretty creamy, too. Not the best looking dish, though, as the sliced steak was just sitting on top of a pile of mash. Presentation needed some work here.
The two regular menu items included Moules Mariniere, i.e. Mussels and Frites, and Canard (Duck) Confit. I’ve always been a mussels & frites fan, so I was excited to see MS order the dish. There were a lot of mussels, but they were all rather tiny and the broth wasn’t anything spectacular. The fries were good, double-fried, so they were nice and crispy. However I found the aioli a bit too oily and runny for my liking. Lastly, the Canard Confit was exceptional. I’ve heard praises for the dish and I would agree with everyone else. The skin was crispy and the meat just fell right off the bone. It’s juicy and tender, and not overly salty like some that I’ve had in the past. As always I wasn’t a huge fan of the lentils but that’s just personal preferences.
After the entrees, we were offered the dessert menu, but nothing really caught our eyes. Rather disappointed, we left without satisfying our sweet tooth.
Because we were left with no option but to take a 5:30 slot, I was expecting to see a full house when we arrived at the restaurant. Strangely it wasn’t the case. We got there a little late, just before 6pm, and the restaurant (the bistro side only – I couldn’t see the cafe side as they’re not connected) was only like 1/3 full. It wasn’t until past 6:30pm when it’s starting to get busy. The atmosphere was pretty good once the dining room was filled with people. The downside is, the restaurant is so busy you wouldn’t be able to hang around and chat after dinner. There were people waiting outside for our table. If you are looking for a place for some great food and chill for a few hours, this may not be it.
By the way, there is no air conditioning at the restaurant, so be prepared when you dine on a hot summer day (like we did). Dress breezy and you may want to avoid the onion soup.
Having tried all four dishes and the onion soup, I was quite impressed with the food quality and I certainly understand its appeal. However, the menu is quite small and if you are not interested in certain dishes, you don’t have a lot to choose from. I would definitely go back for the duck confit and look forward to its daily featured items. Recommending this for people with a love for French food.
Les Faux Bourgeois
663 E 15th Avenue, Vancouver