A “C” of Disappointment - Vancouver's "C" Restaurant Experience
This past Saturday, Kelly and I headed down to "C" Restaurant in Vancouver for an evening fo Fine Dining. What we got wasn't quite to standard. Kelly had some very strong opinions so I let her write this one...
After experiencing the culinary delights of WEST and the unmatched service of Lumiere, I had high expectations for my first visit to “C” Restaurant in Vancouver. “C” has been known as that “third place” restaurant for a few years now despite their Chef winning Chef of the Year in 2006. I was really hoping that because of that, this restaurant would start to rise above my two benchmarks: WEST for their food and Lumiere for their service.Making the reservation online, I encountered my first surprise. “C” made you sign a waiver agreeing that in respect for the other guests, during Dine Out Vancouver, you will limit your stay to 1.5 hours. They also made you authorize payment on your credit card in case of a no show. Realizing how busy a high end restaurant can get, I didn’t think too much of it and happily signed the waiver. I was looking forward to my feast.
We went to “C” this past Saturday evening. I even got all dressed up and was filled with very high expectations. When we arrived at the restaurant, Steve drove the car up to the Valet area. A sign reading $7.00 to park was there for “C” patrons. At WEST and Lumiere, parking is free. Last time, when we used the valet at Lumiere, the guy couldn’t even drive Steve’s car and even worse, couldn’t even figure out how to turn it back on to drive it back to us. Steve and I had to walk down to the parkade with the valet. For $7.00, this guy better know how to drive his car!
As we entered the elegant restaurant, I got my second surprise. The seating area was filled with stools that I was too short for. The stand-up stools in the waiting area were just too tall for my 5’3”. I think they’d be better off sticking to couches rather than offend us little people.
As the staff checked on our table, we were provided with a drink menu to look at while we waited. I must say it was more of a drink book than a menu: 20+pages of martinis, cocktails, sakes and wines to choose from. You know when a drink menu includes a table of contents at the beginning that they are not short on selection. Steve ordered a Ginger Sake Martini and I got the Wall Martini: both Martinis ranked among the best I have tasted.
After placing our drink orders, it was time to sit down. We were quickly whisked up to our table and were provided with the Dine-Out Vancouver Tasting Menus. Although the Dine-Out Vancouver Menus were $35 for a three course meal, they gave you two options for the Appetizer, Entrée and Desert within the $35. There was even an alternate lobster feast for $45.
The Appetizer and the Entrée had yet another two options at additional cost. For example, while Foie Gras and scallops were included as an appetizer on West’s Dine-Out Vancouver Menu, Steve had to pay an additional $14.95 to have Foie Gras as his appetizer at “C”. The Scallops were an additional $8.95, but we didn’t order those. We then paid an additional $4.95 to have the Short Ribs option with our Main Course. I think that if “C” is going to participate in Dine-Out Vancouver, they should do it whole heartedly and offer 3-4 choices for each course within the $35 set price. I really felt that the additional costs for alternate choices was really quite cheesy and “low end”.
We recently hit the Boathouse restaurant at the Westminster Quay, and even that was a cut above "C". The service was excellent, and the food was really good. They aren't even supposed to be up in the the high end dining category! I guess that makes Boathouse a "C" grade compared to WEST and Lumiere, giving a "D" grade to "C" in my books. Considering the price you pay to dine at "C", it does not rate high on my value scale and I don’t think I will be giving it another chance for quite some time. The only redeeming quality at the very end of the evening was the fact that valet did manage to start Steve's car and drive it over to us while the valet at Lumiere struggled and Steve had to drive his own car out of the parkade during that visit.
So in the end WEST is still best, Lumiere is a close second, and "C" is a very distant "C" Grade at best...
Stay tuned for more dining adventures as we hit the Irish Heather Gastro Pub in Vancouver tomorrow night.