Primal Dining at Pied-â-Terre

March 1, 2011


Pied-â-Terre is a small, neighbourhood French bistro on Cambie St. in Vancouver. Their website says, “they choose to rejoice in simplicity served well.”. I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time, and even more so since hearing that Vikram Vij and his wife Meeru, owners of Vij’s Restaurant dine there frequently with their family. Mark Bittman from the New York Times, said that Vij’s is “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” Having enjoyed their delicious lamb popsicles, both at the restaurant and from Vij’s cookbook, my expectations were high. I wasn’t disappointed.

The Experience

First of all, I loved how intimate the restaurant felt. It only seats 30, and the space is small without feeling crowded. The décor is elegant but simple, and there’s no air of pretentiousness. Also, the service was great – attentive and friendly but not intrusive.

Primal Options

I get excited when a restaurant has more than one dish for me to choose from, not counting the chicken (boooring!). I’m even happier when I can minimize substitutions.

Check out these mains:

  • Crisp roast chicken, crushed Jerusalem artichokes, lemon, confit garlic, black pepper sage
  • Lac Brome duck breast, warm salad of duck confit, potato, haricots vert, shiitake mushrooms; sauce Bigarade
  • Roast rack of lamb & navarin of lamb cheeks
  • Medallions of veal, wild mushrooms, pommes Anna
  • Shortrib of beef, red wine braising jus, truffled mashed potato
  • Roast loin and parmentier of red deer, port wine sauce, glazed pear, roquefort

Although I don’t think I could’ve gone wrong with any of those, I typically enjoy trying new things. Sorry, Bambi, you’re up…

And as if the menu options weren’t paleo enough, the specials menu had roasted pork belly, which is what my friend had.


The Wine

We paired our meals with some lovely Pinot Noir (L. Tramier et Fils Roncier). Ok, that’s a bit of an understatement. You see, I have never before really enjoyed a glass of red wine. White I love, but I usually prefer to abstain than to drink red. Which also means I’m on a bit of a mission to track one down that I’ll actually like. This Pinot Noir was very smooth and didn’t have that oakiness and tannin taste that I hate so much. And bonus, upon googling it turns out it’s actually pretty inexpensive ($12.99 US).

The Food

The food was awesome. I was expecting a gamey flavour, which wasn’t the case (although I wouldn’t have minded either way). Deer tastes like beef. It was basically roast loin medallions and a mound of pulled deer shoulder. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything when, by request, they left out the “parmentier” – a potato garnish. And another pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed the roquefort cheese (last time I had blue cheese, it was in a salad, and I thought someone had forgotten to take the Saran wrap off).

I also had the cream of parsnip soup, which was yummy. My friend enjoyed the pork belly, as well as a (very non-paleo) onion tart with endives (“Pithivier of onion, sage and gruyere cheese; apple purée, endive and mustard salad”).


French Cuisine

I generally find French-inspired menus to be more paleo–friendly, although of course there’s always a risk when dining out (vegetable oils, flour in sauces, sugar, etc.). I’d highly recommend this place, and French cuisine in general, for a nice dinner out.

Pied-à-Terre on Urbanspoon

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