Who knew that a French Bistro – and a busy one at that so make reservations – would end up in an unassuming corner of 15th and the Kingsway. Les Faux Bourgeois definitely met our expectations even with all the hype. Set in a retro 60s type of decor – think teak-like wood panelling and old-timey brass sconces with long benches – this East Van restaurant is buzzing. It was packed at 6:30pm on a Sunday and deservedly so.
The food is comfort french food – served in generous portions and at a reasonable price. We started with appetizers of the Mt Pleasant picnic (plate of charcuterie), tarte flambee alsacienne (think french-style pizza but more interesting), and the pate de campagne. We shared the 3 appetizers among 4 people but really we could have shared just one. In particular, the charcuterie plate ad the pate de campagne were quite large. The tarte flambee alsacienne was much smaller although piled high with deliciousness caramelized onions and meat. As for mains, in order of preference, the lamb cheeks with apricot and couscous (tender chunks of lamb topped with apricot and served with couscous), steak frites (hangar steak done appropriately rare with a pile of fries and a side of aioli), pork tenderloin with spicy sausage and mashed potatoes (the daily special which basically sold out by 7pm) and finally the duck confit with potatoes ( the duck was tender enough but I felt the whole thing was underseasoned). We would have tried dessert but we were too full.
There is a reasonable wine list with several wines by the glass and many bottles in the $30-50 range. Several beers are also available on tap and by the bottle. If you want to try a french aperitif that we like – get a glass of Lillet blanc on the rocks garnished with orange is a nice way to start off the meal.
Service was excellent. It is refreshing to be offered table water right off the bat rather than always being upsold to sparkling or bottled watter. Water glasses were replenished often and the bread basket was kept full the entire meal. Food arrived at the table promptly – this is a restaurant that knows how to turn over tables.
Les Faux Bourgeois
663 15th Avenue East
Cost: reasonable – $150 for dinner for 4 with 3 appetizers, 4 mains and 3 drinks