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Earl's Yaletown – Vancouver, BC

October 22nd, 2009 · No Comments

Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC Earl's Yaletown - Vancouver, BC
Two words: beautiful mediocrity. I think that pretty much sums up Earl’s in Yaletown, and perhaps most of the Earl’s restaurants these days.

Wednesday night, M is in town – up for drinks? Sure, why not. We meet in the middle at Earl’s in Yaletown – easy to get to, the place is huge, lots of seats inside. This restaurant is one of the nicest, most trendy, most modern brick-and-polished glass places I’ve ever been. Inside is actually really nice – the lights are a bit dim, but it’s comfortable, and has an appealing mix of modern and rustic (Yaletown is an old warehouse district full of brick buildings with exposed wood beams). It’s actually a bit of a shame that at such a great location in Yaletown, so much money has been spent on building a beautiful restaurant whose food doesn’t live up to the promise of its looks.

The main floor is busy, and the captain offers us a terrible table next to a giant post, so we head upstairs to the ‘seat yourself’ area where it’s more of a lounge with big banquettes, a bar to sit around, and more dim lighting. We’re served almost immediately by one of the “beautiful young things”(tm) that Earl’s and the Cactus Club, Joey’s, and Milestone’s all hire – pleasant, beautiful young women in tightly-fitting black cocktail dresses. She does her job admirably all night long (we’re pretty easy to please), never misses a step, and is super-attentive.

We’ve been here so we know the drill. A couple of beers – M orders the Albino Rhino dark; I order a Hoegaarden (and am immediately corrected (incorrectly) on my pronunciation of the name by my waitress). M is veg and has already eaten, but is training for a huge marathon coming up in a couple of weeks, so he orders the Rosemary oregano pan bread; I have just woken up (night shift) so order the roasted chicken quesadilla, and am offered fries, salad, or ‘half-and-half’. I go with the half-and-half, being in that kind of a mood these days – half healthy, half-who-gives-a-damn.

The food arrives in less than 10 minutes (almost a bad sign). The pan bread is fine – basically, warmed, oily, tasty foccacia, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar of low-moderate quality. My quesadilla arrives – the salad looks great, the fries are limp and lukewarm and have obviously been sitting under a heat lamp for some time now. M tears away slowly at the bread, I dig in. The quesadilla has almost no flavour; the fries are so bad that I eat about 4 of them before stopping, perhaps a new record. The salad is actually not bad, with chevre, pecans, and rocket – tasty and fresh, not bad at all.

After dinner – two more beers – a Keith’s white (surprisingly good for a ‘big-brewery’ Canadian beer) and another Albino Rhino for M. The bill comes, $47.50 or so for 4 beers and essentially an appertizer and a main.

I don’t know what to say. Oh wait – yes I do. Don’t go here if you want great food or reasonable prices. Go here if you want some place in Yaletown with predictable food – the chicken quesadilla here is exactly the same as the one at the Earl’s on Broadway, or the Earl’s on Hornby Street. The food is cheap, the booze is relatively over-priced, and the servers are beautiful and friendly. Probably what you want if you’re heading out with a bunch of guys who pretend when they’re all together that they don’t care what they eat or drink. But really, this gets back to the argument that we all work too hard for our money, and our time on this blue-green orb is too short to waste time with mediocrity like this. A place to eat and drink, yes, but not a place for any Bon Vivant. For less money, in less of a trendy location, you can get spectacular food, food that will change your life (Kintaro ramen), food that will be more fun (Guu with Garlic), or just delicious, fresh, natural food that will make you happy (Rodney’s Oyster House). You can basically always do better than Earl’s.

Earl’s Yaletown
1095 Mainland St
Vancouver, BC V6B 5P9, Canada
Tel: (604) 688-4990

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Tags: Vancouver · Western Food

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