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Sep 28, 2010 10:01 PM


I was looking fwd to this dinner after reading the positive review in the Globe and Mail (due to the writer referring to veg options being available) but was underwhelmed with regards to the food which i found to be ok. I would like to point out that this experience may be coloured by my being a veg and a meat eater may love it (although the friend/meat eater I dined with said it was ok/good).

I will start with the positive first though. The bar and bartenders are the most amazing part of this place. Loved the "Donald Draper" and a dessert drink I had after dinner (can't recall the name) which was quite boozy for a dessert but I quite enjoyed it-flavors of pineapple even though there was none in it? It was refreshing, strong, and delicious. There was a good vibe about the place. We don't really have that many restaurants with a separate bar like this place has. The bar is down a couple of steps while the main dining area is upstairs. There are some seats behind the kitchen (downstairs by the bar) though. On to the food....
I had the beet soup with dumplings which was interesting. I would give it an ok to good-this might be because I am not partial to beets:). But it was the only thing I could order on the starter menu. I am a vegetarian who eats seafood/eggs and is anaphylactic to lentils, chickpeas, and beans. Well, every menu item had either meat or allergens in it that night and when I asked the server if any of the veg dishes that came with my allergy foods, i.e crab/chickpea dip item on the menu, could be prepared without the chickpeas or beans in the case of another dish on the menu, she said no. She explained that the chef doesn't like to compromise the way the food is prepared so it comes exactly as shown on the menu-"no changes or substitutions." I did not try to ask if any of the meat dishes could be prepared without as I would never do that because it would compromise the dish so the one dish on offer without meat or pulses was the beet soup.
For the main, the fish was sold out, so I had the only thing left: the mushroom turnover. This was a mishmash of barely cooked egg whites, pieces of squash and mushroom with pastry. I would have been ok with it had the egg whites been cooked more but they were so wet they wouldn't hold together-kind of like a foam. I was not a fan of this entree and thought it was an afterthought thrown in as a veg alternative so there would be one on the menu.
In summary, I wouldn't eat here again but would def go for drinks. The bar has a great atmosphere and the drinks are delicious. The service was nice and professional. I especially liked who I think was the Manager. However, for a veg like me, it didn't make sense to go to L'abattoir-never really did but thought I'd take a chance on it. Lesson learned for this diner-always call ahead if you have any allergies:).

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  1. selena, gotta give ya props, girl. A veghead going to a place named after a slaughterhouse. Nice.

    I haven't heard or read anything that is tempting me to rush off and try this place for dinner, and with all of the options in that area for cocktails...

    3 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      I know it was taking a chance:)
      Besides The Diamond and Pourhouse, what else is good for drinks in that area? I am not so familiar with gastown bars.
      The restaurant next to L'abattoir looked like a really friendly joint-I walked in on mistake thinking it was l'abattoir and then realized it wasn't when the gentleman at the front asked if I had a reservation. Does anyone know what that place is called?

      Pourhouse Restaurant
      162 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, CA

      1. re: selena03

        Cork and Fin I believe. Prolly a better choice for to food wise too.

      2. re: grayelf

        Yeah, that's like me going to "Healthy and Clean Eatery!" for supper.

      3. Moral of the story: "However, for a veg like me, it didn't make sense to go to L'abattoir."

        1. I am with Grayelf on this. Based on the hype, I was disappointed with my one visit. Willing to give 'er another visit to see if i went on an off-time. nicely done up space and good service.

          5 Replies
          1. re: betterthanbourdain

            I was there last night and was impressed. Only had one dish (the duck breast), a nice pinot blend and a couple of cocktails (including their signature, Sazerac-inspired Abattoir - complete with the tossing of the glass ritual).

            I've been cynical and disappointed with the new "buzz" restaurants that have opened in the last year in Vancouver, but L'Abattoir was good all around last night. (Monday night seems to be a good time to go - it was about a third full with industry types all around.)

            1. re: fmed

              That duck looks great....I must get over there!

              1. re: waylman

                What are the little round dudes on the plate with the duck??

                1. re: grayelf

                  They are croquettes made from the leg meat.

              2. re: fmed

                I was there tonight and overall enjoyed my meal. A couple of decent cocktails, and then I asked for the chef to surprise me for my food. I ended up getting the pasta w/ mozarella cheese (which was okay) as an appetizer, and the scallops and chicken wings (which I truly enjoyed).

                My friend got the beet soup (which we both enjoyed), and the pork loin and fried pork rib meat (she didn't like because it wasn't cooked as done as she'd like, but which I enjoyed precisely for that reason).

            2. Thought I'd add my 2 cents...fmed & I were debating Boneta & L'Abbitoir as to which is better...kinda except I hadn't been. We went tonight...not me & fmed...girls night

              We had great cocktails down in Gastown @ Pourhouse, L'Abbitoir, Diamond Room, and then we went to our neighbourhood pub to close! I'm going to quickly write this as I work tomorrow...

              I loved the restaurant decor at L'Abbitoir. In fact, my friend is going to copy those mason jar lights that hang down from the ceiling for her bar area...Service was good, drinks were good...I had the "Donald Draper" (I love Mad Men) which was Buffalo Trace, Pineau De Charentes, Abricot de Rouillson, Peychauds bitters, Absinthe...I had no idea what the first 3 ingredients were. It was OK, not great for my taste. We liked our drinks tonight better at Pourhouse where we started....can't remember the names though now. :-)

              We shared appys:

              Dungeness crab and chickpea toast 12
              Toasted brioche, light crab custard, carrot pickles

              Confit of albacore tuna 13
              Smoked pork fat, egg, crispy bits

              I thought both were delicious! I would order these two for my meal next time with a third appy. I had the flank steak & sweetbread entree and I didn't care for it. My steak was rare and chewy and the sweetbread had a nice coating but the texture was not appealing...the coating slipped off while cutting it...I ate it, but was not that happy.

              Dinner for two with 2 appys, 2 mains, 2 cocktails & a cheap bottle of wine ($43) was $200 after tip....we were hungry still...we ate appy's at the bar at the end of the night. I don't like to do that after paying that much for dinner. I like Boneta better. Just my opinion... We're going to do a Gastown run once a month now, but I hope we can shift it to a Friday night... :-)

              Pourhouse Restaurant
              162 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: ck1234

                Sounds like a fun night. I love the Diamond, the bartenders are so nice and knowledgeable. Did you tell your server about not being happy about the entree? Just curious about the reaction if you did:). I agree with you: I like Boneta better too....

                1. re: selena03

                  anyone try boneta's : 32oz Canada Prime Cote de Boeuf For Two?

                  i've only had a sampling of L'abbotoir food. i would rate it and pourhouse inconsistent. there are some gems but some misses too. it is decent to good. L'abottoir(sp?) did an excellent job promoting the opening i must say.
                  all three serves different food and drinks, so it's trickier to compare. i'd prefer to start the drinks at pourhouse first.

                  1. re: selena03

                    The Diamond is my fave for drinks by a very happy we went there after a chowdown or else I probably would have never went or known about it. Now I go often.

                    I didn't tell the server. He was so nice and I ate the plate anyway. There were only 4 thin, round slices of steak just slightly bigger than a loonie. I ate 3, gave one slice to my friend who claimed it was disgusting and I called it a night there and off to the Diamond we went.