I'm surprised to see that there is not a thread dedicated to this restaurant so I thought I'd start one.
Finally made it here and am now wondering why I didn't go sooner. For once, a place that exceeds the hype! Everything we had was topnotch in terms of ingredients, presentation and flavour; I tried small bites of a couple of other plates to be sure :-). And the prices are reasonable for what you get. I'm so fed up (pardon the pun) with paying $25 for a lame, uninspired entree at a CFD place. Now I can go to L'ab and pay a buck or two more to get something stellar.
I tried a house-invented Plymouth gin based cocktail called the Gastown Swizzle that started out perfect but became too bitter as the crushed iced melted in (shoulda drunk up faster!). We started with a bread basket that had fancy flatbreads, buns and twists -- one with anchovy baked in for a hit of umami -- all served warm which is such a nice touch.
For an appetizer, I had the warm steelhead salad with crispy potatoes ($14). Every bite was a bit different, delivering nuances of texture and flavour that I still can't figure out -- there were these tiny crunchy black seedy things in the sauce that were just awesome, for example. My main was steak Diane ($28), with two perfectly med rare medallions of filet mignon, crunchy black peppercorn sauce, onion gelee (like mayo with a hint of onion), grilled onions and two triangles of potato fondant. This place deserves an award just for their handling of spuds! There was also a cute little mushroom croquette that lived up to our personable server's billing of the perfect mouthful.
The only (small) quibbles I had were non-food related: clunky metal menus, chairs that you can't hang a purse on, and expensive parking considering the grossness of the surrounding streets you have to walk through (this last of course isn't down to the restaurant). I'll be back.
No photos as it was too dark for my point and shoot.
I paid my first visit to Abbatoir about a month a ago and had the very same meal -- I believe I reported on it. I agree that the restaurant lives up to its billing. Great drinks. The steehead salad was very good, although I found the steak dianne to have been a bit less exciting. I would add that they make their own breads -- all are excellent -- and the dessert that I chose I cannot quite remember what) also was very good.
Been there a half dozen times now and the only time I've been let down was during a Dine Out event. Totally agree on the 'why waste money on boring CFD meals' mentality and I prefer the more contemporary design of the interior so no quibbles there from me.
My all time favourite dish was a crab salad dish they had this past summer. I've also quite enjoyed the scallop dish and the trout dish. Note that they tweak the dishes over time such that the main protein stays the same but the accompaniments change. The bread basket is addictive too.
It feels like the prices have been going up. Still one of my faves though.