Aree Thai poor
Aree has a reputation on another website as some of the best thai food in Vancouver. The past two times I have found the curries to be way too thin, and the last time it was as sweet as a dessert. They've also raised the prices to $12 for a curry, no rice included..I don't see how they will survive. It confounds me why Vancouver can't have good Thai food..it's not like the people running the restaurants aren't Thai.
It's funny (or sad) how many new restaurants in our metro city start out with great promise, fanfare, good to excellent foods combined with good value. Then soon after they start to decline in quality and value. Go thru a few ownership changes, then sometimes tank altogether.
I think part of it is that not many restaurants have both creative, skilled chefs and superior business management. It is damn hard to attract enough clients to produce a profit given rent, ingredient and staff costs so the tendency is to try and cut costs and the usual result is that quality/value suffers.
Clearly, some restaurants have found the balance and produce great food and service at a reasonable cost to the client while remaining profitable. I suspect they are in the minority however.
I risk being thrown food at here (but if you must, throw me some tasty bits). I think our general culture is simply not as competitive than say, the US. We (again, broad strokes here, about service industry) tend to rest on our laurels after initial success and fall back on the "if you build it, they will come" false sense of promise and security. In the US, at least in restaurants, shops, stores etc., my experience is they go out of their way to make you feel served. That initial eye contact and "Hi sir & ma'am" goes a long way in acquiring, and retaining, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Now of course that's more on the customer service end of things. But if we're talking restaurants, whether it's hole-in-wall dives or high zoot establishments, they constantly look for the better angle and re-invent themselves to stay fresh, enticing and relevant. Again, painting BROAD strokes here. But it's surprising, and discouraging, that our city being so diverse and competitive from the eating scene that that environment doesn't breed a more Darwinian, innovative and dare I say even cut-throat approach, to starting and operating restaurants.
[jumping off soapbox .....]
Yup, agreed. My first experience here was great. I got some takeout that had some pretty good flavours. Plus they gave me a dessert to try out on the house. Next time I went it was with a big group and the flavours were way worse, portions tiny and we didn't see the value in coming back.
I'm really enjoying Longtail Kitchen at River Market though.