Le Crocodile has been in Vancouver for an impressive 26 years and is the result of chef Michel Jacob wanting to create a memorable dinning experience for foodies such as myself. His passion is presented in the form of the traditional plates in a small bistro that calls to mind 1930’s Paris and has catered to various celebrities from Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Jean Chretien and Cindy Crawford (as noted on their website).
However, I didn’t know of the famed guests before making a reservation and what drew me in was the menu. Everyone knows I am a sucker for foie gras, quail, rich butter sauces, fresh seafood and all things French. Oh, and chocolate! At Le Crocodile all these can be found in ways that I had yet to experience…perhaps because I have yet to go to my much dreamed about Paris. But for now Le Crocodile will do.
My sister and I had the night out to ourselves. With her birthday approaching and my having completed university classes we intended to treat ourselves in the form of fine food and champagne. At this time I had come to the conclusion that we would be unable to go to Europe and my long fantasized Paris until 2013, a hard pill to swallow at first. However, at Le Crocodile I had brief moments of being transcended to my imagined Paris. There were many customers speaking french and other languages creating enjoyable linguistic background music.
I imagined a pondering Hemingway sitting in the red bistro seats across from the bar.
I even experienced a slight tinge of snobbery that I hear is to be expected in Paris.
When we were seated I had the feeling that the service was impeccable except for the fact that us young girls weren’t exactly what they were hoping for as customers. Not because we were under 25 but because usually when you’re younger restaurants tend to think that you won’t spend as much and want you out as soon as possible to get the best turnaround. Once the waiter understood that we were serious about food, and paying, our service picked up substantially and we were no longer pressured into putting our order in for dinner before we even had time to look at the appetizers.
|Shrimp and Thyme Tart|
After we placed our order for drinks (a delicious and affordable bottle of sparkling wine called J Cuvee from California) we were served a complimentary tart of baby shrimp and thyme. I still crave this buttery and smooth tart, not at all fishy, and plan to go back for the famed onion tart as recommended by many reviews and is fixed on the menu. However, each day the complimentary tart changes and a delicious alternative can be the mushroom tart.
|Grilled Quail (right) and Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras (left).|
As for appetizers I had to get the grilled quail and pan seared duck foie gras. The portion size was slightly overwhelming and I questioned wether or not I would be able to devour a dinner portion but it seems that I had just enough room for the sauteed dover sole in the most pause-inducing butter sauce. Save bread for dipping! The sole was deboned at our table with precision and I ate everything on my plate with equal precision moping up every drop of sauce.
|Dover Sole & Classic Butter Sauce|
Expect an equally traditional selection for dessert, perhaps even leaning towards slightly boring. We tried the orange creme brulee which was executed perfectly but lacked in stronger orange flavour. The sorbet flavours are just the palate cleanser you’ll need after a rich dinner of foie gras or bone marrow. My favourite special touch that this restaurant offers is the complimentary crocodile shaped chocolates. Guaranteed you’ll find one in your mouth despite how full you may feel.