Sherman's Food Adventures: Au Comptoir

Au Comptoir

There are 3 things that really irk me: bad drivers, rude people and being stood up.  Well, the first 2 cannot really be avoided in the GVRD.  However, I could not avoid being stood up when Choobee texted that she could not accompanying me on my visit to Kilimanjaro for the Curry Challenge.  For that, the only way I was going to forgive her was to be treated to a good meal.  When she suggested Au Comptoir, I was all ready to forgive and forget.  When she asked if JoJo could tag along, I was game - that meant more food!

Since the place doesn't take reservations, we ended up waiting for nearly an hour and half for a table to open up.  I thought our server was efficient and friendly though (he kept checking in on us as we waited).  As for the food, we didn't find the appetizers overly interesting, so we only ended up with one being the Oeufs Meurette.  Consisting of runny free range eggs, shallot red wine sauce, bacon and black truffle baked in a mini-skillet, this was a pleasant way to start the meal.  I personally love runny eggs, so this was nicely executed.  However, we felt the flavours were not very pronounced (even with the crispy bacon and shaved truffle).  Underneath, the shallot red wine sauce ate like a under-seasoned onion soup.  We also got a side of Frites which were fresh cut and fried until lightly crispy.  Properly seasoned, there was a good amount of potato goodness left in them.

We ended up ordering 4 entrees to make up for the lack of appetizers starting with the Bavette avec Pommes Dauphines (skirt steak, pommes dauphines and shallot-red wine sauce).  We asked for medium-rare and the steak was closer to medium.  Yet, it was still plenty tender with a meaty chew.  We didn't get a whole lot of flavour though in terms of meat nor the sauce. It was essentially a mirror image of the sauce in our appetizer.  We absolutely loved the pommes dauphines though as they were crispy while soft and plenty seasoned on the inside.  Next up, we tried the Magret de Canard a L’Orange consisting of duck breast, fennel puree, endive, orange pieces and potato fondant.  We thought the duck was tender and moist, yet sliced a bit too thick.  Furthermore, the skin was not rendered enough nor crispy.  Interestingly, the rich-hued sauce on the plate was ineffective in offering up any impactful flavours.

Onto the Faisan Roti et Son Pithivier (roasted pheasant, chestnut pithivier and coffee-roasted carrots), the star of the plate was the pithivier by far.  This little flaky pastry was filled with pheasant dark meat and chestnut.  The filling was moist, meaty and surprisingly not overly heavy.  It was well-seasoned where the natural flavours really came through.  As for the white meat, it was sufficiently moist with some parts of the skin being crispy.  Once again, the sauce was not doing much other than sitting there.  We felt the pheasant was seriously underseasoned.  On the other hand, the Saumon A L’Unilateral  (unilateral salmon, tagliatelle and tarragon beurre blanc) was bang on with all of its components.  With crispy skin, the salmon was flaky and moist while the toothsome tagliatelle was bathed in a rich flavourful beurre blanc that caressed each noodle.  Despite this dish, all the other proteins were universally under-seasoned (which was a shame because that could've made some of the dishes).  Overall, the food wasn't bad, but the place needs a bit of time to iron out some of the finer details.

The Good:
- Decently executed proteins and sides (especially for a packed-house)
- Although hurried, the service was decent for us
- Lively atmosphere

The Bad:
- Under-seasoned proteins almost across the board
- Food expedition was slow (packed-house though)
- A bit loud for some

Au Comptoir on Urbanspoon