There has been plenty of advance buzz about Homer St. Cafe and Bar, opening at 898 Homer Street in Vancouver. It is in two buildings, in fact: the Homer building, and the Beasley. The space has had several incarnations in its history, including a dye works and the Smithe Street Coffee Bar, later known as Homer Cafe. Craig Stanghetta collaborated with Scott Landon (who sourced the antiques that fill the space) and the Edison & Sprinkles team to create a design that stays remarkably true to the original roots of the buildings, giving it both a classic French bistro feel while showcasing some lovely contemporary DNA. It is, to say the least, a welcoming space; seating is available on three levels and includes some prime real estate in front of the bar and in front of the bustling kitchen.
And once you are in, seated, and have had the first sip of a wine thoughtfully chosen by sommelier Alex Thornley or a cocktail presented by bar manager JS Dupuis, you can have a variety of fabulous first and second dishes. Executive Chef Marc-André Choquette, who runs the kitchen at Tableau Bar Bistro at the Loden Hotel, and Chef Tret Jordan have conspired to startle and please. Small portions of breaded and fried quail, a lovely pâté, and some great salads are part of the equation. A delicious garganelli pasta, with kale, lemon and chilies, is a must-try.
But the centrepiece of the entire affair is the Rotisol Grande Flamme Olympia Rotisserie, direct from France and the only one of its kind in a Canadian restaurant. Chickens, free-run and organic, are the mainstay, but you can expect lamb and other meats as the restaurant moves forward. Vegetables are pan-roasted at the bottom of the rotisserie, itself an eye-popping chrome and bistro red beauty.
There is a lot to like about Homer St. Cafe and Bar. Proprietor Lilliana De Cotiis, this particular day tending to myriad small details as the kitchen and service staff go through their paces, has assembled a top-end team, and it appears from this seat, and this highly satisfied appetite, that customers will be the benefactors. Good idea to get there early, for lunch or dinner, beginning July 2.
Photos: Rich Lam.