So the other night, I was riding Enzo down Main Street, after an unsuccessful hunt for espe handbags. Thought to myself, “Self, wasn’t the new Andrey Durbach/Chris Stewart restaurant supposed to open one of these days?”
Well, my self was correct, and being as there was an empty parking slot right out front of Cafeteria, I hopped off and popped in to say hello to some of my favourite people in the world. I had a chat, took a look around, saw that there was a spot prawn and salmon sashimi dish and Dungeness crab tortelloni on the menu, and called my Main Distractor to say “Let’s EAT!”
I did stop back home to change out of my scooter togs, but we were back, salivating, in an hour.
It’s called Cafeteria, and there are no tablecloths and no printed menus. The menu is instead on a felt board, easily adjusted to suit the whims of the chef, the market and the season. The “starter” small plates (including soup of the day, a Caesar salad, an asparagus and chorizo dish, and mushrooms á la façon du chef) are largely under $10 (the sashimi dish being a worthwhile exception—the Main Distractor just INHALED that baby), and the “mains” are under $20. Options included chicken schnitzel with spaetzle, pot-au-feu, the Dungeness crab tortelloni which just blew us away, red snapper and a duck breast “steak et frites” that looked like it came with polenta fries.
Wines come in at three price levels: $30, $40 and $50, with some available by the glass, and there is also a specials board for wine, ranging from $35 to $70 a bottle when we were there. There is also beer on tap (Red Racer) and Big Rock cider by the bottle (that’s a good BC alternative to Strongbow, by the way; nice and dry).
The space is clean and bright, with enough room between tables for my large posterior to easily enter and exit the banquette (ahem).
I did enjoy eating at Ping’s, but there’s no comparison. The menu is straightforward, concise, and oh, so Durbach. Not kawaii like Ping’s, but I have a limited tolerance for kawaii in relation to food in any event. Conversely, I appear to have an unlimited appetite for restaurants operated by Chris and Andrey. We’ve missed Parkside dreadfully this past year and l’Altro Buca as well.
Cafeteria is on Main at 11th Avenue; they don’t take reservations. They’ll be serving dinner daily from 5:00 pm. You may very well find me and the MD chowing down OH and I will probably have an espe handbag, since I ordered a couple online this morning and they’ve already shipped
This reads like promo material, doesn’t it?! but I just love it so, I can’t help it.