The Corner Suite Bistro is the restaurant child of Andre McGillvray (Lumiere, Chambar, Le Crocodile, Boneta) and Steve Da Cruz (The Whip, Chill Winston, Boneta, Gastropod). With Jason Liezert (who formerly ran Niche in Victoria) stepping in as their executive chef, after Anthony Sedlak (host of Food Network’s The Main) left just days before opening in February. Located in the former Saveur location on the corner of Thurlow, where Smithe turns into Haro, it is a fairly sizeable french bistro renovated in black, with chandeliers and turquoise chairs as room accents. The room is open, with a raised 32-foot long stainless steel bar area along the back wall, dark wood tables and tufted leather booths; the atmosphere is warm and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable (we asked a lot of questions about the menu that night, I always like to know what the staff favourites or popular menu items are). My only decor qualms are that I can't say that I love the choice of turquoise, and that the windows need some sort of coverings, they seem a bit stark and cold, not to mention that my friend was blinded by car lights as cars made their way down Smithe.
When seated, our server brought us each a cheesy, pastry-like puff; a tasty bite, and always fun to be offered something to nibble on. Next up, drinks. Searching through the binder (no joke) of drinks is a bit much. There are literally six pages of cocktails, not to mention the pages that cover their other drinks. It's too much, it would take too long to read if you were on the lookout for a new drink to try. I ended up asking the waitress, and she recommended the Russian Mule (I think that's what it was called): vodka, ginger beer, lemon, and mint, I believe; it was refreshing. My friend opted for wine. Foodwise, we decided to share the bacon & onion alsatian tart, sweetbreads, apple & fennel salad ($16, requested without sweetbreads), and I started with the DNEgg, a perfectly hard-boiled egg, truffle-buttered toast soldiers, bacon jam ($3), followed by the chicken liver pate, buttermilk toast, fig compote ($12), while my friend chose to have the mussels & fries, white wine, lemon, butter ($18). They also have a pretty extensive cheese menu. The server brought us bread with paprika olive butter to start. I appreciate it when restaurants make an effort with their bread and butter, whether it's a variety of bread or in this case, an enhanced butter; very nice.
The DNEgg was a letdown, I don't really know what I was expecting…maybe it was the "truffle-buttered toast soldiers" that sold me, or the fact that they even had such a unique item on their menu to order. The egg was hard to peel (isn't that part of being a perfectly hard-boiled egg? don't you just need to place it in cold water after boiling it so that the shell comes off easier later?), and there was only one toast soldier (there should be at least two, if not three; it's just bread), but the bacon jam was tasty, but so is anything with bacon. Not an item I would suggest ordering, unless you were really craving a hard boiled egg and toast for brunch. The bacon & onion alsatian tart made up for the DNEgg; fresh tasting, with a flaky, yet firm crust and a nice onion sweetened, yet salty, flavour to the filling. The chicken liver pate was nice and I really enjoyed the fig compote, which was a nice flavour contrast, texture compliment to the pate. Their choice of bisquits (and not the buttermilk toast as listed, although they could have been buttermilk bisquits) was a bit surprising, tasty, but bisquits in general make sort of a strange match for pate. I ate a lot of bread that night. My friend really enjoyed the mussels, saying they were comparable to Chambar's. In fact, she enjoyed the white wine, lemon, butter sauce so much that she finished it with her spoon; I dipped some bread (what else) into the sauce and will admit it was quite savoury and delicious.
For dessert, we split the flourless chocolate torte ($8), which was actually really nice, and not too rich (forgive the messy photo, we were excited about it and dove in before remembering). And they didn't charge us for it, which was sweet of them. And to finish, they bring every table a plate of mini meringues, another nice touch (the waitress mentioned they used to hand them out in little cello bags, which would be a nice takeaway given how full we were at that point).
Overall, it was a nice dining experience. I'm not rushing to go back, but should the occasion occur, I would eat there again.
The only other note we both had was that the bathroom was a) really, really warm, b) had different music playing than in the restaurant and c) was playing the music at a really high volume.
The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe
850 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC
Phone: 604 569 3415