The cart features a small menu with a Mediterranean-by-way-of-France focus, run by Brittany-native Mathieu Gicquel, whose schizophrenic resume includes a stint as former chef at So.Cial at Le Magasin. He’s the quintessential charmer, affable and a pleasure to talk to, perhaps particularly so given his dearth of customers.
The blistering sun provides no good incentive to have a hot bowl of beef bourguignon ($11). That will hopefully give the stew a bit of time to simmer: it’s not bad, but could use a deeper touch, especially for the accompanying potatoes, which are presumably roasted separately and don’t particularly taste of anything. A similar problem besets the Moroccan stew ($10.20), a chicken, apricot, chickpea concoction that would undoubtedly have been better served in its traditional tagine. Pick the ratatouille ($9.50) instead, which fares the best out of the three. It’s all comforting, though, and with a little tweaking, each could likely be what keeps Ze Bite going through the colder months (the bane of each food cart’s existence).
Until then, Gicquel offers two different sandwiches: a pulled pork ($9.50), which no food establishment in town seems to be able to escape from, and the Provencal ($9). The latter is a nice summer touch: as the name suggests, roasted vegetables (particularly peppers) feature well here, served with sundried tomatoes, an olive tapanade and goat cheese. One only wishes, though, that Gicquel could’ve brought in better bread for an even better taste of France (that is no slight against Ze Bite: it is no exaggeration that the average loaf there exists on a higher plane of existence than most everything available here).
But that limited offering might not be quite enough for Ze Bite to get by: as compelling as Giquel is, he is no match against the long-awaited summer weather. Stews, good or great, will be a hard sell. Best hope that they make it to fall, when the ensuing rain will make that decision less of a conundrum.
Cordova Street at Burrard (Tuesday through Thursday, 11pm to 3pm)
604 992 7030