Restaurant review – The Brave Bull (East Hastings & Clark)
By now, if you’ve been following Karen’s blog (Tiny Bites) and my blog, you’ll know that Buzz Bishop issued a challenge to us last week – “review The Brave Bull, and demonstrate that you’re not just reviewing only the high-end establishments“. We both bravely accepted (my response – Karen’s response) and I actually found it kind of funny as the restaurant is called “The Brave Bull”. That’s how SteakCamp came to be.
I arrived slightly after 6 pm, as the bus was running late (a guy I bumped into the bus, Martin Rotschild, told me that the evening was going to be better than I expected – and I have to say, that was TOTALLY TRUE). Tom brought along Ryland, Lisa, Candace, Corey. Karen brought Kurt (aka Mr. Tiny Bites) and we were also joined by Steve, Karl and Ryan. I am sure you’ll be seeing lots of Flickr photos around!
Since I knew that the establishment was going to be run only by the elderly Chinese lady who is one of the co-owners, I had already indicated that we should expect slow service. We got there at 6 pm. We finished at 9.20pm. It was a long but awesome affair. The food took long (as expected), and so did the drinks, but everyone seemed to have had a great time.
I ordered a beef and barley soup but with the fact that we had brought an 11 people table, the owner scrambled to manage all of our orders. However, at all times, there was a really sweet and strong feeling of “being home”. For all the negative comments and bad reputation that this area tends to have, people have seriously underestimated The Brave Bull. True, the exterior doesn’t look particularly appealing. True, the fare isn’t upscale. But if you just want a steak and baked potato, for what it is, it’s a good one. I gave it an 8 out of 10.
Remember, this is NOT an upscale establishment. This is a Mom-and-Pop kind of small joint. Nevertheless, I did like it. We all finished our soups really quickly (and although I had to switch my beef and barley soup for clam chowder, I was quite alright). The steak I ordered was well cooked, simply because I don’t like medium rare, or rare, or medium well when I don’t eat in Mexico. I am a lover of Argentinian meat and thus it’s kind of hard to have me have a steak in Vancouver. Nevertheless, I finished EVERY BIT.
The lady owner was EXTREMELY sweet and accomodating to our every need and request. Truth be told, with a group this size, she was always very honest and said “the service is going to be slow”. True, I also had to distribute napkins and cutlery, but I had absolutely no problems and on the contrary, I had a wonderful time with all these folks. And I got to do some geeky talk too
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who showed up, especially Karen and her husband.Thanks also to Rastin and Rebecca for their support. And thanks to everyone who showed up. As I told you guys at the table, my whole intention in answering the challenge was to bring some good business to this elderly couple, to clear some of the bad reputation (which to be quite honest, seems not to be warranted, because CLEARLY this place has patrons that understand very well the way The Brave Bull works – I counted at least 15 different people who were there having for dinner at various times throughout the night – so, for the size of the establishment, that’s not a bad outcome), and to just have fun and create community.
I think I succeeded in my attempt, and I didn’t do it alone – all of the participants in SteakCamp at all times helped me (particularly Karen being such a good sport – sorry to have dragged you into this!). When I went to pay the lady and she counted the money, her eyes widened and said “are you sure you’re leaving THAT tip?”. I just smiled back and said “yes I am sure”. Whatever price I paid for that meal (which yes, was about $12 dollars), and however complicated it was to organize this SteakCamp, her smile back to me was worth every single penny I paid and much more.