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 responseKaren’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.

SteakCamp @ The Brave Bull

SteakCamp @ The Brave Bull

SteakCamp @ The Brave Bull

SteakCamp @ The Brave Bull

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.

Brave Bull's House of Steaks on Urbanspoon

Related posts:

  1. The Red Wagon Café (East Hastings and Nanaimo, East Vancouver)
  2. East Village Bakery (Hastings Sunrise, East Vancouver)
  3. La Casa Gelato (Clark and Venables, East Vancouver)
  4. Restaurant review: Axum (East Hastings and Clark)
  5. SteakCamp 2008 at The Brave Bull – The details ;)

Comments (22)

[...] June 2008: …at all times, there was a really sweet and strong feeling of “being [...]

JennJune 23rd, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I so wish I could have been there. I never would have thought that it would look anything like it does in the pictures. My visions of an east hastings slummy restaurant have been changed.

NaleiJune 23rd, 2008 at 10:52 pm

artwork and christmas light alone were enough to make me want to come back. lovely to see you- next time i should perhaps stay and order!

MarinaJune 23rd, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Awesome! I think one of these days I’m going to have to arrange for dinner there with a few friends, if only to check it out for myself. Thanks for doing this Raul! Awesome! :)

KarenJune 23rd, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Holy cow Raul! What a lightning fast turnaround. My review will take longer but it’ll be up by Wednesday. Really enjoyed your company as well as all of those who attended.

DarioJune 23rd, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Please tell me that second picture is not the steak.

PhaedraJune 23rd, 2008 at 11:46 pm

I always wondered about this place. Great review. Meaty ;)

Tyler IngramJune 24th, 2008 at 6:40 am

Looks like your ‘Meat & Potatoe’ type of place. Served on metal plates? Guess they don’t have an issue with people breaking them too much huh?

The inside looks nice though compared to the outside. Good job though reviewing them.

cyberbuzzmediaJune 24th, 2008 at 6:40 am

Raul, thank you so much for taking up this challenge. You did an excellent job!

I’m so happy to read the place is actually quaint, and kind of cute.

RaulJune 24th, 2008 at 9:16 am

@ Jenn – Wish you had been here too!

@ Nalei – Great to see you darling.

@ Marina – You should! Be forewarned – service = slow but good.

@ Karen – Awesome to share your company!

@ Dario – No, it’s not :-)

@ Phaedra – Yeah, and they have salads too ;)

@ Tyler – It is a “meat and potato” type of place :)

@ Buzz – Thanks! It was fun, and yes, the place is kind of cute. :-)

Mostly LisaJune 24th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

sorry to spoil the party but

i wouldn’t be mostly lisa if i wasn’t contrary.

RaulJune 24th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

@ Mostly Lisa – Spoil the party how? I love contrariness :D

isabella moriJune 24th, 2008 at 4:23 pm

so … did they still have the oysters?

RaulJune 25th, 2008 at 1:32 am

@ Isabella – No, we didn’t think of the oysters. There was a request for scallops, I think – and the portion was really tiny, hehe :-)

[...] social media moment as word spontaneously spread through blogs and Twitter. The reviews are up at and [...]

[...] Raul’s recap of SteakCamp and The Brave Bull [...]

[...] this week, the blogging gang got together for SteakCamp at The Brave Bull. [read Raul and Karen's reviews.] I couldn’t attend as I was at our daycare’s BBQ. It’s one [...]

[...] I can be an agent of change. That’s one of the things I aspire to do. I told this to Tom at SteakCamp, being able to unleash the power of Web 2.0 and help enhance the reputation of a tiny little East [...]

[...] turn-out, more than I expected. Thanks everyone who showed up. My restaurant review of The Brave Bull is here, Karen’s review is here, Buzz’s review on the 24 Hrs is here and link-love on his [...]

[...] I do love 24Hrs, particularly since in the past month, I’ve been covered (twice, with the SteakCamp-Buzz Bishop challenge and a lovely interview that Rebecca was kind enough to invite me to join (for [...]

[...] and, interestingly, printouts collected by her grandson of other blogger visits (check here and here). Hey, she even posed with us for some pictures! Overall, a really gracious, charming host. And the [...]

Brave BullAugust 25th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

**NEWS FLASH ** BRAVE BULL’S HOUSE OF STEAK OWNERS ARE RETIRING. This East Vancouver institution is closing its doors forever .

Linda and Frank are finally RETIRING AFTER 24 YEARS!! Last day for restaurant business is Sunday, September 2, 2012.

SALE STARTS MONDAY – LABOUR DAY SEPT. 3, 2012 — 12:00 NOON to 5:00 PM – SELLING RESTAURANT EQUIPMENT , SUPPLIES, tables, chairs, decorations, utensils, glasses, cups, plates, freezers, AND MORE . Come and check it out.


or JUST DROP BY AND WISH Frank & Linda luck in their GOLDEN YEARS!! They would LOVE TO SEE YOU, TOO.

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