Saturday, September 29, 2007

Restaurant review - The Cascade Room

As a Main Street area resident (no, I'm not one of those "Main hipsters" as people have tended to call them), I enjoy enormously hanging out around my neighborhood. It is what people have termed "a vibrant community". And I am about to rave about a newly opened restaurant: The Cascade Room. I went for brunch many times to the restaurant that used to be in this location, the Main Street Cafe (where the brunch was cheap and nice) but that closed I think by the end of last year. Good thing I took my Mom and brother there before it closed.

The re-incarnation of this space is now a posh, stylish, sophisticated and spacious restaurant-lounge called "The Cascade Room" (their menus will tell you why, and I really appreciated the history lesson, as I have always been interested in the historical development of Mount Pleasant).

Since I had been trying to get to this place, C and B and J agreed to come down to my neck of the woods for dinner. Now, bad decision to come on a Friday night at 8 pm. This place was PACKED. I noticed that while the place is stylish and the decor is posh, I didn't feel that the staff were pretentious at all. Granted, you could see dozens of customers who looked sort of Yaletowners, which is a little funny considering that Main Street (South Main or Mount Pleasant) is considered more of an artsy, eclectic mix. When we got there I felt like I had just switched neighborhoods completely and entered a Yaletown restaurant. However, my opinion changed quickly as I got a very enjoyable experience at The Cascade Room.

Their dinner menu is very good, with great variety, from pasta dishes to excellent burgers. The portions are generous, and the presentation for each dish is superb. I had a Cascade burger with salad, which was really tasty. The salad wasn't drenched in dressing, and the burger was very well prepared (on foccacia bread, which was a bit weird but I really appreciated the flavors). Water refills were extremely prompt.

Our waitress was unbelievably sweet, and at one point she said "my only concern is that you guys have a great time". I mean, good service can't get much better than that!!! The hostess was extremely sweet as well, particularly since I came with C, B and J and we waited for over an hour for a table for four. The service was outstanding. While we waited for our table, I paid attention to the waitresses and waiters. They were like, on the ball! Literally, it was hard to believe they had been going at it since 5 pm (one of the main guys at The Cascade Room, who had an interesting accent which I can't place, may be a Londoner or an Aussie, told us that they had filled by 5.30pm). But you really couldn't tell because the level of service was top-notch.

I walked by the kitchen on my way to the restrooms (these restrooms are very well maintained by the way), and I saw the kitchen staff providing the servers with the food orders, and I didn't hear anybody yelling or notice any bad moods. I would think that The Cascade Room really paid a lot of attention when they chose their kitchen staff and their main-floor staff (hostess, waiters and waitresses, bartenders) because everybody exuded a strong positive vibe.

My experience with The Cascade Room was nothing short of excellent, the food was great and the service was unparalleled. Of course, it helps to be hanging out with B, C and J since they are the funniest people you can get. After dinner we came back for a coffee and some puppy loving (they also loved the puppy I am dog-sitting). And we agreed that we are going to come back for more. The drinks look totally delicious (I saw a mojito from afar and I thought it looked very tasty). But next time we'll probably head down there at 5 pm or on a Tuesday afternoon.

Honestly, I do hope that The Cascade Room keeps this level of good service. It would be a pity if their top-notch food, drinks and service were ephemeral. I sort of doubt it, though. As I mentioned before, by the time we were eating (9pm) the staff should have looked sort of exhausted with a fully packed house all evening long and they were friendly, cheerful, fast and prompt. So I have high hopes for the future of The Cascade Room.

PS - I think the owner of The Cascade Room also owns Habit, right next door. I am not very much of a tapas guy, but I'll try Habit perhaps for just a dessert and coffee. Will tell you what I think of it later.

Cascade Room in Vancouver

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