Considering the grocery store product signs are in both English and French and we hear so much French being spoken it sort of makes sense that we'd be able to find a French restaurant in Vancouver. I know that Quebec is not France but still it seems that the odds are greater than in Seattle where people still think the French hate them. So in our wandering the streets of Vancouver we kept our eyes peeled for French restaurants and found one that looked good - The Hermitage on Robson. Hermitage's chef (and owner) trained for eight years in France and also trained as a Pastry Chef and a Butcher prior to serving as the private chef to the King Leopold of Belgium. He has worked at some of the finest 3 star Michelin restaurants in Europe and then went on to be the executive chef at some of the best hotels in Europe, the United States, and Canada. In 1985 Hervé Martin came to Vancouver to open the Pan Pacific Hotel after which he decided to open his own restaurant - the Hermitage. We chose this restaurant not based on their self-promotion but rather in the same way that we choose any French restaurant - on their variety of duck offerings! The clincher was the seared foie gras, caramelized pear on toasted buttered brioche which by the way was fabulous. My Mom had froi gras for the very first time and now understands our fascination with it. The duck's psychological well being be damned, it's good.
I also ate as my main dish duck breast with pears and roasted potatoes millefeuille in a pear William reduction. They asked me if I wanted it cooked to medium (which would ruin it) so I responded how I do in France - "I want it pink". They didn't do too bad but it was still cooked a bit too much and only showed a bit of pink. Duck breast is best when the whole interior of the meat is pink without a shade of gray. The sauce was good and the potatoes millefeuille were excellent. The asparagus stayed on my plate though.
Piper had mussels in a wine sauce which she didn't like at first because of the flavor of the wine. In Paris they're basically straight up with butter and lemon. No need to get fancy when the basic food is fine by itself.
My mother had duck confit raviolis with a Madeira sauce which was oddly different but very nice nonetheless. I'm not sure she was sold on them but I liked it as did Natalya.
The service was excellent an our waiter was from Paris so he had an authentic Parisen accent as apposed to the harsher Quebecian accent of the other waiters. The environment was also very nice and even though we were drastically underdressed we were treated well and nobody batted an eyelash at my Babylon 5 t-shirt. My one complaint is this sort of food costs a great deal more to eat here than in Paris. Our meal for 5 (with two eating appetizers in place of their main dish) it cost us $175. If our party of 5 were to eat here once a month for a year it would cost enough over eating at our favorite restaurant in Paris to buy one round trip ticket to France. I think overall each dish cost about 50% more than it would in Paris (factoring in current exchange rate). Should French food cost more here than in France? I don't think so but it does. But then Mexican costs more than in Mexico, Italian costs more than in Italy and just about every other type costs more than in it's home country.
A word of advice, if you plan on going to The Hermitage you should have the Froie Gras and you can eat off the Appetizers menu because they're nice sized plates. If you want to drop the $30 then order the Duck Breasts and make sure they understand to cook it as they would in France - pink everywhere.