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Are you Brave Enough? Dinner at the Brave Bull, Vancouver


Posted by : Anonymous, Fri, Jan 18 2008

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The Brave Bull's House of Steaks has been standing on the busy corner of East Hastings and Clark Drive for 22 years but it seems like it's been there forever. For me it's one of those infamous places that I've driven by with a bit of rubber-necking and curiosity. I didn't know anyone who had eaten there nor had I ever seen anyone go into or out of the place. When friends would mention the place, it always garnered laughs because it was just one of those places that seemed a little bit too sketchy to actually consider visiting. But I was curious about The Brave Bull, so I got brave, gathered some back-up and decided to head there for dinner.

From the outside the restaurant looks seedy and dingy. Giant signs note the specials that haven't changed in years: $8.95 Roast Prime Rib of Beef Dinner with Soup or Salad + GST! $8.95 Top Sirloin Steak with Soup or Salad + GST!

But inside, the restaurant looks well loved and well preserved. The décor is definitely vintage with lots of large tropical plants, Spanish wall hangings, vinyl tablecloths and silk flowers on every table. Well worn, yes, but the restaurant is clean and is not without its charm.

We were shown to our table by an elderly Chinese woman who acted as server, bartender, busser and actually owns the joint. She pointed to all the framed restaurant reviews on the wall from local papers, and told us that sometimes it gets so busy in here that she has to lock the door because she can't handle all the customers. She also pointed to the No Smoking signs that dotted the restaurant and said that the smoking ban in Vancouver killed a lot of her business since most of her customers were longshoremen and truckers who did a whole lot of smoking. The night we were there we were one of only a few occupied tables, but she assured us that the food was good that night.

After our drinks arrived, we all ordered the specials and when my husband Cornelius ordered his steak well done, the old lady laughed and gave him a bit of chiding. Schooled, he changed his steak to medium-well. My prime rib special arrived covered in gravy on a metal platter. The baked potato came with sour cream and simulated bacon bits and a couple springs of over-done vegetables added a bit of colour to the plate. It wasn't the best steak I've eaten, but with the soup and garlic bread, the meal was a good value.

When we were done, the proprietor came back to check up on us, asking if our steaks were "good enough". We assured her they were. She also asked us if we had eaten at The Keg. She doesn't like The Keg and told us the steaks there are too spicy and you can't taste the meat. "Don't go there!" was her warning.

We may or may not heed her advice about The Keg, but for the Brave Bull's House of Steaks, I think we'll be back. 

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The Brave Bull House of Steaks
1298 East Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC
(604) 253-4728

Jeannette Ordas is a Vancouver-based Web Designer and Food Blogger who is probably right now thinking about what she'll make for dinner. 


Posted: Fri, Jan 18 2008 by Anonymous

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