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.
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