By Tana Kosiyabong
Inspired by last week’s result, I decided to explore other walking routes between my condo and the office. And lucky was on my side once again. Earlier this week, I stumbled upon another cafe/restaurant called Cafe Des Arts on my way home. The menu on the front exterior looked very promising. Most of the daily special menu items were under $7. The Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew – No. 9 on the menu) had caught my eyes. It sounded so intriguing I wish I could declare the Cheap Appetite Mission right then and there. Unfortunately, the restaurant has already closed at 5pm. So I made a mental note to come back tomorrow for lunch.
The next morning, I was eager to start a new Cheap Appetite mission at Cafe Des Arts. On my lunch break, I headed to Cafe Des Arts situated on the edge of Yaletown, less than 10-minute walk from my office. As I walked inside, the restaurant was crowded but there were still a few empty tables available. I wasted no time to order the Bò Kho with Bun ($6.99). According to the menu, you can also substitute the bun with noodles at no extra charge.
Then I went to sit at a small table near a window and started to look around the cafe/restaurant. Cafe Des Arts interior was eclectic, funky and some what clutter in some corners. The impressive big blackboard wall featured quirky chalk illustrations which set the tone of the entire place. The leather chairs underneath looked so cozy I could imagine myself curled up on them with a cup of hot coffee and a good book for hours. Unfortunately, the opposite side was cluttered with a big freezer and a computer desk.
About ten minutes later, the Vietnamese Beef Stew Bò Kho was served with a French baguette. For under $7, I didn’t expect to see the bowl of that large. The Vietnamese beef stew had me at first bite. It was scrumptious and lighter than the Western stew. The dish struck a beautiful balance between East and West. It got the natural sweetness from the beef broth, onion and daikon radish, the tartness from tomatoes and a good kung-fu kick from chili pepper. Cilantro and lemongrass also added more depth to the overall flavor profile. The beef and daikon radish were soft and almost fell apart on my tongue. I felt as if there were a flavor reunion party inside my mouth. The 9-inch French baguette was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It was a perfect complement to the spicy stew. I will definitely go back to try this dish with the noodles next. All in all, this mission was a great success.
Cafe Des Arts Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bò Kho): ©©©©1/3
NOTE: Cafe Des Arts also offers a Hungarian beef stew called Goulash on the menu. To avoid confusion, make sure you specifically ask for the “Vietnamese” beef stew.
NOTE2: I just went back for the Vietnamese beef stew with noodles today (March 28, 2011). I must say that I prefer the dish with French Baguette more. So weird. I normally love noodles. Also, there were a lot of carrots and beef but only a piece of daikon in my bowl.
Cafe Des Arts is located at 863 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2M6 (T) 604.669.2189
Cafe Des Arts Daily Special Menu and Business Hours:
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