CULINARY BASE-JUMPING AT L’ABUSE

by Geoff Olson

“Vancouver restaurant owners are mounting a call for more courtesy from customers, citing an increasing number of people making reservations, but then not showing up.” – CBC News

Greetings! Welcome to L’Abuse on Cambie. You’ve had this coming for a long time, Vancouverite: an exclusive restaurant that pairs world-class cooking with extraordinarily abusive service.

Allow us to explain. L’Abuse on Cambie is more than a high-end dining destination: it’s an existential dare with a wine cellar. Just as there is no gain without pain, there is no grain-fed Angus beef or foie gras without some distress, starting with the cow and goose. We’re just paying it forward. To you, the notorious breaker of dinner reservations in Vancouver.

This is our credo: the volatile chef, condescending waiter, and snooty sommelier shouldn’t be dismissed as New Yorker cartoon clichés, but celebrated as rich, real-life embodiments of the Basil Fawlty archetype.

Survivors of natural and unnatural disasters often find themselves transformed for the better. We think personal-growth-through-trauma fits nicely with fine dining. We call it “sado-mastication.”

Do we detect a note of skepticism? Perhaps you’re working at a job you hate, just to subsidize a place so small your area rug is a welcome mat. At the end of the day do you really want to tackle the city’s infamously congested streets just to partake in an expensive meal in an unsafe space?

Yes you do, you insufferable little twerp. And don’t mistake us for a breakfast café offering a daisy chain of double entrendres from comically bitchy gay waiters. All our servers, both straight and LGBLT (Lesbian Gay Bacon Lettuce Tomato), are schooled in both the Marquis de Sade School of Improv and the Myers-Briggs personality test. An initially cheery exchange over the menu will kick off your psychological profiling. Once we have identified the chinks in your character armour, we will pour hot coffee into them – figuratively speaking.

You and your dinner companion(s) will be emotionally deconstructed during a fabulous full course dinner. We will respect your boundaries – at least up until dessert, when the gloves really come off. (Our servers are expert at mixed martial arts and declassified RCMP interrogation techniques.)

If this does not sound like your cup of yerba mate, by all means trundle off to another surprise-free meal at Chambar or Le Crocodile. Pick away at your predictable fusion cuisine while secretly wishing you had cancelled your reservation, or just not shown up. Another missed opportunity: you could have been culinary BASE jumping at L’Abuse!

Still have doubts? Why would any sane foodie sign up for a restaurant initiation that begins with a slap on the face from the hostess, you ask? Surely not just for the meals, even if the entrées are extraordinarily sophisticated, impressively priced, and creatively presented with a sprig of something newly discovered by ethnobotanists!

Truth be told, it’s all about status. Fine dining always comes with a side dish of snobbery, n’est pas? This is your chance to prove to yourself and others you’ve got the right stuffing. All but the bravest foodies will flee to CinCin when they discover L’Abuse’s rough-hewn tables (made out of old growth wood recovered from demolished Vancouver heritage homes) can be bolted upright as après–smackdown stockades.

That said, here at L’abuse we respect the safety and security of all patrons. Before reserving a table, you and your dinner companions must fill out an online application form and supply a urine sample by post. Once approved, your party will be required to sign waivers at the door.

Will our in-your-face, on-your-lap dining experience make you or break you? Will we honour your food sensitivity or allergy? Is that a fly in the gazpacho? Are we really playing a Kenny G/Kraftwerk mashup over Marshall amps? What’s with the ammonia smell from the lukewarm Chardonnay?

All lingering questions will vanish from your mind during a kitchen tour featuring our iconic Trial by Grease Fire™, which includes a complimentary Mojito and gauze wrap.

L’Abuse looks forward to giving you the business, but please note: the waiting list now extends into 2018 for our five-scar restaurant. So if you’re a no-show next year, you only have yourself to flambe. Worm.

The Vancouver Courier, Feb. 23

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