Among Davie Village’s most beloved restaurants virtually since the day it opened in 2009—and one of the few serious dining rooms in a neighbourhood rife with pizza slices and budget sushi—La Brasserie shuttered in August of last year following a sudden and precipitous plunge in quality. Sitting abandoned and seemingly doomed throughout autumn and winter, it bloomed again in April, after being handed over to a new proprietor, one William Wang.
Wang, who has no history in restaurants, has humbly—and wisely—not tried to toy with what made La Brasserie an enduring success. Longtime chef Kai Sengwitz is leading the open kitchen once again, and the menu of hearty Franco-German fare is more or less unchanged from its glory days. Consequently, the 35-seat room (which leaves enough room between tables to facilitate intimate chatter) fills up early most nights. Bistro staples—French onion soup, rotisserie chicken, frites of both the moules and steak varieties—are consistently good, but steak tartare would benefit from a touch more seasoning, while mushroom ragout with spätzle needs its salt content to be reduced by half. Staff strike the perfect balance between polished and nonchalant, always only too happy to recommend the wine (mostly French) or beer (German and local) that would best complement your meal. As the sun sets and Davie begins to darken, you might feel compelled to linger for a second or third glass.