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Croc of the Walk

Rob Feenie takes over a Vancouver institution

In June, 17 years after leaving his groundbreaking Lumière, A-list chef Rob Feenie will once again have his own restaurant. The name says it all — Le Crocodile by Rob Feenie — and it will continue Michel Jacob’s 40-year legacy of superlative hospitality and classic, elevated Alsatian cuisine.

“I’ve rewritten the menu some six, seven times,” says Feenie, who worked at Le Crocodile for four years before opening Lumière in 1995. 

It’ll be Alsatian French with a contemporary side. The essence of Le Crocodile will be there, but it’ll be my version, with some Lumière standards.”

Which of Jacob’s classics will carry on has yet to be decided, but those that do will be modernized with Feenie’s culinary tweaks and striking aesthetics. Except, possibly, for the Alsatian apple tart, which pastry chef Thomas Haas pleaded for maintaining unaltered. “I heard from the great master himself. I won’t change it,” Feenie says.

Expect some Lumière reruns, such as his excellent raviolis. Also, Lumière-style Japanese influences, like a hamachi sashimi with white-soy yuzu, compressed fruits and celery granita — a version of a dish from one of his Iron Chef Canada wins. Some of the dishes he’s eager to debut… A savoury kugelhopf with sea-salted herb butter. Tarte flambée with double-smoked bacon, onions and fromage blanc. Pheasant and foie gras boudin blanc with sunchoke purée and truffle jus. Grilled Hokkaido scallops with red miso and ginger brown butter. “I’m back doing what I love to do,” Feenie says. “I love finishing a night of service where everyone leaves happy.” 

– Mia Stainsby

Photography by Jamie-Lee Fuoco

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