Hold the Chives, Please

Why go out for dinner, drinks or dessert?

One reason is that, there are some fantastic chefs out there who devout their youth and their health to perfecting their culinary art. When I hear of these chefs and their works of art my taste buds and appetite take hold of me and in a trance like stare I echo the sentiments of Liz Lemon with “I want to go to there.”

Another reason is that I want to enjoy some time with friends. Of course the people I dine with are wonderful company but I never want it to be just me and my friends. I want the atmosphere and the food to enter the conversation. As I sip the wine I want it to flow around my entrée in a delicious dialogue.

Having lived in Halifax for over four years I have constantly heard that Chives Canadian Bistro is absolutely amazing. The descriptions of food and the atmosphere all pulled me in. My palate constantly tried to convince my feet to walk straight to Chives. However, the message would always get stopped by my wallet before it would get to my feet.

I had the sheer joy of going to Chives with two of my dearest friends this week. We decided that we would meet after supper to try their succulent sounding desserts.

Atmosphere

The atmosphere was pretty great. Unique décor featuring copper and amber colours with a wine “vault” protected by a door that probably was designed by Scotland Yard’s architect. Just having the wine vault open adds a touch of class to the dining area. You can also see into the kitchen, a brave move to keep their kitchen staff accountable. There are a few different levels leading to variation in the layout. Overall, a solid atmosphere.

Service

The service was good. I think I see why no one has ever commented on Chives’ service to me. It’s good. They do everything they should. However, I’m not sure if they try a little too hard to please. Having spent the day thinking about desserts and drinks that pair well with them the memory of exquisite Turkish and Greek coffee were palpable. I was curious to see if they had this perfect dessert companion so I asked. The server came back to say that the kitchen would have to look up how to make a Turkish coffee. “Don’t worry about it.” I remarked but they didn’t want to disappoint me so they insisted that they would be able to do something. If you need to look up how to make Turkish coffee you won’t have success, at least until you buy a cezve. Making Turkish coffee without a cezve is like trying to take a picture without a camera lens – it won’t happen.

Overall, the service was good but the little confusion over Turkish coffee left me feeling like they weren’t really listen to me.

Food

Everyone always talks about the food at Chives but to be honest I was underwhelmed. It was good but it wasn’t the amazing treat I was told to expect. One of the big selling points is that they use fresh local ingredients. I’m happy that they do, personally I believe that using fresh local ingredients is a must for any successful restaurant. This is the benchmark, not the acme. Other than that, there really wasn’t anything noteworthy about the food.

Summary

Chives Canadian Bistro has a solid atmosphere, the staff are friendly but the food does not live up to its reputation. Admittedly, I only had dessert there. I can’t comment on their appetizers or entrées. If you’ve had a good experience or have tried other dishes please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Chives Canadian Bistro on Urbanspoon

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