Playing The Deuce

Given that the competition among dining establishments in the Vancouver area has never been greater (more than 90 eateries -the majority of which are in the city centre -opened their doors in the summer of 2007 alone), keeping some of that business on the North Shore would prove to be a daunting challenge. Thankfully, a few new establishments hanging out their shingle will be giving the downtown diners a run for their money.

Deuce is an excellent example of the new breed of restaurant designed to encourage those seeking an appealing spot for lunch or late-night dining to forego the lure of downtown and stay on the north side of the bridge.

Designed by the team at M Studio Design Consultants, which previously did Ocean Club, another North Shore restaurant (Canadian Interiors, January/ February 2007) Deuce exudes a casual, contemporary backdrop that nicely complements the West Coast tapas menu.

“It was one of the easiest projects we’ve had,” says M Studio principal Marilou Rudakewich. “There was no drama. It was all fairly pain-free. We walked into a nice, clean empty box with fairly new plumbing and a ceiling that was in great shape.”

The 1,800-square-foot space features a front room, bar and back room -lounge, bar, and dining area, respectively -with an open-concept kitchen at the rear of the dining area. The centrally positioned bar anchors and bisects the space. This separation is highlighted by the linear back bar detail that climbs the wall all the way to the top, and then spans the ceiling to connect to a wine display on the opposite wall.

Large windows dominating the entry and the high ceilings maintained throughout ensure the maximum amount of natural light penetrates the space. The elongated shape of the room does present some difficulties in this regard, but the design team compensated by adding backlit bench seating in both the lounge and dining areas. This lighting effect, coupled with a modern chandelier in the lounge and a grouping of large, well- placed oval ceiling fixtures in the dining area, gives the room a cozy atmosphere.

The decor features simple, clean lines, a palette of warm, natural materials and neutral colours, textures such as ash wood panelling with benches, hardwood floors, and the solid stone-topped bar. The tones of the wood combine with the lighting to create a warm glow that would be quite inviting on a rainy Vancouver day.

The choice of rich brown fabric and leather upholstery for the ample bench seating ups the comfort quotient while providing a nice contrast to the wooden chairs and white table tops. The result is a relaxing room that exudes a fresh, modern vibe.

In many respects, the aesthetic plays off the menu, which features many dishes that could be described as comfort food with a modern kick. What better place to dine on Serious Mac & Cheese -a tastebud- tempting blend of fontina, farmhouse cheddar, pancetta, oyster mushrooms, panko and truffle oil. KD this is not.

Overall, the restaurant was designed to showcase the food while still creating a comfortable dining atmosphere. cI