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3 days in Vancouver- review (long)

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3 days in Vancouver- review (long)

Ravinos | Jan 11, 2004 11:53 PM

So, I'm back and here is a quick(ish) recap-

Tojos was closed and I didn't make it to Vij- got waylaid by Rillettes, pate, cheese and mangosteens on Granville Island.

Favorite Restaurant/Best meal- Umami in Yale Town- they were cash only and lacking much on me I ate only two small plates- chicken wings with a lovely japanese sauce that seemed to be based in part on that seasoning you use in ramen shops with the black sesame seeds and in part on I don't know- but they were GOOD! As well as lamb chops with persillade and a great miso beef sauce- yum, not sweet at all- the best thing I ate all trip!(although the rillettes and the mangosteens were a pretty close 2nd/3rd)

two other top choices- Diva at the Met, Cioppinos Grill

Sun Sui Wah was very good, but I'm spoiled from SF Dim Sum. Great pork buns and chicken feet,excellent congee, only the eel was a bit off.

Had Ramen at a place downtown, pretty good- perfect for the weather.

Lumiere was not a good experience. I had the signature tasting menu and although the flavor combinations were mostly solid, they were almost all either masked by heavy, over buttered, under seasoned sauces or marred by overcooking. The one major bloop for me was the third course which paired a poached egg with white truffles and salmon gravlax. Without the gravlax it would have been lovely, why it was there I don't get. Other courses like the scallop "mi cuit" with veal sweetbread- a nice idea, the sweetbread was perfectly cooked, but the pounded scallop that covered it was drowned in a thick, sticky, demi based black truffle sauce. The halibut had an excellent sablefish brandade, but the fish was so dry, overcooked and underseasoned I couldn't eat it. The foie gras and boudin was unremarkable. Rabbit loin wrapped with pancetta came with a huge amount of a sticky sweet prune conserve that overwhelmed everything else on the plate, even the nicoise olives. Tenderloin with shortribs and cauliflower puree was overcooked for me (medium) with melt-in-your-mouth shortribs coated with that same unctuous demi sauce. The cauliflower puree was muddy and tasted old. The cheese course was fine and the lemon sorbet was excellent. But, here's the thing that killed it for me- the 18-20 min gaps between courses. After three hours and 10 courses I had to pass on the last two dessert courses. The service was fine but painfully slow. Personally I can't sit there for that long, eating food that was unremakable at best and hugely overpriced. With a glass of champagne and wine pairing the dinner was $CAN220 before tax. So, I would say they are either riding on their laurels or they had a really bad night. Hopefully it was a bad night, but the other bartenders, waiters and food people I spoke with tended to agree with the former. So, maybe it's time to hang up the hat. Anyway with restaurants like Umami blooming all over Vancouver, maybe the city doesn't need Lumiere anymore?

All in all it was a very nice time with good food and fun BC wines.
Thanks Vancouver!

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