Took She Who Must Be Obeyed to DB Bistro Moderne and Market. Food was very fine at both restaurants and the service was exemplary. SWMBO enjoyed the meal at Market a bit more, but I think that it had nothing to do with quality, just personal food preferences. It seemed to me that based on the limited menu that was offered more work went into the preparation of dishes at DB Bistro Moderne, but both restaurants were at a very high level. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either, but that is not news, everyone knows about where they fit among the other restaurants in town.
Had a bit of a strange thought afterwards, while the food was wonderful, I found the service more memorable than the meals. At DB Bistro for instance we showed up early and had drinks at Lumiere which is attached. When we mentioned that we had a reservation for next door everything after that point was handled with consummate professionalism. Our coats were taken to DB Bistro and when it was time for our table we were walked through Lumiere and directly into DB Bistro through the interior connection and seated by the same waitress. Good stuff.
My find this year is “hidden” at the Westin Grand on Robson. It was the menu that got us there. At the $18 range the starters were “Pacific Poutine” with halibut cheeks, Qualicum cheese curds, Yukon Golds and lemon hollandaise or a beets and blues salad with chioga beets, Blue Claire cheese grapefruit and toasted pumpkin seeds.
The mains were fried chicken breast with cheddar waffles and applejack gravy, or a veg dish which sound good but..., or smoked and seared albacore tuna with (and I love this) gorgonzola stuffed tater tots, kalamata coulis and sunchoke chips.
Desserts were Root Beer, hazelnut and maple ice cream parfait, or (and I love this) cinnamon dusted beavertail, Canadian whiskey caramel sauce and house made lemon-sour cream ice cream.
The chef had a lot of fun putting this menu together and it was great to see this attitude displayed when most other participating restaurants are trying their best to IMPRESS you. This just looked like a good time. Went with SWMBO and the two kids; Incredibly Loud Girl and her brother Underage Super Villain. It was Super Villain’s first dine out experience and he enjoyed it a lot. Everything he ordered was very good (more about this later) and the service was friendly and welcoming. The major difference in service was just in the number of staff. Whereas the two high end places seemed to have almost as many staff as customers, this was a more normal ratio. Numbers aside, they were gracious and warm and they made us feel right at home.
Now the food. The West Coast Poutine was as good as anything I’ve had this year. The halibut was just cooked through, and the hollandaise worked really well bridging the fries, curds, and fish. This is not on the regular menu, but it is a real winner and I hope they keep it. The chicken and waffles were very good and the kids really liked it. I don’t think the smoked albacore tuna worked particularly well. Smoking dried out the fish somewhat and the tuna flavour and texture were lost. This technique would probably work well with a white fish like sturgeon or halibut, but I feel tuna needs to be prepped as simply as possible. I had originally ordered the chicken and waffles as I wanted to know what Samuel Jackson was talking about in Jackie Brown, but I inherited the tuna when Loud Girl decided it wasn’t for her.
Desserts were wonderful. Underage Super Villain went for the Root Beer parfait while everyone else had the beaver tails. The parfait was almost a nod to molecular gastronomy. The root beer was done as jelly and it was presented in chunks in a clear glass on top of the ice cream. It was finished off with a chocolate straw. I think he was stumped for a second, but it all vanished in an instant.
The beaver tails were wonderful (who doesn’t like fried dough?) and the small scoop of lemon-sour cream ice cream was absolutely delicious. Great job.
So there you have it. A good time was had by all and we will definitely be back. Anyone else find something neat?