We just got back from Vancouver. Unfortunately, it was for a family wedding, so I wasn't able to get much food time in. For instance, we had a rehearsal lunch at Seasons, in QE Park. Food was pretty good for "banquet" food, but it was still not what I would have chosen. We did get to fit in just a couple of dining experiences...
My parents and I, in search for decent but not pricey Chinese food, stumbled across a seafood restaurant called something like "Granville Seafood Restaurant." It was on Granville St., between downtown and the airport area, and is a rather large structure close to the Safeway. The house soup, with pork bones, was as good as my mom's. Then it was all downhill from there. First up was steamed king crab. We knew it wasn't king crab season, but it was hard to resist going up to Vancouver and not having king crab. It was decently steamed, but instead of being garnished with fried shallots, it was garnished with steamed or stir-fired garlic. Wasn't a bad dish, but waaay too much nearly-raw garlic.
Ong choy stir-fired in fermented tofu. Mushier than I like. Closer to what I produce at home on a bad day then what I expect from a restaurant with their high BTU stoves. This was my first time, though, eating what my parents characterized as "water" ong choy as opposed to the ong choy I was used to in the Bay Area. Crisper texture and somewhat more delicate.
Honey-glazed pork ribs was very sweet. It tasted like they had fried the ribs, then tossed it in a lot of honey just before serving. I'd never had meat with honey where the honey tasted like it had come straight and uncooked from the jar before.
To top it all off the white rice tasted like day-old rice. My dad was highly displeased.
The restaurant was very busy, partly because they had a banquet going on, so I don't know if we just came on a bad day or what. The rice was rather unforgivable, though.
Bluewater Cafe. 7 of us spent nearly $400 CDN. 1 dozen oysters served with fresh wasabi and a raspberry vinigrette. Chef's Choice sushi platter with large chunks of pristine fish. A pretty plate of sardine ceviche, that basically tasted like saba.
Entrees. Two parties had a miso crusted BC sablefish
on top of soba noodles. Very good, though my mom complained that the broth was too sour for her tastes. I happily ate up the rest of my dad's sablefish, though.
I had an overcooked lobster. My sister had a really good bouillabaise. DH had schnitzel. Not bad, but the potato side dish was overly herbed.
For dessert we had the strawberry panacotta, the frozen mango and coconut parfait, and a warm Belgian chocolate cake. All were pretty good.
The weak link was the abysmal service. The restaurant was nearly empty when we were there, so there was no excuse to keep forgetting our silverware, or forgetting to bring our drinks, or not checking in regularly. When the sushi arrived, our waiter promptly disappeared, so after waiting futilely for her re-appearance, I got up to get our own soy sauce from the station. I've also had poor service at some of the top restaurants in Portland (Higgins and Wildwood) and am starting to wonder if all Pacific NW service is sub-par.
Saturday night, it was all redeemed by a great dinner at Kirin restaurant. Winter melon soup, fresh spotted shrimp, scallops steamed in the shell, lobster and crab with ginger and scallions, duck, goose web and sea cucumber, and pea sprouts. We also had steamed sesame balls rolled in peanuts for desert. The guys also had dim sum there with my parents the next day (while my sister and I were with the bride) and reported that it too was excellent.
Oh, and in between family pictures and the church ceremony we got a party platter at Samurai Sushi (Sushi Samurai?), a popular take-out place on Cambie near QE park. Not great sushi, but perfect servicable, and copious. Huge hunks of fish and very fresh. Tasted really good, even though we were scarfing it down behind the church!
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