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Cyrano Vancouver - Follow-up (long)


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Cyrano Vancouver - Follow-up (long)

viola da gamba | Apr 28, 2003 11:23 AM

Finally went last Friday - and now I can't believe I waited for so long! My father and I had an amazing dinner and I am really looking forward to going back.

From the street, Cyrano doesn't look too prepossessing - small entrance, no big facade, specials written on a white board with a black dry-erase marker - but don't be put off. Walking in, the room is long & warm, with an orange/terra cotta paint that is very flattering. The tables are well spaced - one can have a conversation without giving other diners discussion pointers.

Met at the door by Jung Ran Park - the diminutive wife of the chef - charming and very French - made my father & I feel very welcome.

The menu is small, with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients - the specials that night included halibut cheeks, mussels & clams, a cote de boeuf in a bordelaise sauce for two, and spiny lobster (in several incarnations). My partner, who lives in Smithers, has been raving about halibut cheeks (they're easily available from Prince Rupert) - they were served that night in a Sauternes reduction with leek veloute - so that was an easy choice for a main. The gourmet salad with smoked duck breast & lobster & a hazelnut dressing had caught my eye earlier, so I stuck with it. My dad had the lobster bisque with crab cream, and then the pan seared duck breast with its candied leg in guinettes and brandy sauce (if you're not hungry yet, you should be). The wine list is similarly not very big, and almost entirely French, with most whites being in the $30 - $40 (Cdn) range, the reds a little more. We decided to splurge, and had the Nuits St. Georges 1997 - $105 - Ms. Park made me check a couple of times to ensure that she'd heard right - totally amazingly worth it.

The bread was fine - served with unsalted butter in a small dish with a couple of bits of rosemary sticking out of it - my father thought it was another candle at one point - and then the starters arrived. The salad was fantastic - very pretty, with a mixture of spring greens and some halved grape tomatoes & oyster mushrooms that had, I think, been quickly sauteed in lobster juices. The many chunks of lobster were sweet & beautifully done, and the paper thin slices of duck breast were light and perfectly smoked. I think there were also a couple of bites of foie gras, which was a pleasant surprise! The mixture of slightly bitter greens, sweet lobster, smoky duck breast & the nutty, balanced dressing (in just the right amount - I hate my salads swimming in dressing) - was a wonderful way to start the meal. My father raved about his bisque, which again had chunks of lobster, saying it was light & intense & one of the best he's had - but wouldn't let me try.

Then the mains - I hereby recommend halibut cheeks to all fish lovers. Something of the flavour of scallops, but more with the texture of skate (but firmer) - they were amazing. The Sauternes reduction was light and sweet and married perfectly with the slightly smokey nuttiness of the halibut. The vegetables - asparagus, snow peas, baby carrots, some slices of pepper, and baby bok choy - were fanned around the halibut and were all crisp tender - just the way I like them. My father's plate, in contrast, was dark & smoky - it looked great, and the appreciative noises were almost obscene, but again - I wasn't allowed a taste. Ms. Park also offered more sauce, if we so desired - but the amounts were perfect as served.

In addition to the dessert menu (including such temptations as puffed Grand Marnier crepes, profiteroles with pistachio ice cream & dark chocolate sauce, sorbets, and a guanaja chocolate & espresso parfait), were the dessert specials - an anise creme brulee, a mille fleur with mangoes & strawberries, and a chocolate mousse cake/pie with alternating dark/milk chocolate & white chocolate on top. My father, a creme brulee fanatic, had the anise creme brulee, & I had the mille fleur - we also both had dessert wine - my father a Barnac (I think? I can't find my notes) & I had a muscat. Dessert was again on a par with the meal - the 3 layers of pastry were incredibly light & flaky, and first fruit layer, the mangoes, were on a bed of cream whipped with orange juice and vanilla (I think) - the strawberries were juicy and tasted of summer - light & delicious.

Ms. Park was not only the hostess, but also busboy & waitress - and she did a wonderful job. Our wine glasses were never empty, and we were never left waiting or wondering where the next course was. She was charming, and funny, and judged the approach to take to a nicety. She was also amazingly patient with the large party behind us, one of whom kept insisting that she was allergic to flour, and that she wanted the cote de boeuf, but could she have the sauce on the side, etc.

All told, dinner came out at about $230 - which, when you consider the wine & dessert wine, was an incredible bargain - and I think one of the best three-course meals I've had in a very long time. We're going back in two weeks - and let me heartily recommend it to everyone. They're only open for dinner on Fridays & Saturdays, and for lunch Monday through Friday - which I am sure contributes to the freshness and seasonality of the menu. I don't think they have a website (at least, I haven't been able to find one), but I've attached the link to their menu, which also has their address and phone number.


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