December 17th, 2010. West Restaurant + Bar
So after a preliminary round at Chill Winston in Gastown we hopped over to West Restaurant on South Granville. Now this place we had high hopes for because it’s apparantly it has the title of being one of THE best restaurants in Vancouver. I mean, wow, that’s a lot on the line right there!
Now, I have to make a confession here. Earlier that evening Nabil dropped the name of the westaurant we were going to…and because we were so held up in traffic on our way…I had sneakily made an Opentable reservation just in case we didn’t make it. Turns out we actually DID make it in time…and we used my reservation anyways! I’m so sorry, Nabil….I really wanted those points!! (I don’t know about you….but the decor reminds me of an upscale Chinese restaurant….Not sure what they were trying to go for here…)
My pet peeve: going to an upscale restaurant and being served unspreadable butter…..urg….. But the upside was that the butter was tasty and the olive oil was spot on. The olive oil was light, buttery and fragrant.
I had this nice fizzy non-alcoholic drink. Some sort of ginger concoction.
Amuse Bouche!! Amuse Bouche!!! A tiny cup of frothy, savory soup 😀
First appetizer: Albacore Tuna & Dungeness Crab “Asparagus” with Pickled Radish, Bartlett Pear & Nori Puree. The tuna was marinated in ponzu and very lightly seared on the outside and the meat was very light and tender withoput being mushy. I couldn’t believe the nori puree! Surprisingly sweet, yet with the smoky nori flavor, lending good flavor with the tuna. I thought it was witty how they dressed up the crab into asparagus shapes. The crab had good flavor 🙂
5 Spice Braised Fraser Valley Pork Belly with Beluga Lentils and Poached Free Range “Pee Wee” Egg & Heirloom Radish. I loved the various textures of this dish. The crackly exterior of the pork belly and the tender softness of the meat inside, the jello-y egg, the popping of the beluga lentils between your teeth…it was such a playful dish!
Biodynamic Aged Risotto Nicola Valley Chocolate Braised Venison with Matchstick Green Apples! The risotto was quite pungent, the meat was super tender with a good sauce that balanced with the heaviness of the risotto and the apples were a nice crisp touch overall. I really enjoyed the flavors because they played off each other very well.
Oh no!!! We were so busy eating that we forgot to take pictures!! 28 Day Aged Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin Slow Cooked Short Rib, Pomme Puree, Spinach with Cognac Peppercorn Jus. As you can see the meat was cooked just the way we like! As for the taste?? Well, you can see we were too busy eating up all this goodness! It was quite tasty 🙂
Passion Fruit Parfait with Mandarin Jelly. Strangely this almost was our favorite thing of the night…so incredibly refreshing!! I’m not normally a big fan of the tartness and how over-powering passion fruit can be, but this was balanced so nicely. We literally were trying not to fight over it..!
Dessert #2 were the Mini Madelines and Chocolate Truffle. A bit dry…not really stellar. The one thought that came to mind “I want a mini madeline baking tin…!”
So, what did we think about the restaurant that claims to be THE BEST in Vancouver? Well, both Nabil and I had a really nice dinner. Service was really great and the quality of the food was great. I was SO happy that I didn’t have to eat asparagus. Good execution, interesting components. But was it exciting? Not particulalrly. You had all the usual suspects with the tuna tataki, pork belly, lentils, risotto, steak and potatos….I just wasn’t excited. I think what would have really made me think “WOW” would have been a more interesting interpretation on the food. I mean, this IS the chef’s tasting menu…and considering that it seemed “safe”. Again, I will say that the food was delish & service was great, but the food concepts and decor need to be more up to date with the current Vancouver food scene.