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Au Comptoir is a relatively new french bistro in Kitsilano, just across the street from Whole Foods. Roughly translating to “The Counter”, this little bistro does it’s best to capture the look, feel, sound and taste of a small parisienne bistro. And it does a pretty good job of it.

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We started with a basket of complimentary bread with butter

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The baguette was crusty on the edges, chewy and tender inside.  It came with a small cup of unsalted creamery butter.  This was nice bread.

D’s starter was the thursday night cheese platter special

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This consisted of Roquefort, Camembert, apple slices, fig jam… and a couple of other aged cheeses that I couldn’t get the name of (noisy room plus the server’s thick french accent).  I liked the creamy roquefort cheese, and loved the sweet fig jam.

E’s appetizer was the Oeufs Meurette

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This was eggs poached on a warm shallot red wine sauce, with crispy bacon, garnished with perigord truffle shavings.  It was served with a couple of slices of crusty bread.

J’s appy was Bloc de Foie Gras.

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This was goose liver, seasoned, cured, and rolled into cheesecloth and aged.  It’s then sliced into discs, and served with toasted brioche.  I’ve only had foie gras once before, and while I thought it was pretty good, I was, and still am, at a loss to understand what all the fuss is about.  After this, I still feel the same…. it’s good, but to me it’s still just pate with toast.

This was my starter….Salade Vercingétorix.

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This was crisp baby gem lettuce, dressed in a garlicy mustard vinaigrette, topped with a soft-poached egg, gruyère, and anchovies.

My instinct is that this is a twist on a caesar salad.  The anchovies, the egg yolk, the croutons, etc.  I split the egg, and mixed it into my greens to produce a rich thick dressing.   It was pretty good.  The greens were fresh and crisp.  The croutons were crunchy.  The dressing was tangy with some good saltiness from the cheese, and the egg yolk provided some serious richness.

J’s main was Faisan Roti et son pithivier.

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This was roasted pheasant breast, chestnut pithivier, with coffee-roasted carrots.  The chestnut pithivier was the most intriguing part of the dish.  It’s basically a savory miniature chestnut pie.

D’s main was Magret de Canard.

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This was seared duck breast, gratin dauphinois, pickled raisin purée, endive.  The duck was beautifully done, good duck flavor, well seasoned.

E’s main course was Blanquette de Veau.

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This was a classic creamy veal stew served with rice.  The veal was incredibly tender and rich.

My main course was Bavette Pommes Dauphines

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This is skirt steak, seared and finished to medium, dressed with a shallot and red wine vinegar reduction, served with greens and mashed potatoes formed into balls and deep-fried to a light crisp.  I actually requested a medium-rare steak, but I anticipated that it would arrive at my table closer to medium.  This is just my experience… most of the time, steak will arrive slightly more “done” than requested, and this was pretty much what happened.   It had some good beef flavour.  It was properly seasoned, with a good char on the top and bottom.  The shallot and red wine sauce provided some sweet and tartness.

The pomme dauphine are whipped mashed potatoes, combined with the dough of choux pastry, formed into balls and deep-fried to light crisp.  These are fabulous.  They’re crispy on the edges, but pillowy soft and tender in the middle.

J’s dessert course was Paris Brest

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This is a choux pastry, filled with butter creme, dusted with powdered sugar.

E’s dessert was Creme Caramel

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This was a traditional vanilla bean caramel flan, served with a biscotti wedge.

D’s final course was Tarte Citron.

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This is a lemon curd served in a pastry short crust, topped with a light meringue.

My dessert was Tarte Tatin.

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This is basically an upside down apple tart, topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream and a square wafer of dark chocolate.  The pastry crust was short and crumbly, rather than delicate and flaky.  The apple was thick tender and caramely sweet.  The salted caramel ice cream was probably my favorite part of this dessert (the fruit and pastry were …. just okay).

The room is warm and inviting, with a distinctly french charm.  It’s not too crowded or cramped.

Our server was very good.  He was pleasant and friendly, and patient and willing to please.  He sported a thick parisienne accent, which adds to the charm of the experience, but also occasionally makes it difficult to understand the description of the menu.

Au Comptoir on Urbanspoon

Suika Snack Bar is a bustling and boisterous izakaya on West Broadway, near Fir Street.
We arrived at about 6:30 on a Friday evening without reservations. They were full, but agreed to give us a table if we could assure them that we could finish before 7:30. We agreed and were seated immediately.

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Suika is a large space, well-lit, with a fairly modern feel.

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We stared with th Hainese Chicken Salad

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This is steamed sliced chicken thigh served over greens (iceberg lettuce, cucumber slivers, radish slices, cube tomatoes, sprouts), tossed with a ginger and scallion dressing.  This was an okay salad.  The greens were crisp and fresh, the dressing was tangy, with sweet tones.  The chicken was a well prepared, but added very little flavor.

Next came the Kakuni Bibimbap

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this is stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp and scallions, dressed with thick sweet soy, served over short grained rice, served in a searing hot stone bowl.  The server mixed the rice and other ingredients together at our table side.  The taste of this dish was terrific.  The sweet and savory flavors worked well together, and the pork belly was rich and meaty.    But usually, bibimbap has crunchy rice on the bottom and sides, resulting from the hot bowl.  While this bowl was hot, the rice never developed a crunchy layer.  Was it not hot enough?  Was the sauce making everything too wet?  Not sure.

Next came the Enoki Mushroom Pizza

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This is a very thin flat bread, topped with enoki mushrooms, seaweed, scallions, and a creamy cheese sauce, baked to a light crisp.  This was only okay.  It was an item on the daily feature menu, and it sounded better on paper.  The flat bread was crisp around the edges and on the bottom and held up to the toppings.  The seaweed, and the sauce had some decent earthy savory flavors, and the scallions provided some fresh green herbaceous snap.

Lastly came the Aburi Toro Battera

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This is a pressed sushi, smeared with avocado and sesame seeds, topped with fatty tuna, and pressed into a mold.  The tuna is then seared with a torch, then topped with thick soy and seaweed sauce, then sliced ans served on green shiso with a generous mound of pickled ginger.  This was excellent sushi, some of the best I’ve had in long time.  The rice was just the right doneness, with a light tart flavor from rice wine vinegar.  The tuna is mild and silky smooth.  The soy and seaweed sauce added some sweet and savory tones, and the drizzle on the plate had a fruity tart quality.

Our servers were cheerful and pleasant, but very busy and difficult get any additional attention.  When the house if busy, to room is very loud, in part due to the music and the din of conversation, and in part due to the boisterous shouts between the servers and the kitchen staff.

Suika on Urbanspoon

Sliders is a relatively new place on West Broadway, near Cambie, across the street from London Drugs.

It’s a casual place where you can get your burger, fries and a shake, but with a little twist.

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Upon arrival, you place your order at the counter, and pay for your food, receiving a plastic table marker with your order number on it.  Find yourself a seat, and when the order is ready, a staff member will call your number.

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The menu is a nice mixture of sliders (miniature hamburgers) with something to meet many a craving… from the basic hamburger, to pulled pork, grilled chicken, jerk chicken, pork belly, cheese steak, porchetta, fried fish, fried oysters, and a number of vegetarian options (like chickpea fritters, grilled mushrooms, and cauliflower patties.

To go with the sliders are a selection of side dishes like french fries, poutine, coleslaw, green salad, etc.

I started with Mixed Green Salad

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It’s a blend of crisp fresh red leaf lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, pickled onions, dressed with either of House made buttermilk ranch and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.  I chose the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.   This is a very fresh, crisp salad, but it was very light on the dressing.  I could barely taste it.

My first was Sliders Original Beef

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Shortrib-chuck-brisket beef patty, grilled on a flat top.  It’s topped with aged cheddar, slider sauce, pickles, hickory sticks, served on a soft lightly toasted brioche bun.  This was a pretty tasty burger.  The ingredients are quite fresh.  The burger patty is properly seasoned.  The pickles provide some tang, and the hickory potato sticks have some nice crunch.

My second slider was an Oyster Po’boy

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 Cornmeal crusted oyster, deep-fried to a light crisp, served on the same lightly toasted brioche bun, topped with pickled red onion, leaf lettuce, horseradish aioli.  I really liked this.  The oyster is very fresh, well seasoned and cooked to the right doneness.  It’s light and crispy on the edges, but very moist on the inside.

These people put quite a lot of love in their food, and it shows.  I would get the oyster po’boy again without a second thought.

Sliders on Urbanspoon

I had dinner with a meetup.com group, and we met at a recently opened thai fusion restaurant in Kitsilano.
We had reservations, but being a mid-week evening, it wasn’t really necessary.   ‘D’ was early and was already seated when I arrived.

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The menu is mostly Thai with a mixture of other influences.  There seem to be some taiwanese and japanese influences in the dishes on the menu.

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We took some of the server’s recommendations for house specialties, and added a couple of favorites of our own.

Our first dish was Zesty Raw Fish

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This is sushi grade snapper, sliced thin and shingled over greens, dressed with a citrus glaze, slivered raw onions, crispy fried garlic, and fresh sprouts.  The citrus was very mild.  The snapper was firm and rather mild, so the presiding flavor here was the garlic.

The next dish was Spicy Citrus Seared Beef

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At a glance, this appears to be the ‘turf’ variant on the previous ‘surf’ dish of sliced raw fish, but it’s not.  This is lightly seared rare beef, served over greens, garnished with raw onion slivers and sprouts, then drizzled with a citrusy sweet spicy dressing.  The spiciness kind of sneaky, it hit on the third or fourth chew.  The citrus flavor here was very pronounced.

The next dish was Chicken in Grains of Paradise.

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This is a fillet of chicken, dredged in flour/starch, battered and deep-fried, then sliced in strips, served on a bed of fresh greens and crunchy cabbage, dressed with a pepper-tree prickly ash sauce.   This was probably the best dish of meal.  The chicken is tasty and quite crunchy.  It’s nicely seasoned and spicy, with a bold crunch.

This was followed by Barbequed Pork Jowl

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This is pork jowl, grilled, and seasoned, sliced thin and served with a sweet salty dipping sauce.  This dish came twice. The first arrived a little overcooked and dry.  When ‘J’ brought this to the servers attention, he offered to take it away and bring a newly prepared one.  The second was much better, still tender and juicy.  The dipping sauce has strong citrus and fish sauce flavors.

No Thai meal would feel complete without curry.  This is Coconut Green Curry Chicken

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I was a little slow on the camera here, but this is a mild green curry filled with carrots, green peppers, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, lime leaves and chunks of chicken.  Its served with bread that’s been smeared with shrimp paste and quickly flash fried to a light crisp.  The concern with curried chicken dishes is that the chicken is frequently overcooked and dry, but not here.  It was tender and moist, with just a little heat.  The bread was wonderfully savory and crispy.

The other ‘must have’ dish is pad thai.  This is the Thai One interpretation of the oh-so familiar dish.

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This is  fresh rice noodles, with bean sprouts, ground chicken, tofu, basil leaves, stir fried with fish paste and a spicy sauce.  It’s served with crushed roasted peanuts and chili flakes on the side.  This is apparently their own spin on the classic pad thai.  The noodles are nicely ‘al dente’ (for lack of a better word), but it doesn’t have much tanginess nor sweetness to it.  It’s predominately savory.  I squeezed a little lime juice for a lime wedge provided, and it added a little tartness.

The room is very contemporary and modern, and sparkling clean.  The restaurant has been open for only a couple of months.

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It’s quite comfortable and spacious.

Our server was quite helpful and pleasant, and very accommodating when we had issues with the pork jowl dish.  As asian restaurants go, this service was quite exemplary.

This place is a little bit pricier than a lot of other Thai restaurants, but we had a 20% off coupon, so that helped.  I’ve seen some groupon offers for this place as well.

Thai One Asian Fusion on Urbanspoon

Lucy’s East Side Diner on Main Street

While in the Main & Broadway part of Mount Pleasant and pining for lunch, we waffled between Burdock & Co, and Lucy’s East Side Diner, before picking Lucy’s. I guess it was more of a comfort food day, than a west-coast cuisine day.

It was pretty busy, and we had a brief wait for a table (less than five minutes).

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Lucy’s feels very much like a throw back to a greasy spoon diner of yesteryear. And I mean that in a good way.  The checkered floor tiles, the swivel bar stools, the lino counter-tops, and certainly the menu.

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The menu is a mix of old school comfort food.  Mac & Cheese, meat loaf, burgers & fries, hot dogs, club sandwiches, salads, fried chicken, milk shakes, and an extensive brunch menu.

This being a weekend, the brunch crowd was here in force, but I wasn’t in the mood for omelets, hash browns, or sausage.

Do we went with a more “lunch” selection. First was the meat loaf with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables

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This is two slices of meatloaf, seared on a flat top, served with steamed veggies and two scoops of mashed potatoes topped with brown gravy.  The meat loaf is tender and well seasoned, with a little bit of a char on the sides.  The mashed potatoes were silky smooth and fluffy.  The gravy was okay, it had a “made-from-a-mix” flavor (looking throughout the menu, there’s really no roast beef or anything that yields pan drippings from which to make a gravy, so a prepared gravy is quite likely).

The second lunch selection was the philly cheese-steak sandwich with green salad

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This is thin slices of beef seared on a flat top with sautéed onions and bell peppers, served on a toasted hoagie bun, topped with melted processed cheese and grated cheddar and jack cheese.  It comes with a side of green salad with dressing.

I don’t normally like philly cheese steak.  It seems like a poor way to use rib eye beef, which begs to be roasted to medium, or grilled as a steak to medium rare.  Normally cheese steak cooks the meat to medium-well or well-done, which just seems sacrilegious.  But I digress.  I decided to give this a try.

This is actually pretty good.  The beef is sliced thin and cooked to well done, but it’s still fairly tender with some light caramelization around the edges.  The onions and peppers are sautéed to tender and sweet.  The melted process cheese is on the sparse side (which I consider to be a good thing) because the grated cheddar and jack make up the extra “cheesiness”.   The hoagie bun is toasted on the outside, but fluffy on the inside.

The green salad is made of leaf lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and chickpeas.  It’s fresh and crisp.  The dressing that comes on the side is a mustardy vinaigrette.  It’s mild and slightly tangy.

Overall, this is decent comfort food at a reasonable price.

The room is very retro.  It feels like its cut out from the 1950s.  It’s a little cramped in there, probably seating only 30 or so, and when it’s busy, there’s a lot of bumping around into others, or squeezing between them.

The service was pretty good, attentive, and friendly (in spite of how busy it was).

Lucy's Eastside Diner on Urbanspoon

I had a groupon voucher for Jolly’s Indian Bistro, a small restaurant in Kitsilano, on West Forth Avenue, between MacDonald and Bayswater.

We arrived at 6:30 pm on a weeknight and were seated immediately (the restaurant does not accept reservations).  The place filled up by 7pm.

The menu is fairly comprehensive, covering all the most familiar Indian dishes.

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We started with the samosa.

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This is cooked Potato and peas wrapped in light pastry, deep-fried until crispy, and served over curried chickpeas and a lighlty sweet chutney, and sprinkled  with fresh cilantro.  This was a very good samosa.  The pastry was crisp around the outside, but the filling of potatoes and peas were fluffly and light, and savory.  The curried chickpeas were mildly spicy and aromatic.  The chutney was a sweet blend of honey and mango flavors.  The cilantro added a nice herby freshness.

Next came the dosa stuffed with chicken.
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This is a South Indian crepe stuffed with minced grilled chicken served with daal and more of that sweet chutney. The “crepe” is a thin pancake made from a blend of rice flour and (traditionally) black lentil flour mixed with water and allowed to ferment.  Its cooked over a flat griddle much like a crepe.  This dosa was stuffed with grilled chicken, and served under a blanket of daal and more of that mango chutney.

Although this is an appetizer, it’s a pretty hearty serving.  It was nicely seasoned, with an earthy flavor from the daal and little fruity sweetness from the chutney.

Lastly we had the kashmiri lamb roganjosh

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This is a Leg of lamb pressured cooked with rare mixed spices and mint.

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It’s served with saffron basmati rice, and a green salad.

The lamb also comes with a serving of garlic naan.

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The lamb was very lean and a little dry and stringy, but not intolerable.  The braising sauce is a potent rich blend of shallots, garlic, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, chilies, mint and yogurt.  The rice was light and slightly nutty with a hint of turmeric.

The salad a nice fresh bundle of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage and sunflower seeds, drizzled with a sweet fruity dressing.

The naan is a leavened wheat flour flat bread cooked on the inside of a searing hot tandoori oven.  This naan was crispy on the edges and quite thin.  It didn’t have much tenderness on the inside. It was smeared with a garlicky buttery spread. This was not bad naan, better than average, really.

Our server was prompt, patient and nice enough.

The room is warm but dimly lit, with lots of red, yellow and orange tones on the walls and hangings.  In spite of it’s modest size, it feels a little tight and cozy.

Jolly's Indian Bistro on Urbanspoon

We made reservations for a Saturday night at Minami in Yaletown during Dine Out Vancouver 2015. I was eager to try either Miku or Minami for some time now, and when DOV arrived, it provided just enough of that extra incentive to go.

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We had reservations, and we were seated immediately upon informing the maitre d’ of this.

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It was a near full house.

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We started with the Aburi Sushi Appetizer

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This is a plate of five pieces of the signature sushi offerings that the restaurant has to offer, including:

  • salmon oshi sushi
  • ebi oshi sushi
  • hotate temari with ume-cream sauce
  • spicy bincho roll
  • saba oshi bite with sundried tomato and proscuitto

It comes with a small mound of pickled ginger (but no soy nor wasabi).

The sushi was well prepared; the rice was cooked right, delicate and just sticky and moist enough, with a light tang.  Some of the sushi was pressed into molds before slicing, providing sushi pieces with clean square corners. My favorite was the saba oshi with sundried tomato and proscuitto.  It’s a rather inventive sushi, but the combination of saltiness from the proscuitto, the delicate texture of the saba, and the boldness of the sundried tomato made from a complex flavor.

The main was a Surf & Turf of Sablefish and Pork Cheek

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The Surf half of this dish is a portion of sable fish (aka black cod) marinated in miso, and baked, then served on a cauliflower & parsnip purée, topped with a wasabi-fennel-caper relish.  The Turf portion is a pork cheek, slowly braised.  They are served with sides of pickled bok choy, roasted baby potatoes, green peas, ginger glazed carrot.

The cod was perfectly cooked through, seasoned properly, albiet rather light on the marinade.  The flesh of the fish is tender, delicate and flaky.  The pork was tender and pulled apart with the lightest tug of the fork.  It was properly seasoned, and still had a robust pork flavour.  The potatoes were fork tender, and broccolini was al dente, but I thought the carrot was a little on the under-cooked side; it was a little too firm for my liking.

Sweet Tofu Crème Brûlée maple sugar, berry compote, maple crumble

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This is really tofu dessert more than anything else.  It’s a spoonful of berry compote at the bottom of a ramekin, topped with sweet silken tofu.  Its covered with a brûléed maple sugar, then topped with maple accented crumble.    The silken tofu is lighty sweet and smooth.  The maple crumble and brûlée topping provide a nice crunchy sweetness.  The berry compote and fresh berries on top provide some refreshing quality.

This was the item on the menu that raised my eyebrow.  How do you make a creme brûlée out of tofu?  Well, it is a brûlée topping, but ‘creme’ it’s not.  This is not implying that the dessert is bad.  It was actually pretty good.

The room at Minami is chic and modern,  clean and somewhat minimalist.  The lighting is very subdued.

Our server was fabulous.  She was pleasant and attentive, and patient with our questions, while in obtrusive while we were dining.

Minami Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Our first meal for Dineout Vancouver 2015 occurred at the Vancouver Fish Company, near the entrance to Granville Island.  This place opened less than year ago, occupying the space previously home to Whet (and Sammy J Peppers before that).

We had reservations, but it probably wasn’t necessary, as the place was not that busy.  Particularly for weekend at lunch.

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We went with the Dineout lunch set menus.  This started with two appetizers:

Beet & Arugula Salad with beets five ways, goat cheese, hazelnuts, and tarragon maple vinaigrette.

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This is a light salad of pickled beet wedges, smoked beet cubes, yellow beet chips, and arugula, dressed with a light maple vinaigrette, dotted with roasted hazelnuts and fresh goat cheese.  This is a nice light salad, with a nice blend of smoky, crisp, crunchy, sharp flavors.  There are supposed to be five different preparations of beets in here, but I only noticed three.  And while I was okay with the flavor of the pickled beet wedges, they were a little thick (for me).  They made for a very firm hard bite.

The second appetizer was Clam Chowder Boston-style clam chowder, fresh clams, thyme cream, bacon-wrapped bacon

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This is a thick creamy chowder of bacon, clams, potatoes, onions.  It was a bit light on the clams, only noticed one complete clam in the cup.  And the chowder was think and salty.  Thicker than I like anyways.  We asked the server to bring us a cup of hot water, which we used to thin out the chowder, and take the edge off the saltiness.  This was just the trick we needed.

Our mains arrived shortly after we finished our appetizers.  The first consisted of Rock Fish & Chips.

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This is two thick strips of Haida Gwaii rock fish, beer battered and deep fried, served with a generous serving of french fried potatoes, and small cups of ketchup and house house made tartar sauce. It comes with a cole slaw of slivered cabbage, apple and fennel.

The fries were crispy and well seasoned, with a good crunchy texture, while tender on the inside.

The fish was medium firm, with mild delicate flavor.  Batter was properly seasoned and lightly crispy when it was hot and fresh, but became soft as time lapsed.

The slaw was fresh and crisp, with lots of acidity from the vinaigrette dressing.

The second main was a  Pan-seared Bowen Island Sockeye.

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This is a sockey salmon fillet was seared on one side until crispy on the bottom, then finished in oven. It’s served over a tomatoey risotto, garnished with fresh watercress and carrot slivers.  This was probably the best dish of the meal.  The salmon was seasoned nicely and cooked to a medium-rare.  The risotto was savory, rich and creamy.  The watercress and carrots added some nice freshness to the dish.

After we finished our mains, our server brought our dessert.  This started with Flourless Chocolate Cake pecan brittle, fresh whip

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This was a nice rich chocolate dessert, with a scoop of fresh pecan brittle ice cream and dollops of whipped cream.

The chocolate cake was very rich, heavy and smooth.  The cool ice cream and light whip cream were a nice offset of textures.  The pecan brittle flavor was not really noticeable in the ice cream.

The second dessert was a Maple Crème Brulee with a rosemary shortbread cookie.

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This is a rich creamy baked custard sweetened with maple syrup, topped with caramelized sugar, served with savory rosemary shortbread cookie.  This custard was smooth and rich and very creamy, just lightly sweet from the maple syrup and sugar topping.  The cookie was crisp and savory, but can’t say I really liked the rosemary flavor.  I probably would have preferred just a regular shortbread cookie.

Service was helpful and attentive, friendly and polite.

Room is open and bright, with lots of warm wood tones, and the fabulous setting of the Granville Island marina outside.

Vancouver Fish Company on Urbanspoon

We decided to try Ask For Luigi, after some considerable buzz, online and from word of mouth.

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We arrived mid day on the weekend. It was a near full-house, and we got one of the last tables in the room.
Being a mid day on the weekend, the brunch menu was out. While they have some “brunchy” menu options like waffles, fritatta, and pork belly with eggs on polenta, this place is known for its pasta.

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My lunch companion ordered the tagliatelle alla carbonara & poached egg

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I went with the pappardelle alla bolognese & fried egg.  This is fresh pappardelle noodles boiled, drained and tossed in a sauce of raw eggs, grated parmeggiano, and rendered panchetta.  This is rich, creamy and savory and the pasta was a nice aldente.  I’d had pasta carbonara just once before and found that incredibly salty (near inedible).  But this was just fine.  It was just salty enough.

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This is freshly made broad pasta noodles tossed with bolognese sauce and topped with a soft fried egg and fine grated grana padano.  The bolognese is a rich meat sauce, with the bold flavor of red wine and tomato paste.  The pasta was aldente. The fried egg on top, once cut, oozed a little yolk over the pasta, which I mixed in for a little extra richness and creaminess.

Our server was very pleasant and inobtrusive. Although, if I may be nitpicky, I found it odd that the servers did not wear anything that resembled a uniform.  No apron, no “Ask for Luigi” logo-ed clothing.  When I entered the restaurant, waiting to be seated, I wasn’t sure who the servers were, and who the customers were.

The room is somewhat cramped but clean, with warm wood tones.

This was an excellent pasta meal and fair price.

Ask for Luigi on Urbanspoon

During a day of boxing day shopping at Lansdowne Shopping Center, we decided to grab lunch at out a Shanghainese place in the mall food court. A place like “R & H Chinese Food” would look completely ordinary in an asian mall like Aberdeen or Parker Place, but it stands out in Lansdowne.

We placed our order, and received it about 10 minutes later.

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We started with the xiao lung bao.

 

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For the uninitiated, these dumplings are a wheat flour wrapper, filled with minced pork and aspic, seasoned with salt, sugar, white pepper, rice wine soy, and ginger. They are steamed gently until the filling is cooked, and the aspic turns to a soupy consistency.  It’s served with a small bowl (in this case, a styrofoam container) of chinese black vinegar as a dipping sauce.

These were very good.  The wrappers are thin but strong enough to contain the contents of the dumpling without bursting prematurely.  The filling was slightly sweet and savory, with a definite ginger accent.

This is the serving of green onion pancakes.

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The name is a little bit of a misnomer.  They’re not pancakes, at least not the north american notion of pancakes. It’s an unleavened layered flatbread, made with wheat flour, water, oil, salt and finely minced green onions, brushed with oil and seared on a flat top grill or iron skillet on each side until crispy.  It’s then sliced into wedges and served.

It’s nice and crisp on the edges, but tender and savory in the middle layers.

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These are pot stickers.  They are dumplings filled with minced pork (and sometimes minced shrimp), and either shredded napa cabbage or bakchoy, seasoned with salt, white pepper, sesame oil, soy and ginger.  It’s steamed initially, then pan seared in oil until crispy on one side, then served.

The filling, at first taste, is very similar to the xlbs, but less gingery and less soupy, and with addition of the napa cabbage.  The seasoning was good, but I felt like it lacked something, although I can’t quite put my finger on it.  The filling is a little bit on the thick side, but not objectionable.

Won’t comment on the service nor ambiance, since this is a take out place.

One word of caution, since everything is made-to-order, there is a wait, the customer is issued an plastic card with the order number on it.  The person running the cash register calls out the order number when it’s ready.  If the food court is busy, you will only hear it if you are very close by.

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