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Dine Out 2008 - The Reviews


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So with DOV 2008 in full swing, lets here everyones reviews of Vancouvers Best Restaurants.

On Friday, we dined at Gastropod. We arrived a bit early for our 9:00pm reservation, and aside from the bartender calling to us that someone would be with us in a moment, we were left standing in the foyer for 5 minutes until we were approached.

Once seated we unfortunately we left waiting for another 5 minutes or so, before our drink order was taken.

Instead of the wine pairing, we settled on a bottle of '06 Blue Mountain Gamay (Very tasty!) Looking over the menu we decided on our choices.

For appetizers we had the Cauliflower Soup and the Oysters with Horseradish 'Snow'.

While maybe it was my under-developed palate, I found the Horseradish 'Snow' and Sauternes jelly overpowered and difficult to deal with. There was so much 'stuff' on the oysters that there was no way you could 'gracefully' slide the oyster into your mouth, and should you try to fork the oyster you were stuck using a knife (or finger) to ensure you had some jelly and snow. While the oysters themselves were relatively good, I would have almost been happier with just a bit of hot sauce and a plain oyster.

The soup on the other hand we found extremely enjoyable. Creamy and bacony with a strong but not over-powering cauliflower taste. Very nice.

For the main, I choose the 36 Hour sous-vide pork. Overall the dish was quite good. The pork was a bit tough in some sections, and it could have handle a few more spinach leaves and mushrooms, overall I was quite happy.

My girlfriend was stuck between the Spring Salmon and the Chicken Medallion. She finally settled on the chicken, only to hear a bit later from the waitress mentioning to the table beside us, that they were actually out of the Salmon and the chef was doing to 6 scallop dish. We were slightly disappointed by this as my girlfriend would have loved the scallops but we were never told of it. As with the pork, the chicken overall was quite good, slightly fatty tasting and slightly on the small side though.

For deserts we had the Chocolate Fondant and the Cheesecake.

The Fondant I found to be amazing. Gooey, chocolately goodness on the inside with a flavourful raspberry sorbet on the side. By far my favorite dish of the night. The cheesecake also was extremely good. Creamy, melt in your mouth goodness. It came with a lemon ice which while very tasty, was very lemony and we could only eat a bit each before it was too strong for the mouth.

Overall, we found the food quite good. The service though did leave a bit to be desired. We felt we were rushed at first, and then we were left waiting at the end of the meal with empty wine glasses and we had to ask for the bill.

While I do understand with DOV most restaurants are busier than usual, I would assume that they would take the necessary precautions to ensure they have adequate staffing for the nights.

Overall, while the food was quite good, the service really wasn't nearly as good I would expect.

7/10

Shane

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This past friday myself and 5 friends made it to Parkside for dinner.

Just to start, I have to say it was the best DOV experience I have had to date. Service was attentive wtihout being nosy, and the food was excellent.

Between the 6 of us we had all three of the standard DOV appetizers. While I didn't have an opportuntiy to try the soup, I did have the salad and had the opportunity to try to Onion and chedder pie.

The salad was great. Light crisp with the slight vinegar tang. While it is merely a salad, I have been disappointed many times by quickly thrown together salads during my DOV experiences.

The onion and chedder pie....Wow...An amazing sweet onion flavor with just enough cheese to help hold it all together. Sweet and savory together, leaving me wanting so much more.

For the mains, between all of us we covered two of the DOV option and the Rack of Lamb adder (+$9).

My choice was the Duck Port-Au-Feu. I did find the duck slightly chewy but aside from that I don't have much else negative to say. The choux farçi (similar to a shrimp-less wonton) were amazing. The filling was soft with a slight crunch, flavorful but not overpowering. The tortellini was great also. Sort of wished I could just have a big bowl of the broth filled with the tortellini and choux farçi.

My SO had the Filet of Cod, and as shes not the biggest fish eater I did have a chance to partake in a few bites of it. Wonderfully cooked cod. Perfectly cooked throughout; retained some body without being undercooked. A slightly hot/peppery broth that encouraged you to swirl your fork and cod around to ensure you got a bit of everything in each bite.

Two others at our table ordered the rack of lamb addition tot he menu. Unfortunately I don't really remember what came with the lamb. Had a topping on it which I didn't enjoy but that was just merely a personal preference. But the lamb was quite flavorful.

Dessert......of the six of us, four choose the Trio of Chocolate ice-creams. I could probably try to review the dish, but I know I cannot describe it well enough. Simply put it was beyond amazing. And the alfajores, Mmmm. With every bit you could feel tiny little sugar crystals crunch between your teeth. Again, brilliant.

Two others choose the Pannacotta. I ended up eating half of my SO as she was disappointed compared to the ice-cream. By no means was the Pannacotta not good. Sweet and creamy with tangy blood orange topping. I most definitely enjoyed it, but as I mentioned compared to the ice-cream it just didn't stand up.

Overall I was extremely impressed with Parkside. As I said at the top of the review it was by far the best DOV experience I have had. Our server was always near, but not always over us. He was prompt and attentive, always there to fill a near empty wine glass.

The food itself was extremely well done. Each option gave you a true idea of what Parkside can do on a daily basis. And with the chocolate ice-cream to wrap up the meal, you just cannot go wrong.

Overall, a solid 9/10.

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This past friday myself and 5 friends made it to Parkside for dinner.

Just to start, I have to say it was the best DOV experience I have had to date. Service was attentive wtihout being nosy, and the food was excellent.

I have to say that I went to Parkside two years ago for Dine out and it was the best experience I had during the Dine out promotion. I still have the memory of their sticky chocolate pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream imprinted on my taste buds. I (heart) Parkside!

I'm finding that lots of other restaurants are going down that slippery slope of dumb-afying their food or making smaller portions in order to make money during the promotion period. Maybe they should just have another price range $25, 35 and 45? Why ruin my image of your restaurant with miniature, lacklustre food?

That being said, I did go to Raincity Grill this year and had an amazing meal with decent portions for Dine out. I went with a friend that ordered the $45 tasting menu featuring local ingredients. All of it was bite sized portions of complex tastes and aromas. The funny thing was that he couldn't recognize what anything was - the wait staff told us and we promply forgot - but it tasted great! It's amazing what you can do with honey when you don't have any sugar!

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I went to Gastropod last night and Fiddlehead Joe's the week before.

Gastropod was outstanding - had the duck two ways, the braised pork shoulder and the cheesecake. The Red Rooster reserve Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir were very good. Got the nicest table in the room and the service was spot on. The meal was comparable to what a meal I had at Rare last year which I considered my best meal of the year. Will definitely return in the near future.

Fiddlehead Joe's was a $25 meal and very good, the beet salad was solid while the beef tenderloin was spot on. Service was good and the room was nice as well. Money well spent.

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The meal was comparable to what a meal I had at Rare last year which I considered my best meal of the year. Will definitely return in the near future.

I could not agree more about last year's Rare Dine Out being one of, if not the, best meal of the year. What last year's cauliflower soup was for 2007, will for this year be Rare's mushroom and shallot tart -- unforgetable. Just pure essence of rich mushroominess.

I have been to Parkside and Rare this year and in both cases, I could not have been more pleased. Best decision so far of 2008 -- the fois gras appetizer at Parkside. I expected a good meal and good service, having been to both once before, but they both exceeded my expectations with their skill and generosity. It's such a treat to have the amuse and palate cleanser at Rare and the server at Parkside really enriched the whole dining experience with her friendly and thoughtful comments.

One left to go... Aurora Bistro.

I have got to make it back to these places more often!

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At Chambar for a glass of wine last night and bumped into the dov menu. Started with a juicy delicious venison carpaccio, and the most amazing trout I have ever tasted. As I have always enjoyed at Chambar, dishes are complex and aromatic, well seasoned and beautifully presented... the place is dangerously exciting, a sexy room, sultry food and professional service.

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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... the place is dangerously exciting, a sexy room, sultry food and professional service.

Wow! Now there's a line. Sounds like Hopkin could give lessons on descriptive restaurant criticism to Andrew Morrison who's standout quote, contained in the buildup to his review of Pinky's, in the West Ender this week: "And then my appetite shrivels like a hot-tub nipple." :blink:

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Indeed. Just to be clear, the reference was to the mind-sucking banality of CFD chains, and not the food at Pinkys, which was palatable. I couldn't agree more with Alistair on Chambar. It's one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. :smile:

Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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We went to Gastropod as well for dine out. Our review is pretty much the same as everyone else, great food and great service, maybe they read the first review and lightened up on the "horseradish snow" because i thought it was the perfect compliment to an oyster!!

We also went to Nyala on Main St for dine out and were pleasantly surprised! They were packed full at 730 on a thursday and there was a line up the whole time we were having our dinner. The food was really good and even though it was so busy, our service wasn't compromised a bit! We will definitely go back, maybe on a quieter night though.

It was our first year trying out the dine out menus and it turned out to be really good.

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Last Thursday the SO and I went to Chambar to test out DOV.

For $25, I have to say this was probably the best DOV value/experience.

Reception was quick and curteous, though the dining area was quite packed. We were seated against the long side wall in the back where you have a banquet on one side of the table and chairs on the other side. With it being DOV it was very tightly packed and you couldn't really slip gracefully between your table and the next to get to the banquet. Not a really major issue, as it is DOV, but maybe one less table would have been great.

To start we both had the corn and crab chowder. Sweet, slightly creamy. Maybe a bit short of crab bits, but overall a great start to the meal.

For mains I had the braised shortrib and the SO had the mussels. The shortrib was tender and flavorful with mashed potatos and cranberry (? can't remember now) reduction.

The SO mussels were GIANT. I couldn't believe how many mussels were in the pot. For a DOV meal I expected maybe 10 or so mussels. This dish must have had atleast 20 giant mussels. Flavorful slight spicy broth with tasty large mussels.

We also shared some Pomme Frites, which were slightly crispy, nice and salty with a great mayo.

For dessert, we had the Belgium Waffle with Ice cream and the Pot de Creme. Neither of the dishes were amazing, but again neither were bad. The Belgium waffle was a bit thick so it was difficult to cut gracefully.

All in all, for $25 DOV, I was extremely impressed. Great food, nice sized portions and good service. This is a restaraunt I will for sure visit through the year after such a positive experience (Plus the giant beer list is nice!)

Shane

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Last Thursday the SO and I went to Chambar to test out DOV.

All in all, for $25 DOV, I was extremely impressed. Great food, nice sized portions and good service. This is a restaraunt I will for sure visit through the year after such a positive experience (Plus the giant beer list is nice!)

Shane

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Dine Out is more than just hot-water-with-lemon bums in seats.

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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^ Yup. I've been a repeat diner at a number of places (Parkside, Chambar and Rare in particular) as a result of DOV experiences that knocked my socks off. On the flip side, there are a few I've never returned to as a result of DOV disappointments.

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Parkside is always a guaranteed enjoyable experience. It was perfect from appies to dessert.

Cin Cin had great food and I was most impressed with the tiramisu which came in a tuile cup. Although, I didn't care for the noisy atmosphere and one particular snooty old waiter.

Bogart's Chophouse is just a pass and the most disappointing dessert which was a small piece of pear spice cake (akin to a carrot cake) with a drizzle of sauce.

O Thai was surprisingly delicious with better lambs chop than Bogart's and a very good value, especially the lobster. They are extending DOV for February.

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first time dov experience! was a great one. we went to salt.

gallery_24789_3304_72422.jpg

beverage of choice for the evening. i love stouts. this one's not bad. i like storm brewing's black plague stout (available at the whip) and the brooklyn black chocolate stout a bit more than this r&b one though.

gallery_24789_3304_58404.jpg

started off with a shaved fennel salad. not sure if it's available outside of dov, but it was a nice virgin fennel experience for me :)

gallery_24789_3304_34005.jpg

here's the pre-selected cheese platter they had on offer for dov. it was my first time pairing blue cheese with balsamic vinegar...it was actually a great match!

gallery_24789_3304_2915.jpg

my dessert. a different kind of blue cheese, with honey and pressed fig bread. i could do without the fig bread. it made the whole dessert way too sweet. but then, it's supposed to be a dessert :laugh:

i've been becoming a total cheese fanatic over the past couple years, and i would've been happy with another course of cheese for dessert.

gallery_24789_3304_36135.jpg

my wife had the dark chocolate mousse for dessert. raspberry jam on the bottom, bit of salt on top (geddit?). very decadent and rich. again, not sure if they serve this sort of thing outside of dov.

i do love their location and whole concept. the waitstaff were awesome -- so happy and positive, great service, quick refills of bread. would love to come back and relax and eat some great meats and cheeses.

truth be told, i have this type of meal almost every weekend -- baguette from swiss bakery, asst. meats & cheeses from oyama or les amis and beer from brewery creek. but it can be exhausting to hit all these places to set up one meal that i usually eat on the couch or in front of the computer. salt is great for the lazy side of me.

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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first time dov experience! was a great one. we went to salt.

gallery_24789_3304_72422.jpg

beverage of choice for the evening. i love stouts. this one's not bad. i like storm brewing's black plague stout (available at the whip) and the brooklyn black chocolate stout a bit more than this r&b one though.

gallery_24789_3304_58404.jpg

started off with a shaved fennel salad. not sure if it's available outside of dov, but it was a nice virgin fennel experience for me :)

gallery_24789_3304_34005.jpg

here's the pre-selected cheese platter they had on offer for dov. it was my first time pairing blue cheese with balsamic vinegar...it was actually a great match!

gallery_24789_3304_2915.jpg

my dessert. a different kind of blue cheese, with honey and pressed fig bread. i could do without the fig bread. it made the whole dessert way too sweet. but then, it's supposed to be a dessert :laugh:

i've been becoming a total cheese fanatic over the past couple years, and i would've been happy with another course of cheese for dessert.

gallery_24789_3304_36135.jpg

my wife had the dark chocolate mousse for dessert. raspberry jam on the bottom, bit of salt on top (geddit?). very decadent and rich. again, not sure if they serve this sort of thing outside of dov.

i do love their location and whole concept. the waitstaff were awesome -- so happy and positive, great service, quick refills of bread. would love to come back and relax and eat some great meats and cheeses.

truth be told, i have this type of meal almost every weekend -- baguette from swiss bakery, asst. meats & cheeses from oyama or les amis and beer from brewery creek. but it can be exhausting to hit all these places to set up one meal that i usually eat on the couch or in front of the computer. salt is great for the lazy side of me.

They had the fennel salad when I went a few months back... mmm good.

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