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LordBalthazar

Fuel

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After a grueling afternoon of watching playoff football, it was off to Fuel, that new restaurant on West 4th. Unable to access their menu online, I had no idea what to expect. We arrived for our 6:00 p.m. seating and were greeted by a very friendly, very upbeat host who welcomed us, then showed us to our table where we were presented with the menu. Like their neighbor Gastropod, Fuel's menu is small - about 6 appetizers, 6 mains, and some 5 desserts. You also have the choice of ordering one of the chef menus ranging from 4 to 9 courses. I opted to go for the more modest 6 course chef menu.

First up was a velvety smooth pumpkin soup with caramelized sunflower seeds accompanied by a perfectly cooked whole scallop. It was a truly awesome soup and the gorgeous glass bowl in which it was served (a product of Spain that takes ten weeks to ship) proved equally as popular with my fellow diners. My next dish was a romaine salad with chanterelle mushrooms and a poached egg with a red wine vinaigrette. Perhaps feeling sorry for my wife and our friend who were looking forward to three courses to my four, the kitchen was nice enough to serve them a dish of tiny gnocchi in a cream sauce with salmon eggs which, I have to admit to enjoying even more than my salad. Next up was a melt-in-your-mouth foie gras and duck confit terrine accompanied by some caramelized shallots and sweet brioche. My wife and her friend were treated to another little extra from the kitchen, a much appreciated and very much enjoyed prawn with leek and crispy lardon served with a citrus vinaigrette. I was served a very good lemon risotto with crispy capers and smoked albacore tuna, the smoky tuna and tangy risotto complimenting each other very nicely. Finally, it was time for the main courses: Alberta rib streak with rapini and sauteed gnocchi in a Bordelaise sauce that was nothing short of magnificent, and an outstanding pork loin with romaine roulettes (stuffed with delicious diced potates and foie gras). Prior to ordering, I advised our waitress that while I had no food allergies or aversions, I strongly objected to any fruit with my dessert. As a result, my dessert was the chocolate-caramel brownie with vanilla ice cream, a milk chocolate-stuffed circular wafer and cocoa nibs. I found the brownie a little dry but tasty nonetheless. The ice cream was great and the stuffed wafer the highlight of the dish. Our friend had the three tier apple cake (apple cake at the bottom, hazelnut chocolate in the middle, and a creme anglaise brulee on top) served with a shot of apple soda - a fun, creative, and very good dish. My wife went with the pear beignet with sabayon and grapefruit sorbet which, I have to grudingly admit - despite the fact that it was chock full o' fruit - was the tastiest dessert of the night. An assortment of sweets accompanied our bill including a very good vanilla macaron, and some accomplished chocolates (dark with tangerine, and another dark with anise and coffee).

Service was excellent - courteous, professional, yet friendly and helpful (given the number of times we asked about the minutest details of each dish). The decor is nice and clean, very airy.

I was amazed to learn that Fuel has only been open five days now. They have hit the ground running, demonstrating the inventiveness and polish of a veteran. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this restaurant to anyone and I plan a return visit sometime later in the week.

To top off the evening, we returned home to discover the pugs had broken into a bag of Hershey's milk chocolate kisses. We spent the rest of the night cleaning up dog vomit.

Pics on my blog - the January 7, 2006 entry.


www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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Tried Fuel yesterday for lunch, and it was awesome. It will be the best new restaurent for 2007

Update

Well I didn't say it was perfect. I would say that service was friendly but not high end. The place was 3/4 full at lunch, and with only 2 people on the floor and they were on the edge. The waiter forgot my order and had to ask again later, so I can see issues if they were full for dinner. I can understand them not wanting to hire another person so fast to manage the costs.

The hibiscus and cane sugar soda was interesting, but I wouldn't have it again.

The homemade bread with whipped butter and sea salt on the side was perfect

The Onion consomme was perfect - I know, it is done before hand

The risotto was cooked properly - I know it is hard to make on the spot

The butter trout was excellent, - I usually pick fish dishes because it is healthy, but everything was soaked in flavorful butter and definately not healthy!

The Apple Cake was awesome.

If Earl and Cactus can be used as a reference point, Fuel service was about the same, the lunch dishes were only a few dollars more but were gourmet. I think Robert Belcham is a great chef and Fuel will do well. My family used to be in the business, no matter how good your people are, if you overload the staff the quality will definitely go down. That is why I don't do DoV and laugh inside when people think they got a deal for $35 at West.

Tony


Edited by Tony Mah (log)

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Here's part of the negative review from "Dinehere"

Don't Let the Ambience Fool You

The vegetarian ordered the chicken. It wasn't until it arrived at the table that they announced that the stuffing had bacon in it, and VERY strong bacon at that

Given that "The vegetarian" was ordering chicken I am a little leery, and would it have been okay without "strong" bacon.

This is the same website that published a negative review about a restaurant where the reviewer spoke of sitting beside a fireplace in a restaurant that has no fireplace

Honestly I think reviewing any new restaurant in the first week of operation is poor policy.


''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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Everyone has their own opinion; I don’t know too many ppl that would take the experiences of others too seriously, unless they know the person and the experience was horrible or it seems to be a reoccurring issues.

I am looking forward to trying Fuel with my cousin. He said he knows the guy there, but I have to wait till after dine out.

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This place is a disaster. Four of us ate there. The vegetarian ordered the chicken. It wasn't until it arrived at the table that they announced that the stuffing had bacon in it, and VERY strong bacon at that. The chicken was undercooked.

LOL, I love the fact that he capitalized very when describing the bacon. What a tool. I for one, believe bacon in stuffing is a fantastic idea! I'm checking this place out. PS. Vegetarians eat chicken?

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Given that "The vegetarian" was ordering chicken I am a little leery,

Only a little?

I think I'm going to print out that review just for the pleasure of shredding it!

A.

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Since Rare was booked solid and Parkside was only serving DOV; I recommended fuel tonight to a friend of mine based on the reviews on here and the in media. Her and her bf just got back from both having the 9 course tasting menu.

Here is what I was told:

-The soup was good but the in-house cured bacon which gave it a nice flavour was extremely chewy. Basically I swallowed the bacon because I was tired of chewing and not because I was suppose to swallow.

-The ravioli, foie gras and stable fish dishes were good.

-If I wasn’t sick out dinner probably would have felt rushed.

-The environment was very loud, casual and more on the yuppie side rather then upper class. I also didn’t' feel that we had enough privacy

-We ended up spending 280 after tips (two 9 course meals, stella, juice and water), and nothing really jumped out at me and that is why I wont go back.

-My recomendation for someone that plans on visiting Fuel is just order off their regular menu and share with one another rather then ordering the tasting menu.

I still plan to check it out after DOV ends.


Edited by D90 (log)

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Since Rare was booked solid and Parkside was only serving DOV; I recommended fuel tonight to a friend of mine based on the reviews on here and the in media. Her and her bf just got back from both having the 9 course tasting menu.

Here is what I was told:

-The soup was good but the in-house cured bacon which gave it a nice flavour was extremely chewy. Basically I swallowed the bacon because I was tired of chewing and not because I was suppose to swallow.

-The ravioli, foie gras and stable fish dishes were good.

-If I wasn’t sick out dinner probably would have felt rushed.

-The environment was very loud, casual and more on the yuppie side rather then upper class. I also didn’t' feel that we had enough privacy

-We ended up spending 280 after tips (two 9 course meals, stella, juice and water), and nothing really jumped out at me and that is why I wont go back.

-My recomendation for someone that plans on visiting Fuel is just order off their regular menu and share with one another rather then ordering the tasting menu.

I still plan to check it out after DOV ends.

Just to clarify, these are second-hand comments ? This was not you, but a friend's experience.


Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Neil, Yes these are second-hand comments (the coles note version of what she told me) I also had her check my post.

I won be trying fuel for a few more weeks.

For her and her bf $280 is fine (9 course tasting menu), it was good, just that nothing really stood out for them.

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$280 with no wine seems ridiculous?!

First of all 9 courses each. Second of all, this was after tip. Who knows how much they paid for that, because it is completely arbitrary. Say $45 for tip. That's $235. After tax. If tax is $20, then you are left with $215. How much water, juice and Stella was consumed? Because at $90 for a tasting menu, (which is a price that I would expect for 9 courses...) that leaves you with $35 for beverages.

Seems about right to me.

But I don't think it's right to post second hand reviews. Mind you, you recommended it D90.....so of course they are going to tell you whether they liked it or not.

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Yuppie instead of upper class. Condemnation indeed. :wink:


Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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My bill at Fuel for two was about $70, pre-tip, although they comped us a couple of cocktails and a salad as they had just opened and were very hectic that night. The bill included wine and two mains. The steak was as good as Mallozzi said it was and was so big we could not think about rocking the dessert menu.

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From the Fuel website:

Chef's grand menu nine courses $110

In comparison:

West tasting menu - $129, looks like 9 courses if you include the amuse and petit fours

Lumiere Kitchen menu - $ 125 (less than 9 courses)

Lumiere Signaturre menu - $165 (looks like 10 courses if you don't take the cheese which is $10 supplement)

C restaurant - Chef's Tasting Menu "14 Course Menu $145 per person"


Edited by barolo (log)

Cheers,

Anne

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Seeing as Fuel is NOT involved with DOV, my wife and I are heading there for dinner tonight.

Working DOV=Not dining at DOV restaurants(during DOV).


Edited by winegeek (log)

Derek

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Went to Fuel for dinner Sunday night. Here are my feelings about this new restaurant.

We were greeted very warmly at the door by bith Tim (manager?) and one of the line cooks. The room was completely full(7pm). The room is very minimalist but not cold. Only minor quibble would be that I prefer the lighting to be a bit lower.

As others may have mentioned, the menu is quite small, 6 apps and 6 mains plus a special of each. We had a few drinks and ordered a bottle of Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir (Oregon). I have had it before;yummy!

I had the pumkin soup to start and really enjoyed it. 2nd course I had the Duck Confit and Foie Gras Mousse Terrine and my wife had the Warm Matsutake and Chanterelle Mushroom Salad. Both were delicious. We were then served a complimentry course, my wife a bowl of sauteed gnocchi (flour, not potato) and I had some ham that Tom (owner) had hanging for 15 months. Both were great and very much aprreciated. For mains I had the Slow Cooked Shin of Beef and

Seared Weathervane Scallop and my wife a bowl of Lemon and parsley risotto with crispy capers. Again, both were fantastic. Course #5 for me was a Carmelized banana tart with coconut. OMG, about the best dessert that I have ever had! My wife had a great cheesecake (don't remember the details). I finished off dinner with a glass of Sauternes and my wife a tea.

Leanne was our server and she was fantastic. Very professional and when she noticed that we are pretty laid back, her great sense of humour showed through.

All in all one of the best dining experiences that I have had in Vancouver. Will definately go back and I highly recommend that you give Fuel a try.


Derek

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I finally made it out to Fuel last night with two friends. Even though I booked for two and Tim said earlier a third person woud be hard to accomodate (the place was packed at 8:45pm) my friend decided to bring a third anyway. Not my choice but it was handled gracefully at the front and less than 10 minutes later we were seated. We decided to go for the 6 course menu with wine pairings. After our likes and dislikes were communicated to the server dinner got off to a good start with some warm bread, butter and flaky salt on a small slab of black marble (or granite, we argued about that one :smile: )

We had pumpkin soup with toasted sunflower seeds and a scallop, a romaine salad with a poached egg and tiny potato cubes, some lemon risotto with smoked tuna (very nice touch with some tuna almost cooked by the heat of the risotto, some raw on the edge of the bowl), lovely trout with hazelnut butter and thin sliced beets and potatoes, a very simple but effective dish of spinach and braised beef shin was our last course before dessert of a bruleed apple cake with apple puree and frothed apple juice on the side.

I think the food isn't overly adventurous in terms of ingredients, all very familiar things on the plate but it was executed very well, all flavors coming together nicely, the risotto well cooked, the beef shin meltingly tender, the dessert sweet but not overly so. The wine pairings were especially well done, all white (Pinot Gris, two types of Gewurtz and a Chardonnay) except for a Malbec with the beef and some Tawny with the apple cake.

The service is an interesting mix of the quiet and reserved (the petite French accented waitress) to the boisterous (the tall bald guy who used to work at Glowbal) which works since given the loud nature of the minimalist room, it is not a place for a quiet romantic meal. I love the open kitchen at the front of the restaurant, people walking by on 4th can see the cooks plating dishes by the windows.

The only thing that I think could change things for the better would be to tone down the lighting a bit, the combination of spot lights, over the table lights and a chandelier in the middle of the room makes the place very bright. Especially at 11pm when the place starts to quiet down it became very apparent. Other than that I felt my $170 for 6 courses, wines, tax and tip were well spent.


Stefan Posthuma

Beer - Chocolate - Cheese

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The only thing that I think could change things for the better would be to tone down the lighting a bit, the combination of spot lights, over the table lights and a chandelier in the middle of the room makes the place very bright. Especially at 11pm when the place starts to quiet down it became very apparent. Other than that I felt my $170 for 6 courses, wines, tax and tip were well spent.

I said the same thing above. I would much prefer some softer lighting.


Derek

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I went to Fuel last night where my friend and I tried to tackle the Cote de Boeuf, a truly magnificent roast. Tom presented the cote de boeuf - a 2 lb cut of dry-aged Alberta Prime, and a gorgeous and formidable-looking piece of meat. In the words of Anthony Bourdain: "Pound for pound, the cote de boeuf is the best cut of beef on the animal. For your serious meat-eating guests, this is the way to go.” Was it ever! The roast was whisked away, then returned to the table minutes later, sliced and served with béarnaise sauce and a side of some wonderfully meaty fries. We also requested Fuel’s celebration salad (organic greens, home made ricotta, confit honey, and firewood honey), the only salad this non-salad eater will order. The cote de boeuf, cooked medium-rare, was butter-tender and very flavorful, reminiscent of some of the best cuts I’ve been served in Tokyo.

Pics of the meal (and an incredible organic corn soup you HAVE to rush down and try before they take it off the menu) at my blog -

http://josephmallozzi.blogspot.com/2007/08...st-18-2007.html


www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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Hello everybody!

Just wondering if anybody has a recent review of Fuel?

Thank you!

Megan

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I had an outstanding meal at Fuel a few weeks ago, but don't my word for it. Members of the Vancouver restaurant community just voted Fuel the Best New Formal restaurant of the year at the UD Awards. It also deservedly received the Best New Service nod, the award for Best Kitchen Team, and co-owner Tom Doughty tied with Neil Ingram of Boneta for Sommelier of the Year. I put a film up of the night in a previous thread.

In other words, they cleaned up.

Here's Tom and Neil the moment their names were called...

ud-awards-0151.jpg

All very well deserved.

For my part, I much prefer dining at the bar than at the table. Watching those fellas cook is a meal in itself.


Edited by Andrew Morrison (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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