..and ouch that hurt the wallet.. haha. I went here about 3 years ago for a company dinner and we had a 5 or 6 course meal and from what I remember most of the dishes were really good. I had no clue how expensive it was since the company paid for it all, and we didn’t even get to see the menu.
Fast forward to today, I went to treat my sister-in-law for her birthday. I called in advance to see if I could bring my nephew, and they said yup they had high chairs. Great, I made a reservation immediately, though I really didn’t need to. We got to the restaurant and it was pretty dead. My brother said it was normal for a weeknight thought. They’ve been there 4-5 times on a weekday and there’s only 2-3 tables filled.
We were seated and put baby in the highchair. Honestly, we felt a bit out of place as it was very quiet and dim in there, and my nephew would yell here and there because he wanted a baby cracker, attention, or an electronic to play with and drop on the floor.
After we ordered we were given some bread that was similar in size and texture to a baguette, and sliced into 1/2 pieces and a olive oil and some-type-of-salt dip. It was pretty good, definitely different from your regular oil and vinegar. The bread was warm, and had a nice crust, and soft on the inside.
To start we ordered the PORTABELLO IN FILO, which is sautéed portabello mushrooms wrapped in phyllo, white, crushed truffle , quattro formaggi – tomato coulis for $15.88. I personally didn’t like the dish very much. You could definitely tell it was Portabello as it had a “meaty”-mushroom taste. I guess the quattro formaggi was just the cheese sauce which didn’t add much to the flavour, neither did the tomato coulis. The phyllo was crunchy and light. It was also was accompanied with a couple sundried tomatoes. Worth $15.88? Not for me – I guess the truffle raises the price a lot. I wish I ordered the Carpaccio for the same price.
For my main I had the VITELLO PICCATA scallopine of veal, minced garlic, parsely, capers, white wine, lemon, mascarpone – polenta, roasted bell pepper for $32.88. This dish got better the more I ate it. On my dish were 3 tender veal cutlets with a wonderful sauce. It was really good and cooked perfectly. Originally I ordered this for the polenta, which was fried and crispy, topped with roasted red pepper. This left me a bit unimpressed as it wasn’t that flavourful. You could tell that it was polenta, as it had a corn flavour to it. The veal did make up for it though. I mean as a side it wasn’t bad, it was an OK accompaniment to the main dish, but it didn’t have a strong flavour. I think I’m overhyping polenta to myself because seeing fried polenta on FoodTV made it look so good. Oh well, the 2-3 times I’ve had it, I’ve been disappointed – I guess kind of like Mac and Cheese. I think I’ll stick to mashed potatoes or other sides. It also came with some green beans. My dish was garnished with a charred lemon. What was I supposed to do with it?
The Birthday girl ordered the ANATRA pan seared Fraser Valley duck breast, braised duck leg, pineau des charentes – orange emulsion, caramelized shallot – ricotta cheese tart for $28.88. I had a little bite of the breast and it was pretty good and tender too. My brother ordered the MERLUZZO pan seared sable fish, encrusted in panko flakes, lemon vinaigrette and white truffle oil, asparagus and wild mushroom rice cake for $31.88. I also tried this a bit, and found out I’m still allergic to seafood. Damnit! He loves it though, and he always orders this dish here.
For dessert we ordered the TIRAMISU Kahlua, Gran Marnier flavoured cream of mascarpone, layered with espresso soaked ladyfingers, topped with curls of bitter chocolate. My brother has to order this, but this time was a bit different. It wasn’t served like a slice of cake. It was served in a dish (please look at the picture because my description sucks). Kind of strange. My first bite was unimpressive, as I got mostly the cream. Second bite was a lot better since I got some of the espresso soaked lady fingers which had a light cake like consistency. The tirimisu was very light and delicate. There were crunchy chocolate balls placed on top too. I’m not much of a coffee lover, so I probably don’t like this as much as some.
We also ordered the LA CREAZIONE – warm white chocolate cheesecake, wrapped in layers of phyllo, topped with sour cherries. I loved this one after the first bite. This was definitely better than the deep fried cheese cake at Galini. The warm cheesecake was a lot dense, heavier, and richer than the tirimisu, and the crispy and light phyllo added a nice texture. The white chocolate cheesecake would probably be already awesome by itself. When you cut into the dessert, the warm cheesecake would slowly kind of ooze out a bit because it was really soft – though it was not runny at all. The strawberry coulis was also a really good sauce and light strawberry flavour to the cheese cake. The thing I could’ve done without though were the cherries. I liked this one more than the tirimisu, maybe because I am cheese cake lover. Each of the desserts were $11.88 or $12.88 a bit expensive, but not really considering the price of everything else. I’d definitely order the cheesecake again. We also ordered some Pinot Noir which was very good. Fruity and not full bodied. The way I like it.
Our waiter came by very often. We got new plates and utensils as we finished each course. He was very attentive, and came by to refill our water when we needed, and refill our wine glasses when we drank some.
Overall, this isn’t somewhere you can go to every week unless you are a baller. I guess splurging and treating family and friends every few months is OK, at least for me. Most of the food was good, and I enjoyed an evening out with my brother and his family, but having such a quiet ambiance (with Andrea Bocelli in the background), I’m not sure if bringing baby along is such a good idea.
1088 Cambie St