Last night, in preparation for next week’s Vegas culinary extravaganza, I hit one of Vancouver’s top fine dining destinations: West Restaurant on Granville. Joining me on this special evening – none other than my long-time nemesis: Ashleigh.
She was fashionably late, as nemeses are wont to arrive, which allowed me to peruse the various menus, enjoy a Moscow Mule, and build my game plan…
Eventually, she showed up, offering some lame excuse about traffic and what-not although I’m sure I spotted her not twenty minutes earlier outside Pottery Barn shaking down a couple of school kids for pocket change.
I decided to go all out – and dragged her along, kicking and screaming, through a formidable feast. It was the March Tasting Menu for me, but I switched out the sablefish in favor of the risotto, added two pasta dishes, two sides, and a whack o’ desserts. She went with the dainty Vegetarian Course.
Following our amuse-bouches, we were served our first course: a tender and tasty squid tempura with quinoa, heirloom radishes and salsa verde for me, and some very good heirloom beets with organic garden greens, Salt Spring Island goat cheese, hazelnuts, and saba for her. We were off to an excellent start.
We were out of the great strong. Four for four! But hit a couple of bumps in the next course –
As I mentioned, I also ordered a couple of side dishes: a nice, crispy kale dish and –
Then, it was time to move on to our fourth and final savory course. Ashleigh had the Cannelloni au Gratin with Pemberton potato and leeks, cultivated mushrooms, melted gruyere, and just a hint of truffle oil. Loved it. I had the biodynamic aged risotto with BBQ Peking duck, abalone mushroom, and tofu skin which, while good, left me a little underwhelmed. I’m still not sure what, exactly, was Peking about the BBQ duck.
We supplemented our fourth course with –
Next up, we were served a little pre-dessert comprised of a slice of grapefruit and some sort of mango or apricot pudding. Ashleigh seemed to enjoy it.
With that minor distraction out of the way, it was time to finish big with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR proper desserts: Pavlova with angel food cake, blood range mousse and papaya in saffron syrup (didn’t like the tartness of the mousse); whole wheat chocolate cake with tamarind cream (the surprising subtlety of the cake was overwhelmed by the tartness – yes, again – of the accompanying coulis); baked apple sponge cake pudding with apple pecan ice cream, maple candied bacon, pecans, and raspberry coulis (I can’t believe I’m saying this but the bacon was the culprit here – too present in the ice cream and texturally unpleasant); and, my favorite –
I had a bite of each dessert, then sat back and watched Ashleigh plow through the rest.
We were stuffed. They cleared away the plates. Then presented us with a couple of end-of-meal bites…
A magnificent meal, excellent service, and wonderful company. A precursor to the Vegas trip, I hope.
As we headed out, Ashleigh celebrated the fact that she’d survived the multi-course mayhem –
Well, I hate to admit it, but I’m going to miss her.
Especially when it comes time to sending mail or complaining about my lunch order or not finding me a book shelf for my office.