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Photo Visit – Lunch at West – August 2012

3 Sep

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

It’s a long weekend here in Canada, which means that I have been making the most of having an extra day off work by going out for meals with B, and catching up with friends for drinks. The inevitable result of drinks with friends is usually a late night, followed by a late start and a big feast to help ward off the effects of consuming too much booze the night before.

As you already know, B and I have made West our go-to Sunday brunch spot and we rarely miss a Sunday brunch there. This Sunday I was a little late out of bed (hey, no judgement, it’s a long weekend!) and so we weren’t really feeling like breakfast but more so like lunch. And that, my friends, is the beauty of brunch. Lunch we could have. We started with the unbelievably decadent West fries with truffle aioli. The aioli is heaven. Pure heaven.

Tower of West Fries – $9.50

Albacore Tuna Club with bacon - $17.50

Slow cooked Short Rib Orecchiette – $16.50

Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Black Truffle and Spaghetti Squash – $19

I really am starting to sound like a broken record with my love for West but you really can’t go wrong with anything at West. Whether it is brunch, or lunch, or one of their well-executed dinners, West has got it going on.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West – Photo Visit – April 2012

2 May

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

Like most people, I can’t help but share when I discover something that impresses me. I am well aware that I have had an obvious infatuation with the Sunday brunch at West lately – there have been multiple posts – but I make no apologies. And I’ll tell you why.

Two weekends ago B and I convinced ourselves to try somewhere other than West for Sunday morning brunch. I’m not going to name names, but this place was incredibly disappointing…waffles that tasted pre-packaged, fried chicken that was tasteless and oily, and a neighbouring table full of loud, obnoxious guys giving graphic details of their escapades from the night before. I know, I know this sounds super snobby but I couldn’t help but think “If only we’d gone to West!” The price-point is the same but the food at West is always excellent, the service is professional, and it is nice and quiet. Hey, we enjoy quiet! :)

It was back to West for us again this Sunday and I ordered the delightful three onion tart, which is quickly becoming a must-order for me. The caramelized onions, the melted leeks, and the balsamic shallots combined with the crispy filo pastry, create a light but tasty dish which is just perfect for brunch.

Three Onion Tart – $14.50

West, thank you for your standards. And for not seating me next to some guy who is telling his friends about how he threw up all over himself. You’ll be seeing me every Sunday from now on.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West- Photo Visit – April 2012

4 Apr

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

We were so impressed with our recent brunch find at West that we went back again this past weekend. Again, we were impressed. I ordered the West French Toast, which was a mascarpone stuffed brioche with stone fruit compote and maple syrup. Wow! This was so good. The brioche actually had swirls of mascarpone inside it. What was great about the toast is that it wasn’t overly sweet either. The brioche kept it quite balanced.

I also can’t rave enough about the small touches, such as the housemade chocolate truffles and the warm bread rolls that you receive throughout the meal.

My idea of a good start to Sunday is waking up to brunch at West, where I can stuff myself with warm, just-out-of-the-oven bread rolls and a hearty and well-excuted brunch. It is going to be damn hard to top Sunday brunch at West.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Brunch at West – March 2012

26 Mar

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

My search for a new brunch place to replace my beloved Refuel (now closed) may have already come to an unexpected end, which was much faster than I had anticipated. I hadn’t really even considered brunch at West until recently when I noticed that they are open for Sunday brunch. After perusing the menu, I was more than tempted.

Their brunch menu is quite small, with only six items, but you can also choose from their lunch menu which is more extensive. I didn’t need to look at lunch as I already had difficulties deciding on brunch. The menu has familiar dishes such as eggs benedict made with crispy pork belly, poached eggs, and buttermilk biscuit for $16.50, a Dungeness crab benny at $17, as well as mascarpone stuffed brioche French toast for $15.50. No wonder I was having trouble deciding.

Short Rib Hash

I ended up with the short rib hash with potatoes, mushrooms, housemade brioche, and poached eggs for $17. The meat was tender, the flavours were great, and the dish was extremely satisfying. This dish would keep the “meat and potato” guys extremely happy.

Mushrooms and Eggs

B ordered the mushrooms and eggs, which was also very good, and at $14.50, was fairly well-priced. I would easily order both dishes again.

There are many reasons why I will be returning to West for brunch; the coffee is good, the complimentary housemade bread and chocolate truffles are a nice touch, the service is predictably very attentive (this is West, after all), the prices are not much more than I’ve paid for mediocre breakfast (see my recent Aphrodite post), and, most importantly, the food is excellent. And if I needed further convincing, they also have bottomless mimosas for $19.50.

This isn’t the place to come for brunch in your Sunday sweats but if you are looking for something more upscale than a diner and food that will truly wake you up, then try West. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

West – Birthday Visit

16 Feb

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems in the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

Another birthday has come and gone and I am now a year older (and hopefully a year wiser). B and I were apart for my birthday so we only got around to celebrating on Friday night (a month later!). As a birthday gift he told me that I could choose any restaurant in the city for my birthday dinner – his treat. Woot! It took a few days of deliberation before I settled on West (other contenders were Le Crocodile, Cioppino’s, and L’Abbatoir). I wanted to ensure that Dine Out Vancouver wasn’t on when we went and so last Friday night was when we finally settled into the chef’s table at West, eagerly awaiting to be spoiled.

I did find the menu slightly confusing to read (more so the on-line version) as it has grown considerably in size since the last time I was there. The menu consists of your standard “first course” and “main course” selections yet there are also “elements”, which are basically smaller plates. These “elements” are then categorized into sea, starch, pasture, and vegetable options. As well as all of that, there is also a sea tasting menu and a land tasting menu. Phew! There is a lot going on. (Now that I’ve summarized it, it doesn’t seem so confusing!).

The small touches that makes West stand out from other local restaurants shouldn’t be overlooked. Freshly baked miniature bread rolls with olive oil and housemade butter were constantly topped up and, once we had placed our order, an amuse bouche of creamy carrot soup was delivered to our table. The kitchen knew it was my birthday in advance and my dessert was piped with “Happy Birthday” which was a nice touch. These things all help to create the experience.

B, always the food enthusiast, decided to order the land tasting menu which consists of six courses, plus extras like an amuse bouche and petit fours. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to eat all that so ordered from the standard menu. Let’s start with the dishes that I ordered as there are less of them…

I started with a delicate, but meaty, venison carpaccio which was finished with a truffle pecorino (hello!?) and a sweet basil gel.

My main course was the daily special which was an Artic Char, served with Dungeness crab, savoy cabbage and bacon.

We were then given a taster of pineapple infused with passionfruit and a pineapple and passionfruit sorbet. This was spectacular. So simple but so delicious.

Dessert for me was chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! I ordered the chocolate tasting menu which was made up of three small desserts; warm chocolate cake filled profiterole, 75% cocoa barry chocolate ganache with raspberry compote and ice-cream, and raspberry chocolate almond cake, milk chocolate semi freddo and almond croquant. It was honestly a little too much for me after having the other two courses so if you do order it make sure you have someone to help. My favourite part was easily the warm chocolate cake filled profiterole.

B’s land tasting menu was epic. He sat like a King on his throne all night, sampling this and slurping on that. You would have thought it was his birthday celebration! Ha!

The first dish that unfortunately we couldn’t get a good photo of (blame the booze!) was a plate of Oyama proscuitto, finished with housemade cheese, plum jellies and basil. I really wish we had a photo of this because it was splendid. The housemade cheese especially stood out.

The second dish was Thiessen quail, Pemberton beets and toasted almond gel – absolutely wonderful.

The next dish made me squirm a little when I read it on the menu; pickled veal tongue with foraged mushroom risotto. I absolutely love risotto…but tongue?! Tongue, I do not like. But I did try it…and I still don’t like it. Yes, it is a mental thing!

Apple cider braised pork cheeks were up next. They were finished with cous cous, apple and brown butter jus. I was too busy enjoying my fish to sample this but now looking at the picture I can’t help but wonder what on earth I could have been thinking?!

At this point, you could also add a selection of two cheese for a $10 supplement, which B did…of course (no picture).

The tasting menu finishes with a dark chocolate pistachio torte with frozen white chocolate green tea mousse and it was paired with an almond cake with a blood orange sorbet.

So, you are probably thinking that the tasting menu must have been ridiculously expensive? Surprisingly, no it wasn’t. It was $68 (plus $10 supplement for cheeses). I think that is a great deal, particularly with the level of service, the quality of the food, and all of the added extras that you get when you dine at West. I am seriously considering returning to have it all over again next week! West always improves a celebration by really spoiling you and making you realize that when food is done properly it really is just a wonderful thing.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

Dine Out 2011 – West

28 Jan

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems of the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

Last night I had the pleasure of going to West for Dine Out Vancouver with B. This morning, as I think back to the evening, I am left thinking about two things:

1/ How incredibly romantic the night was, and

2/ How friggin’ awesome those truffled fries are!

Before you even start reading this post, you should know that West still has a few reservations open for Dine Out so if you are considering going, you should probably stop reading, and go and make a reservation immediately. Long story, short: the 3 course menu is only $38 and worth every penny.

We had a late reservation of 9.30pm so we settled at the bar for a drink whilst we waited for our table. Let me tell you, the bar is impressive. It is not only well-stocked but the bartender was knowledgeable and friendly. I couldn’t get enough of the blood-orange and pomegranate cocktails (comes complete with blood-orange marmalade), which were reasonably priced at $11. B was happy quaffing his Pyrat rum.

We moved to our table in the elegant dining room, where we munched on complimentary bread, butter and an earthy olive oil, until our meal was served.

I started with the Winter Minestrone (winter vegetables, rice bean and basil pesto), whilst B opted for the Squid Tempura (served with quinoa, heirloom radishes, puffed rice and salsa verde). My minestrone was good but besides that, it was fairly nondescript. I do feel as though I have to comment on B’s starter. The presentation of the squid completely threw me! The tempura batter was coloured with squid ink so it was dark. I couldn’t help think that it looked like…well, take a look and tell me what you think it looks like.

…yeah…So the presentation wasn’t very appetizing but its saving grace was that it had a fantastic flavour. It wasn’t at all oily and the squid still had texture. If neither of these takes your fancy, there is a third option of Pate de Campagne.

For the main course, I had the Slow Cooked Angus Beef Short Rib whilst B had the Klippers Farm Squash Cannelloni. Considering that this was Dine Out, I thought that serving would be quite small but, nope, I was wrong. I got two big pieces of beef, drizzled with a cognac and peppercorn jus. The meat was extremely tender and the texture was quite unusual for beef – very smooth and not at all fibrous.

B’s cannelloni was finished with mushrooms, truffle emulsion and flakes of parmesan. The parmesan and the mushrooms helped balance the sweetness of the squash. I tried one of the scallops and am disappointed to say that it didn’t even come close to the flavour of the scallops that I had at Cioppino’s in December. The Lois Lake Steelhead Trout is another main course option, if you don’t want beef or pasta.

Even with all of this good food, the highlight of the meal wasn’t actually part of the Dine Out menu. For me, the best part of the meal was the Truffled Fries, a side dish from the regular menu. Oh. My. God. Talk about heavenly. The fries were golden, slightly crunchy and fragranced with truffle oil. You then dipped these already perfect fries into a smooth black truffle aioli. My taste-buds will be forever thankful. At $9, they are pretty pricey for fries. But, come on, these were so good that angels would cry.

For dessert we both ordered the same thing; Chocolate Cream Cheese Custard (with a base of pecan crumble and topped with raspberry sorbet, and a chocolate cream filled profiterole). Whilst the raspberry sorbet packed a powerful punch of robust raspberries, the chocolate cream cheese custard was delicate and fluffy. Yum! If chocolate isn’t your thing (say what now??), there is a Coconut Tart or an Apple Spice Cake.

Final Thoughts: For $38 (+ drinks) the Dine Out menu represents extremely good value for money. To be completely honest, West still hasn’t impressed me enough to become a favourite of mine yet – it’s a little too posh for me – however, last night they did not put a foot wrong. Service was impeccable, the food was impressive, and most importantly, we had an incredibly romantic evening. If you are looking to give West a trial-run but don’t want to spend a small fortune, try and nab one of those last reservations for Dine Out. And splurge on the $9 Truffled Fries. You won’t regret it.

West Restaurant on Urbanspoon

West

29 Apr

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938
www.westrestaurant.com

Brief Description: One of the gems of the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

I love meeting other foodies. It is so refreshing to find that I am not the only person out there that lives and breathes for food. During a work lunch with some of the women from my office, I discovered that there were two other passionate foodies in the group. An immediate foodie bond was formed and it was decided that we would have to go out for another meal together. The destination? West!! (All photo credits go to Vancity Allie).

For those that read my 2010 Wish List post, you may remember that West has been on my list for quite some time. B and I have almost gone many times but something has always held us up (too many restaurants, too little time!) so when West was chosen as the destination, I became very excited. Not only would I be able to appreciate one of Vancouver’s most revered restaurants but I’d finally get to check it off the list!

West is actually very well concealed amongst all the ritzy stores that line South Granville. You could quite easily stroll past and not notice the unassuming door and “West” sign. Inside, the décor is very elegant and classic in style. Think crisp white table linens, warm wood furniture and a wall-to-wall wine rack. The dining room was quite a bit smaller than I had anticipated but that wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it gave the room a more intimate feel. From the door greeter, to the bartender, to the waiter, the service providers were all extremely professional and friendly and they were what I would classify as “career service providers”. They took their roles seriously and were intent on providing us with a great dining experience. They effortlessly floated from the kitchen, plates in hand, and  descended on the dining room to deliver their bounties. In summary, the service was flawless.

West prides itself on offering contemporary, regional cuisine made from local ingredients. The menu changes with the season so you will always find West Coast influenced dishes that represent what is currently being grown on the land, or swimming in the sea, or grazing in the fields. To get an idea of the type of food that you can expect, some of the dishes that are making up the current spring menu are the Queen Charlotte Halibut with a Read Island Clam Chowder, accompanied by braised gem lettuce and cauliflower florets and puree, as well as a Peace River Lamb Loin, with natural jus and sweet pepper puree, red quinoa and wilted Freisen farm greens. For the main dinner courses, most meals are priced at over $30, so it’s definitely not going to be a cheap visit but I think that West is the kind of place that you reserve for a special occasion or to splurge. Truthfully, the food is a little more ostentatious than what I prefer. I’m not someone who is overly impressed by food that looks like an art piece. Of course, I appreciate the amount of work that goes into making the dishes just right, but, to me, it is unnecessary. A good looking plate is essential but taste is of the utmost importance.

Our visit to West was a lunch visit and so the restaurant was steady but not crazy busy. That meant that we were able to score the highly sought after “Chef’s Table”, where we could watch all of the action taking place in the kitchen. With all the gawking that we were doing we looked like a pack of groupies! Our meal started off with delicious exotic cocktails. I happily slurped on my Blood Orange Fizz, which was sweet and tangy and extremely easy to drink. Complimentary home-made bread and organic butter and olive oil were offered as tasters before we moved on to sharing the Qualicum Bay Scallops.

The perfectly golden scallops were served a top a tower of tender fingerling potatoes and alongside a colourful swirl of parsley puree and a delicately soft poached quail egg. Visually, the dish was stunning. Taste-wise it was incredibly delicate and all of the flavours worked well to complement each other.

With the recommendation of one of my co-diners Allie, who is a West enthusiast, I ordered the mushroom risotto, which wasn’t on the new lunch menu but they cooked it up for us anyway. I’m glad that I trusted in Allie as the risotto was delightful in its simplicity. The rice still had a slight bite to it but not too much and I could taste just a dash of truffle oil. Overall, risotto isn’t one of the fanciest dishes on their menu but it certainly kept me happy. One of our other diners ordered the Hecate Strait Ling Cod, served with caramelized onion puree, asparagus and finished with a mild madras curry sauce. Again, visually it was gorgeous but I didn’t try it so I can’t vouch for taste.

We passed on dessert and, to be honest, most of it was a bit too elaborate for me. When it comes to dessert, I am a simple gal. Even though we didn’t order, we were given lovely bite-sized servings of chocolate truffle and a rhubarb vanilla cookie dessert, which were more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. All up, the lunch cost us $50 each, including tax and tip. Obviously, that is a bit much for lunch but I think it was worth it for the experience.

Final Thoughts: I had a great visit to West. I was impressed and it is easy to see why it is one of the most well-regarded restaurants in Vancouver. Personally, it was a little too showy for me but I appreciate that there are people that feel at home in that kind of environment. I’m just not one of them. I would, however, definitely return for a special occasion.

West Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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