|Sunchoke foam with crispy bacon|
This was a five course tasting menu, and three of us had the well chosen wine pairings with the menu. The fourth person was our driver for the evening, and when we asked for a suggestion for the one glass he could have, the server let us know they offered half glasses so he could pair one half glass of the whites from our pairings with the first two courses, and do the same for the red with the next two courses and skip the dessert wine. What a refreshing change from the super-size offerings and upselling we see at most restaurants - this restaurant has been smart enough to respond to the strict drinking and driving laws found here (and in other global destinations) by providing a solution that allows enjoyment without guilt or danger. The service across the board was attentive but not intrusive, warm but not overt, which when you are changing glasses and cutlery with every course is a feat in itself. The food was without reproach, each bite of every course offering pleasure, and the wines truly well matched. I also appreciated their use of seasonal and local offerings, and the way the Chef had thoughtfully garnished every dish. This restaurant is tucked away on Hastings Street in Burnaby, certainly worth the short drive and highly recommended.
This truly amazing meal had me thinking about the other fantastic places I have had the opportunity to eat, and here is my short list, in no particular order of best bites in great environments where excellent service is also the norm.
- The Irish Table, Cannon Beach Oregon. Tucked away behind the also excellent Sleepy Monk Coffee shop, a small well crafted menu in a very cute location.
- Lula Cafe, Chicago. When Susan Cope asked the Chef she works with in Arizona to recommend a restaurant in Chicago he texted back with our reservation! They grow their own greens and herbs in the basement and on an empty lot next door - delicious and incredibly flexible, even when we picked our own favorite components from the dessert menu, they just whipped us up amazing plates.
- Bluewater Cafe, Vancouver and CinCin, Vancouver. Always delicious.
- Araxi Restaurant, Whistler. Forget they were a prize on Hell's Kitchen - another restaurant where it always is fantastic. Love the truffle oil popcorn at the bar too.
- Province, Chicago. Enjoyed with a small group during GMIC, the LEED Gold restaurant also delivered on flavour with excellent, local products.
- Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Excellent meal enjoyed with amazing people from the IMEX show floor - truly a great experience.
- Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. Any restaurant that can make brussels sprouts taste this good, and the beef stew, and being in Vegas with my two sisters-in-law and 21 year old niece... all good.
- Glowbal, Vancouver. I can still taste the halibut and Italian Couscous.
- Boneta, Vancouver. Everything about this restaurant is great. Funky location in Gastown, Neil the sommelier is perfection at pairing and has a great energy, and the food - fantastic. The company, also excellent.
- Pure Lotus, Beijing. Savvy monks run this restaurant where every bite - short rib or shark fin - is created from vegetables and tastes like something else. Food magic.
This is just my list - I would love to hear from you as well about places you have loved.