French Laundry, Thomas Keller, Michelin Star, World’s 50 Best, New York; these are the words that associates when it comes to the prestigious Per Se in New York City. Thomas Keller, a world class renowned chef and owner with numerous establishments such as Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, The French laundry, and, of course, Per Se. Per se opened in 2004 and since then it had won numerous awards and honours; In 2010, it is one of the only seven restaurants in the United States to be awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide, and was named 11th- best restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013.
Chef de Cuisine: Eli Kaimeh
Food Type: New American, French
Per Se features two daily prix fixe menus, one of which is vegetarian. Before the meal starts guests are complimented with a butter ball snack, a ball shaped bread stuffed with butter; following the butter ball was the famous Salmon Cornet, a signature snack offered also at The French Laundry created by Thomas Keller. Then the actual prix fixe starts, first comes the famous “Oysters and pearls”, “Sabayon” of pearls tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar (this dish was claimed by many the best thing to eat), and it sure was the dynamic of flavour and texture was mind boggling. Next item was a slow poached elevages perigord moulard duck foie gras ($75 supplement), Hadley Orchards’ Medjool Dates, green almonds, Hakurei turnips, mizuna and aged balsamic vinegar; this dish was far too rich for one person since the portion was generous it can easily be shared by two. Then a beautifully cooked crispy skin Mediterranean Lubina, globe artichokes, sugar snap peas, shishito peppers, agretti and “anchoiade”. Next was the butter poached Nova Scotia lobster, “mousseline de crustaces,” potato “croquette” and pea tendrils; lobster was soft and full of flavour infused into the meat and the color contrast was terrific. Then a Wolfe Ranch’s bobwhite quail followed; cauliflower puree, meiwa kumquats, braised nettles and “sauce perigourdine”. Next is degustation of Four Story Hill Farm’s Berkshire pork, steamed prune pudding, cherry belle radishes, green garlic and horseradish “blanquette”. Then a Spring Brook Farm’s “tarentaise” reserve was the last main, “bouillon de boeuf en gelee,” Persian cucumbers, compressed scallions, cilantro and almond bialy; it was interesting how the chef could infuse that much intensity of flavour into a jello form. At this point, two and a half hours has passed and eight dishes after, comes the desserts portion of the meal. First was “rhubarb and custard,” swiss meringue, rhubarb soda, chamomile custard and buttermilk sherbet; this was simply amazing dessert; best way to describe it would be “A party in your mouth”. Then “toasted popcorn”, salted caramel ganache, chocolate-almond crumble and toasted “pain au lait” ice cream; aside from the “toasted popcorn” another option would be the coconut “parfait”, a mango rice pudding, whipped champagne mango and coconut sorbet delight. Ending off the amazing ten course meal are endless decadent chocolates and macaroons.
What makes Per Se such an iconic world class restaurant? Not only the food was amazing, the service was impeccable. Per Se is the what a prestigious restaurant should be in every way, if they can keep up what they have and continue to create amazing dishes, Per Se will soon be back in the top ten ranking in the future.
Miku Restaurant *Grand Opening Event*
Miku has finally reopened at its new location 70-200 Granville Street! Everyone from loyal guests, management staff, chefs, and the media were thrilled. It’s been a busy few months for the management team since the old location closed to get the Waterfront location ready; all their hard work paid off tremendously as the new Miku space is gorgeous, a chic patio that stretches along side of the building overlooking the beautiful Canada Place and waters.
The main difference between the old and new space, is that the new location is way more open; the old location was much narrower which felt a bit cramped at times during peak hours. The waterfront location offers more open space which consists of dining tables, booths, sushi bar, patio tables and a private room to accommodate a much larger number of customers; the entire space is much more functional in every aspect. And once again, Seigo called in Mr. Hideki Kimura and his team to paint beautiful murals on Miku walls to obtain a level of elegance and zen to the entire space.
On Grand Opening evening, guests were treated to Miku’s signature dishes such as salmon oshi, miso sablefish, aburi sushi and desserts. Following all the tasty treats, Seigo addresses the guests with a speech and a sake ceremony, then a rare sight to be seen where he serenaded everyone with a few songs. The party then continues with picture taking and guests being acquainted to each other, among the guest were Mijune Pak (followmefoodie), Alexandre Despatie (Canadian diver), Riaz Meghij (BT host), and Dawn Chubai (BT host).
Caramel and Bailey birthday cake from Thomas Haas for my sister. Definitely a rich cake but it wasn’t too sweet. This serves 5-8 guest.
Spot Prawns. This season has been great for seafood lovers, especially prawn lovers! These juicy jumpy creatures are huge! These go for $15-$19/lb.
Fable *Boozy Brunch Edition*
One of the busiest and hardest reservations to make at Fable is the “Boozy Brunch” that takes place every last Sunday of the month. The reason it being so popular is alcohol beverages are half price! And of course good food is always on the table.
What should you get at a Fable Brunch? I say whatever strikes your cravings because I tried most dishes on the menu and everything is delicious.
- Benedicts with Olive Oil Hollandaise (Halibut)
- Scrambled Eggs; Curtis’ brioche, rosti
- Fable Eggs: rustic bread, tomato jam
- Omelette: salad, rosti, rustic bread
- Steak and Eggs: rosti, rustic bread
- Pulled Pork Johnny Cakes
Every dish is prepared with well balanced taste and texture to achieve different aspects of flavours, the dish that I enjoy the most is the Halibut Benedict, and the fish is so soft and flavourful and works so well with the poached eggs. The steak and eggs is good but nothing exceptional and I think it’s a bit over priced for what you get. To end off the meal, if you’re lucky you might get some fresh baked cranberry white chocolate cookies.
If you do go for “Boozy Brunch” keep an eye out for me, I’m always there.
Fable Website: http://fablekitchen.ca/
Located on Denman St. & Robson St., this casual and intimate Italian dining is absolutely a winner! Even with a small menu which consists of 15 items to choose from, Nook will definitely satisfy your Italian cravings. Prices are reasonable for what you order and the quality that you are getting. I had tried the meatballs, rigatoni boscaiola, Italian sausage pizza, prosciutto and egg pizza, pork cheek with truffle pizza, and provolone (fresh cheese, prosciutto and fireweed honey on toast); everything was tastefully put together, the pizza was just full of flavor which topped with many fresh ingredients. Pastas are just al dente every time and flavours are so rich that would leave quite the impression in your palate. I’m totally satisfied with the entire experience and definitely looking forward to my next visit.
Nook’s Website: http://nookrestaurant.ca/nookrestaurant.ca/Home.html
Lucky’s Doughnuts by 49th Parallel
The hottest doughnut shop right now in Vancouver is Lucky’s Doughnuts inside 49th Parallel, hands down. You will not see a busier doughnut shop elsewhere, the line-up never stops forming.
Made freshly throughout the day, Lucky’s doughnuts are hand-crafted with natural ingredients from scratch. Their regular inventory line-up ranges from PB&J, Mango Square, to Coconut Bismarck, Orange Pistachio and more; but special ones such as Tiramisu and Crème Brulee are very limited so you better keep your eyes out for those, they go fast. Mind you that these doughnuts are very rich and heavy, so make sure you make room for them. I enjoy the Orange pistachio the most as you get a lot of crunch from the nut itself. Tiramisu was very rich, as it was covered with Tiramisu toppings and fillings, definitely for Tiramisu lovers out there. Crème brulee was executed nicely, as it was well glazed with a layer of torched caramel.
Service: 3/5 (mainly self-serve)
Lucky’s Doughnuts Website: http://www.luckysdoughnuts.com/
SoL Sun Belt Cookery
Formally known as Le Marrakech and Bravo Bistro, Chef Abdel Elatouabi showcases his culinary talents at Sol Sun Belt with his Mediterranean flare with a Moroccan twist.
My friends and I enjoyed brunch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, sitting outside the patio enjoying our Coal Harbour Marina view sipping our sun-kissed juice and coffee. We all got to try a bit of each other’s meal. I ordered the poached eggs & house smoked crispy pork belly and I enjoyed it, the egg was poached perfectly with runny yolk and the greens were so good they were dressed with truffle oil, after I finished them I wanted more because they were so good; the crispy pork was a bit dry and a bit hard but the egg offsets those. The duck confit was good, duck was super flavourful with every bite and the fried bits were a nice mix for texture.
Brunch was good and we were planning to return soon, I haven’t tried their dinner menu, but if it’s the Chef from Bravo Bistro behind the kitchen I’m sure Sol Sun Belt won’t disappoint.
Merchant’s Oyster Bar **Dinner Edition**
Located on the corner of Commercial Drive and Gravelly Street, Merchant’s Oyster Bar not only serve great brunch, which I have a review on, but dinner is also phenomenal.
Merchant’s has a great dinner menu and also a delightful daily board for dinner only. My personal favorites are, the Charcuterie, bone marrow, baked salmon, and the bison tartare, those are the must haves for anyone that go and if you can eat more then order the rest. The Charcuterie is written on the daily board and is assembled by variety of preserved meat selections such as prosciutto, pancetta, coppa, bresaola and other meat which changes daily, but you always get a good variety of meat and pate. The bone marrow is just super flavourful and packed with heat so watch out! And make sure to soak up all the marrow oil with your bread, it’s just to die for. Baked salmon with brown butter cream is consistently done to perfection, as the meat is super soft and flavorful while keeping the skin crispy. The Albacore tuna poke was nice and light, well prepared with preserved lemon, cucumber and radish; but I thought it was a bit over priced for what you get. Bison tartare was very good, seasoning done very well here definitely a great light protein dish. White wine, garlic sausage with mustard was good, nothing exceptional but would have like the casing to be crispier to add more crunch to the bite. To wrap up the meal the right way, definitely get the olive oil ice cream paired with an order of the chocolate terrine as mentioned before.
There you have it folks, Merchant’s is my new go to spot and this place sure won’t disappoint. Typing this review up makes me want to go over there now. Haha.
Merchant’s Website: http://merchantsoysterbar.ca/
Located in the Kitsilano, 2836 W. 4th Ave. (between W. $4th & MacDonald), this French Bistro is cooking up a big success ever since they opened in March 2011. Lead by Steeve Raye the son of renowned Chef Alain Raye of La Regalade French Bistro (http://www.laregalade.com/) and Steeve is serving up flavourful French style dishes and occasional roast suckling pig.
After I got seated, I saw tables around me had skillets on their table and what I saw looked amazingly delicious. The server came by to take our orders and I knew what I wanted right away, the Lyon Breakfast, Lyon is what most customers order and is their top dish.
The Lyon Breakfast consist of 2 poached eggs (or any style), mushrooms, bacon, pearl onions, spinach, potatoes, and red wine sauce, salad. When I got my order, I started drooling because it smelled amazing! I was enjoying every bite and thought that I will return very soon because it tasted so good. The Brittany Breakfast (which they no longer serve) comes with 2 scrambled eggs, mussels, shrimp, fish, fish veloute, potatoes and salad. The white cream sauce was very rich and full of seafood flavour, this dish didn’t feel like a brunch dish rather more of a dinner entree, but delicious nonetheless.
Cafe Regalade is also famous for their fresh pancakes with either Blueberries or Banana to choose from. We got the blueberries and I got to say, it is one of the best pancakes around; The pancake is filled with lots of blueberries and pan fried to perfection as the side is crispy like a muffin crust.
I really enjoyed Cafe Regalade. I was already thinking of my next visit once I left the restaurant. You got to try this place if you enjoy rich French dishes, as Cafe Regalade became one of my new favourite French Bistro.
Cafe Regalade Website: http://www.caferegalade.com/