Friday, July 27, 2012

Vancouver's HAWKSWORTH is hip and hopping cuisine(7-24-12)

We opted to dine in our hotel (www.hawksworthrestaurant) the second night where uber-Canadian star chef David Hawksworth holds court. The place is not so large, but it is NOISY and was crowded with a number of large boisterous parties yelling a lot and even cursing at some points; a number of them looked like slobs in baggy shorts, T-shirts and more; so much for fine dining.

We settled in our oh-so-uncomfortable corner booth as the table is quite a ways from the booth and even the pillows supplied give no back support. I am so glad my orthopedist told me to always take the chair and avoid the booths. The decor is SLEEEEK, with beautiful alabaster-looking (they are glass) tables yet once again marred by silly golden woven placemats (is this a BC bad trait?).

Samuel was delighted with the non-alcoholic drink menu and opted for the BLUEBERRY LAVENDER made from pure blueberry juice, fresh lemon, lavender and soda as we settled in to a divine bottle of ROAD 13 JACKPOT 2011 made from Viognier/Rousanne/Marsanne, a superb Rhone blend from the Okanagan that was creamy, rich and smooth.

The amuse was an 18 year old Prosciutto that was melt-in-your-mouth superb with crispy polenta (Samuel asked if he could have ours, so now he likes corn polenta croutons we assume), heirloom tomatoes and burrata. The manager Chad brought these over and said he was going to evict the noisy obnoxious group at the next table as soon as they paid their bill; we loved him instantly.

The water is "house-made" and the sparkling lacks fizz, so you might want to ask if they have San Pellegrino or whatever.

Samuel promised us he would eat a salad and our ever-so-sweet-and-even-more-cute-you could eat him up---server, Brody, brought him an arugula salad that he declared was not to his taste----gee, surprise!

He did gobble up his Canadian STRIP LOIN with smoked OXTAIL, Potato Rissole and even a Chioggia beet here and there with Natural Jus.

Will started with the Caramelized SQUID, Salsa Verde, Artichoke, GUANCIALE & Orange, while I opted for the Crispy Quebec QUAIL, glazed Sweetbreads, Romanescu, Moroccan Couscous and Preserved Lemon. When Brody placed this in front of me, I joked that the quail looked like a meatball and he seemed a bit upset...OOPS. It was a tasty "ball" of boned quail and the little puddles of lemon gelee were superb flavor with each ingredient whether alone or combined.

We switched to a FOXTROT Chardonnay 2010 "Coolshanaugh" from Maramata Bench in the Okanagan which was not as big as the superb Road 13 Rhone Blend and while it was fine with our fish, was a letdown after the first superior wine.

LOIS LAKE STEELHEAD with Olive Oil Sabayon, Parisienne Gnocchi, Asparagus and Chili was an amazing piece of local fish and I loved the sabayon that was made with an odd, but novel, squid-ink hard flat bread crackled on top (it looked like truffles with a crunch!); Will did not care for the creamy sabayon with the fish.

Pan Roasted PACIFIC SABLEFISH was in a Lap Cheong broth with braised daikon, pea tendrils, pickled shiitakes and crispy yam and again revered the superb fish.

The one thing you should avoid is the Salted Herb Bread at $4 a tiny basket and is really something that should come with the meal.

LEMON CREMEUX was Will's dessert choice with Rhubarb and Strawberry, while I went the cheese route, alas for the last time this trip:

BEDDIS BLUE from nearby Salt Spring Island was a treat beyond compare

Blackburn Cheddar was from France (though the name is clearly not)

CORNISH YARG is a cheese I shall always ask for if you have read my UK food reviews

LE CLAIRON was a nice French creamy

these all came with poached rhubarb, hazelnuts, micro greens, fruit bread and apricot puree...a winner of a cheese dish and presentation.

Chad brought out some complimentary mini-chocolate fondants and then

Samuel, now ordering from the adult menu chose the full-size CHOCOLATE FONDANT with Praline Glaze, Toasted Hazelnuts and Citrus Meringue--what a hit.

We finished with Strawberry Gelees, Cherry Marshmallows and even three loafs of blueberry cake for breakfast the next day. These were left behind and I asked Will to run down and retrieve them, but he bumped into Brody on his way up to deliver them. YUM YUM!