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Posts tagged ‘ravioli’

Restaurant Review: The Nash

Location: 925 11 St SE

I had first heard about this place from one of my cousins who had suggested this place for brunch. Ever since she put the idea in my head, some four years ago, this place has been on my list. I would still love to try their brunch, but this evening, we came for their dinner.

The Nash is built in a historic building that was once a hotel and saloon. Over the years, it evolved into the place it is now. My first impression upon entering was that it was a lovely, cozy place for friends to gather after work for drinks, but it was clearly a place that catered to the more affluent members of society. As we didn’t have a reservation, we were seated under the condition that we would have to leave by 8:30. Given that it was around 5:30 pm, we figured it would be plenty of time. By the time we finished, it was actually a little past 7 pm.

We were quickly seated and handed menus that were bound in what appeared to be soft leather. I couldn’t really tell if it was real or not (probably not). Having not known that we would be coming here, I had no idea what I wanted to get. Some of the items I wanted to order were outrageously expensive. I ended up settling on the entree size of one of the appetizers, the Confit Chicken Ravioli, while my sister settled on the Charcoal-Roasted BC Salmon and my dad had the Braised Alberta Lamb Shank.

Even for the entree size, I thought the ravioli was quite small. I had chosen to have my ravioli with their wood-fired garlic focaccia. There is something about wood-firing that enhances the flavour of the dish for me. It adds a complexity to the dish that would not be present otherwise. Despite its size, I was very happy with the ravioli. It’s probably one of the better ones I’ve had. I enjoyed the pairing with the peas that gave it both a fresh pop of colour and flavour. I strongly believe that everything on the plate should be there for a reason. Its purpose on the plate should not be purely ornamental. The overall flavours of the dish were well balanced, the pasta was not overcooked or too doughy, and in the end, the small portion size was just perfect. The salmon on the other hand got some mixed reviews. The Nash cooks their salmon to medium, which Val was fine with, and it was accompanied by wild rice, swiss chard, and a microgreen salad. Unfortunately, the swiss chard was far too salty for her and prevented her from finishing her meal. My dad’s lamb shank was the biggest surprise. Normally, I shy away from lamb because of its gamey flavour, but it was virtually undetectable. I loved that it had been braised until it was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. It was well seasoned and not overly salty like a portion of Val’s dish had been. I think if the microgreens had been slightly more acidic, it might’ve helped, but there is nothing more unpleasant than a dish ruined by over-salting one element. The lamb shank came with andouille sausage and smoked cheddar grits. I’m not sure if they made the sausage in house, but it was delicious! The side I had been most excited for were the grits and when it was presented in the form it was in, a giant block, it completely threw me off and I failed to recognize what it was, even when I was eating it. I didn’t clue in until Val had mentioned that that was what the menu had listed as a side. The grits were good, but I had never had it in this way before and I’m not sure if I would again.

A meal is not complete without dessert. For dessert we ordered the Dark Chocolate Pâté. First off, I love dark chocolate. I’ve had chocolate pâtés before and have always loved them. They’re the perfect level of richness and the bitterness of the dark chocolate provides the perfect counterbalance to the richness of the pâté. It was paired with a sour cherry sauce, amaretti, and salted caramel gelato. Let me tell you, that sour cherry sauce is no joke. It certainly lives up to its name. While the sauce does add another level of complexity and balance to the richness of the chocolate, I think it was too much for me. I generally don’t do that well with sour. However, Val absolutely loved it and didn’t find it to be too sour, but then again, Val eats lemons, so what do I know. I honestly think that salted caramel is totally overrated. I love sweet and savoury pairings, but I don’t think that salted caramel is the best thing in the world. I prefer so many other pairings over that one. That is not to say that a well made salted caramel dessert is not delicious, but it doesn’t deserve all the fanfare it’s getting. That said, this is one of the better salted caramel gelatos I’ve had. It isn’t too overpowering which makes it a nice accompaniment to the chocolate. The amaretti tasted a little off to me, but if it hadn’t, I might’ve enjoyed it more as it provided the much needed crunch. Overall, this dessert was very satisfying from both a flavour and texture perspective.

The dinner menu is not cheap. I would definitely still want to come back and try a full three course meal sometime and of course, come back for their brunch, but only on very special occasions. This type of food is definitely my kind of food.

In terms of service, our server was very friendly, if not a little scattered when reading out the specials for the evening. Had I been able to afford it, I probably would’ve wanted to go with the dinner for two (or as he said it, dinner for three as it was a 40 oz bone-in cut of prime rib).

Based on this experience, I would give this restaurant a 4.25/5.

Restaurant Interior
Embossed and debossed newspaper page in the washroom
Confit Chicken Ravioli with Wood-fired garlic focaccia
Braised Alberta Lamb Shank with Cheddar Grits and Broccolini
Charcoal-Roasted BC Salmon
Dark Chocolate Pâté

Restaurant Review: The Old Spaghetti Factory

Location: 53 Water St

Located in Vancouver’s historic Gastown, this place has been one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to. Ever since my parents introduced this to me. Maybe this is why I started falling in love with pasta in the first place. No, I’m kidding, but that’d be an interesting story: the origins of how I came to love pasta. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to eat real pasta, pasta that is al dente and this place no longer meets that requirement. Don’t get me wrong, the food here is still delicious, but if it had been al dente, it would have made it so much more amazing. 

Late lunches have now become a thing for us. I’ve always believed in having a late or early lunch and never one on time especially when eating out because crowds usually gather at the appointed lunch and dinner times and I like to avoid the rush. Lunch here is a great deal because they always start you off with a loaf of sourdough bread with whipped garlic and plain butters. Then you have a choice of soup or salad as a starter, followed by a main of your choice, finishing with a hot tea or coffee and Spumoni ice cream. One person ordered a house salad with the low fat sesame dressing, the other three had soups; two had French Onion and one had the Clam Chowder. While the dressing is low fat, that does not mean that the salad should be doused in dressing. In other words, the salad was way overdressed in that there was a puddle at the end. The Clam Chowder and French Onion are upgrades on the soup option (the original “free” choice would be Minestrone). The broth of the French Onion had a full bodied flavour and it wasn’t overseasoned. The cheese was stringy and chewy and that was the only thing that made it hard to eat. The Clam Chowder was so creamy and rich, but not so much so that it made it hard to finish. In fact, I was left hungering for more. Only one person took advantage of the tea or coffee deal our meal the others ordered soft drinks and just had water. 

The main courses we ordered were Chicken Alfredo with Mushroom and Mascarpone Cheese Ravioli, Red Thai Curry Linguine with Chicken, Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, and Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with Fries. The Ravioli, despite being in a cream sauce was not too rich. When they first brought me my Linguine, they brought me the wrong one, prawn instead of chicken, but our waitress quickly noticed and took it a way before I had a chance to react. When she offered parmesan I said yes without thinking because I absolutely love fresh parmesan. After she left I stared at my dish for a minute before realizing that maybe putting cheese into an “Asian” dish wasn’t the best idea. The first few bites of the Linguine were delicious, but after a while, especially near the bottom where the oil had pooled, it got harder and harder to eat. In terms of aesthetics, the prawns looked so much better in the dish than the chicken. The chicken was tender enough to cut with a fork, but looked rather torn up. The Spaghetti was pretty ordinary. The clams sauce had basil in it and I find that basil is great for reducing that fishy taste often associated with seafood. My friend described it as being fairly light for a cream based sauce. Going to an Italian restaurant and ordering roast beef is probably not advised, but my sister has never been a fan of pasta so she decided to give it a try. Bad idea. The gravy, other than being overly abundant, was extremely salty. Fries are just fries and if someone messed those up…well, then they just suck.

Dessert was ice cream. It was tri-coloured so we were trying to figure out all the flavours. The obvious two were vanilla and chocolate, but the third one, a green on was a little harder. We narrowed it down to some sort of melon, but didn’t get farther than that. The vanilla was a lighter flavour than I was used to, but maybe because I’ve been having vanilla bean ice cream a lot more lately or maybe it was just overpowered by the other flavours.

Overall, my experience here has been really good. I was very impressed by the service and our waitress was really attentive to our needs. It’s definitely a family friendly restaurant and the quaintness of the place is a plus. I would come back again, but next time I’ll stick to the Italian fare and try out that Manicotti as I had originally intended. I would rate this place 4/5.


The Old Spaghetti Factory Exterior


Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter


House Salad with Low Fat Sesame Dressing


Clam Chowder


French Onion Soup


Spaghetti in a Clam Sauce


Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with Fries


Chicken Alfredo with Mushroom and Mascarpone Cheese Ravioli


Red Thai Curry Linguine with Chicken


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