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Posts tagged ‘Salmon’

Restaurant Review: Bistro 101

Location: 1505 W 2nd Ave
Website: https://www.picachef.com/bistro-101-restaurant

This is our second time at Bistro 101. The first time was with our family and we had gone on a Friday night without a reservation. Friday nights are buffet, while Monday-Thursday have a set course dinner. Each month has a different menu,

Tonight was a great way to finish off our trip to Vancouver. Though wait times are bit longer for dishes to be served because Bistro 101 is a place for culinary arts students to practice, the price is a little cheaper, but they are by no means less delicious. With three choices on the menu and four of us, we were pretty much able to try everything on the menu. The only person who ordered a drink was my friend Julia and she got a Carbonated Rose Lemonade. We all placed our order and I was surprised when our server Shelton brought out a complementary amuse bouche. It was cream cheese wrapped in salmon topped with capers and lemon zest served on a fried wonton wrapper. Other than being on the salty side, it was actually really good! They also provide complementary bread with whipped butter. There was so much variety, but my favourite was the muffin looking one that reminded me of the biscuits at Red Lobster and the other looked like a small loaf with really chewy crust (if you haven’t noticed, I love food with a chewy texture, hence Korean crystal noodles and al dente pasta). Since there were four of us, we had to double up on one of the appetizers.  Two of us got the prawn bisque, one got the chickpea fritters and the other got the calamari. The calamari was well seasoned, I had no problems with anything on the plate being over salted. There were only four piece of calamari arranged around a mound of cooked greens. The presentation was a bit lacking, but what it lacked in appearance it made up for in taste.The greens were like salad greens but cooked and I thought that I wouldn’t like it but with the garlic based Asian sauce made a huge difference. They were so delicious! However, I did have a problem with the oiliness of the dish as a whole.  If there had being something tart, the dish may not have come off as being so heavy. The prawn bisque was creamy and the addition of the chili oil “really made the dish man” to quote my sister’s friend, Vi. Or more eloquently put, the chili oil added added a new level of depth to the dish. My sister, Valerie, however, wishes that the prawns were a little smaller as they were hard to cut through and made it difficult to eat and still look decent. The chickpea fritters were well crisped on the outside, but had a very smooth consistency within. The chickpea fritter was topped with some sort of aioli and lemon zest., served with grilled eggplant roses on a bed mixed greens. According to Julia, “the lemon zest was very fresh~~~~.” Personally, I would have liked to have seen the eggplant seasoned a little more aggressively. Of the three dishes, this had to be the most beautiful one. Overall, appetizers were small portions that did what they were made to do, stimulate our appetite for the meal to come while holding us for a bit longer until the mains came.

We were so immersed in the view and our conversation we didn’t even notice that it took longer than usual for our mains to come. I only knew that it had taken longer than usual because Shelton apologized for the delay. There were three options for mains, but we only chose two of the three. Vi and I ordered the Grilled Salmon, while Julia and Valerie ordered the Pork Tenderloin. Both entrees turned out a little different from what was described on the menu, which was good and bad in some ways. Instead of fresh pasta, the salmon came with potato patties. As the patties were fried, there was a lot of oil for this dish too. In someways the fresh pasta would have been so much better because that would have given the chef the choice to go with a light, citrus or fresh herb sauce. The addition of capers to the asparagus was the only only saving grace to this dish. The inherent tartness of the capers helped to counterbalance the potatoes. However, that was nullified by the fact that the asparagus and capers were drowned in a sauce that was in and of itself quite oily. The star of the dish, the salmon, was really the star. The meat was light and came apart easily, the seasoning was not so overpowering that it destroyed the tender salmon’s taste. The tenderloin was succulent and started out pink, but as the meal went on the pork continued to cook so that in the end it was completely cooked through. It was lightly seasoned, but still flavourful. The pork was served on a bed of white beans that were a little undercooked for Valerie’s liking and also lightly seasoned. Instead of swiss chard and rhubarb, the pork was served with one floret of broccolini and grilled bell peppers. The broccolini wasn’t bitter as is often the case and the bell peppers were unseasoned, but this allowed for its naturally sweet flavour to shine.

Last was dessert. Four people, four desserts. Valerie had the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Poached Peaches in a Hibiscus Syrup, Vi had the Caramel Semifreddo, Julia had the Red Velvet Mousse Cake with Mint Chocolate Ice cream which was the dessert of the day, and I had the Neapolitan. The Panna Cotta was by far the most beautiful. Valerie’s favourite part of the dish was the candied nuts in the house made granola. I thought the caramelized sugar twill was pretty cool, it would have added more aesthetic appeal if it had been made into a longer, more graceful shape. The hibiscus syrup was light and not overly sweet and eaten as a whole was a truly amazing finish to an already amazing meal. Vi ate the Caramel Semifreddo so fast I didn’t even see what had happened. The next thing I knew she was asking the waiter if it’d be okay to order a second dessert. The semifreddo was served on top of a pistachio financiers and garnished with an apricot Earl Grey coulis. I didn’t get much feedback on this one, but based on what I know about each individual element, it would have been a pretty good dish. The Red Velvet cake, though it got a big reaction from everyone wasn’t really that special. What was special was how beautiful it looked. The colours on this plate were more vibrant than anything we ordered all night. I loved my Neapolitan so much so that I strayed from the original plan to share and try out everyone else’s desserts; I was not sharing this with anybody! The balance in this dish was perfect, better than anything else I had ordered all night (not a sweet person, usually I’d be the one raving about the savoury, but not tonight). The Neapolitan comprised of strawberry vanilla mousse cake, strawberry gelée, chocolate ice cream garnished with a strawberry, white chocolate chip on top of each slice of cake. A great twist on a classic.

Bistro 101 was one of the higher class restaurants we’d been to on this trip. It’s always been a great experience here and for the price you pay, this place is without compare. I would come here time and time again for the friendly service and amazing food. I will come back again the next time I’m in Vancouver. My rating for this place is 4.75/5.

Complementary Bread

Complementary Bread

Amuse Bouche: Salmon wrapped Cream Cheese topped with Capers and Lemon Zest

Amuse Bouche: Salmon wrapped Cream Cheese topped with Capers and Lemon Zest

Wok Fried Calamari with Asian Flavours

Wok Fried Calamari with Asian Flavours

Prawn Bisque

Prawn Bisque

Chickpea Fritters

Chickpea Fritters

Grilled Salmon

Grilled Salmon

Pork Tenderloin with White Beans

Pork Tenderloin with White Beans

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Poached Peaches and Hibiscus Syrup

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Poached Peaches and Hibiscus Syrup

Caramel Semifreddo

Caramel Semifreddo

Neapolitan

Neapolitan

Dessert of the Day: Red Velvet Mousse Cake with Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Dessert of the Day: Red Velvet Mousse Cake with Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Restaurant Review: Sushi Boat

Location: 806 Crowfoot Crescent NW
Website: http://www.sushiboat.co/

This is one of the sushi places that our family returns to time after time. Not only is the food reasonably priced, but it’s also good. They are constantly introducing new items to their menus to keep it fresh and up-to-date. Today for example, there were about 6 new dishes added to the menu, with about that many being discontinued. What I enjoy most about sushi boat is their boats (hence their name). Styled like a self-serve tapas bar, different coloured plates float past you showcasing a few of their popular plates. Of course if you don’t see what you like you can always order from one of the many waitresses hovering by waiting to help.

Normally we go for dinner, but today we decided to go for lunch, just my sister and I. The place opened precisely at 11:45 and there was a mad rush for the seats. In total we ordered “19” plates. Sushi rolls usually come in fours, while nigiri comes in twos. We had two plates of the spicy tuna, two plates of uni, four plates of creamy scallop, one plate of toro nigiri, one plate of tuna nigiri, one of seared salmon, one plate of Hawaiian Poke, two of unagi nigiri, one of salmon nigiri, one plate of gyoza, one of korokke, and two green tea ice creams to round out the meal.

The spicy tuna is the pretty much one of the only dishes in which I’m able to eat raw fish. Typically I go with salmon because it has a firmer texture and doesn’t feel like I’m eating raw mush, but the spicy mayo sauce atop the spicy tuna rolls makes it one of my favourites. Uni is an acquired taste. It has a very unique taste that is very clearly seafoody, but the fishiness is not the same as the taste of when seafood goes bad, rather it is a pure, crystalline taste, if that makes any sense. In addition to its pure taste it is rich and smooth, but not creamy. My sister originally hated it, but with time she came to love it. The four plates of creamy scallops was a bit of a mistake. We had intended to order four pieces (two orders) not four plates. However, this is my sister’s all time favourite, so I guess it wasn’t so bad. I tried this dish again today but can’t see why she would like it that much. The scallops don’t have much taste, but the crunch of the tobiko provides a nice contrast to the soft, slimy, mayo coated scallops. Toro is tuna belly and due to the fat marbling, it is one of the most delicious pieces. It is so tender and the melt in your mouth quality of this cut of fish has made it one of the staples when we go to this restaurant. Another staple is the seared salmon.It’s not bad, but it’s another of my sister’s favourites. She doesn’t even know why she likes it but she does. However, in recent times she has been disappointed because they used to sear the salmon and then top it with a thin line of mayo, but now they sear it with the mayo on top leaving it a messy, melty blob of unappealingness. The Hawaiian Poke is one of their new items, so we decided to give it a try. Upon lifting off the lid, we were greeted with the delightful aromatic scent of sesame oil. This was my first time I have had a poke and it was delicious. If you’ve read my other reviews, I don’t handle my raw fish well, but now I’m happy to say that I can add this to my repertoire of raw fish. Unagi….where do I start with this one. Best. Thing. Ever. It’s fresh water eel, grilled and coated in a sticky, sweet, teriyaki sauce. Usually we have unagi as a nigiri, but sometimes we have it in a roll or on top of rice, all of which are delicious. The salmon nigiri was also for my sister. Her advice when choosing a piece is to look for a piece with consistent marbling. Of course it’s important to also check the cut (was it shredded or nicely sliced) as well as the thickness. Obviously, a thicker cut is more expensive, but when you’re getting a piece of nigiri, they are all the same price (if they’re on the same coloured plate) and the chef who prepared it may have made it slightly thicker, so be on the look out for that. The gyoza and korokke were primarily for me and I would have grabbed the calamari if I wasn’t already as full as I was by this point in the meal. The gyoza had an excellently crisped exterior and had just the right amount of sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on it. This is my first time trying korokke. I’ve had it in a roll before, but I’ve never had a whole piece. It was served with BBQ sauce on the side to help cut through the greasiness of the fried potato, but I didn’t used all that much because it felt strange to have BBQ sauce with Japanese food. The tanginess of the BBQ sauce did help a little though, so I can understand why it was served alongside the korokke. Korokke is a borrowed word; it comes from the French word croquette. As always, we round out our meal with a dessert and I really love their green tea ice cream. It’s nothing like Sakana’s, but for the price we’re paying it’s good.

Sometimes the waitresses need to be flagged down, but otherwise they are pretty attentive and service is good. Based on price and taste I would certainly return and recommend this place to everyone and anyone (especially if you enjoy sushi). I would rate this place a 4/5.

Uni

Uni

Creamy Scallop

Creamy Scallop

Starting Top Right going clockwise: Hawaiian Poke, tuna, seared salmon, toro

Starting Top Right going clockwise: Hawaiian Poke, tuna, seared salmon, toro

Unagi

Unagi with a piece of salmon nigiri behind

Gyoza

Gyoza

Korokke

Korokke

Spicy Tuna

Spicy Tuna

Green Tea Ice Cream

Green Tea Ice Cream

Restaurant Review: La Viena

Location: 802 16 Ave NW

First impressions are everything and this place is no exception. I was first recommended this restaurant when it was still in Kensington, but I never got the chance to go until now. A friend of mine worked their briefly and praised it quite highly, my dad went and said that I would like it, so I was really expecting a lot from this place. I’m sorry to say that all my expectations were disappointed.

La Viena’s new location is on 16th Ave, where the North Hill Steakhouse used to be. The interior is a bit old and dingy, but it also gives off a homey kind of vibe. We had to wait for a good ten minutes before anyone noticed that we had come in. In fact, a small line had formed behind us by the time someone came to the front to seat us. We were seated and promptly given water and some bread and butter. Normally our family doesn’t take long to decide what we want to eat, average about five minutes or so; today was no exception. We decided on our mains and an appetizer, but the waiter was nowhere in sight. We thought that when he returned with our drinks we could order right away, we were wrong. He dropped off our drinks and my dad made to order, but the guy just walked away. For the next ten to fifteen minutes we spent our time trying to flag down the waiter, which was so annoying because he just kept pretending not to see us. At one point he was just standing there doing nothing and I was like seriously? We quickly ordered and waited for our food to come. While we waited, we munched on some of the bread and flavourless whipped butter. I mean, it was nice that there was complementary bread and butter, but when it’s just like oil on bread, it’s not even worth eating. The bread wasn’t even warm, which was a tad disappointing to me. The next disappointment didn’t wait long to manifest. The waiter came with our mains, apologizing that our appetizer had somehow been given to another table. He didn’t sound like he even cared as he asked if we still wanted it. I  did, so we asked for him to bring it. The only plus to it was that it did essentially come out in thirty seconds as he promised, but it was not good. The calamari was weird, I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but I’ll give it go. It was easy to bite through but there were like some strands that were really elasticky and snapped against my lip which kinda hurt. The tomato dipping sauce was far too runny to be considered a dipping sauce. If you expect me to dip something into it, it has to be able to stick to whatever it is that’s being dipped into it. We ended up having to “scoop” the tomato sauce on with the calamari and awkwardly balance it without it falling off and splattering on the table. The only good thing about the calamari was the crunch, but even so, the batter didn’t hold together well and it crumbled if too much force was applied.

For my main, I ordered the Penne Hawaii at the behest of my friend who used to work here, my mom had the Filetto Di Salmone Granchio and my dad had the Vitello alla Gambertti Pepper (I think). My first thought when my dish was presented to me was, “that’s not penne.” It was closer to either rigatoni. However, presentation is only half of it, the other half is the taste. I always try my dishes before I add anything to it and, despite the description on the menu stating that the sausage was hot, it was not, prompting me to have to add a sprinkling of cayenne to add that much needed kick to the dish. It was a unique take on Italian with the addition of pineapples to the dish and surprisingly it worked. Overall, it was a pretty good dish. There was a good balance of heat, sweet, and savory. And I was happy to say that there was a fair amount of meat, so I didn’t have to go searching for it. The pineapples, thankfully didn’t taste overcooked, but it was still hot as hell. But if it’s Italian, my pasta better be al dente, it wasn’t. My mom said her dish was okay, the capers were a bit salty and the promised crab meat nowhere to be found (she found it later dispersed in the white wine sauce). When the waiter dropped off the calamari, he offered my dad pepper…only my dad. My mom was annoyed since she would have really liked some pepper on her fish which tasted fishy (like it’s going bad or has been frozen and thawed out, just not fresh) and the pepper would have helped to diminish the taste. On another note, so would a lemon, but that wasn’t provided either. My dad’s veal and shrimps in a demi-glaze brandy and cream sauce looked kinda like gravy. It was brown and thick and looked generally unappealing. Luckily it tasted better than it looked. However, my dad said (not sure if he was complaining or just saying, can never tell with him) that the veal was not breaded. I personally didn’t have a problem with it being not breaded because the breading would have made the veal so much heavier and with a cream sauce that’s the last thing you’d want.

To round off the meal we finished with a tiramisu. Tiramisu, when made well can be amazing. This I can tell you was not. There was no coffee or wine flavour; it was cream with lady fingers and chocolate syrup. Not good.

Honestly this place was disappointment after disappointment. From the speed of service, to the temperature of food, to the fact that they gave our appetizer to someone else! There’s no other way to describe my disappointment than that I was so disappointed. So much hype for nothing. Based on everything that’s happened, I’d have to rate this place a 2.5/5.

Succulents

Succulents

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

Calamari

Calamari

Penne Hawaii

Penne Hawaii

Vitello Alla Gambertti Pepper

Vitello Alla Gambertti Pepper

Filetto Di Salmone Granchio

Filetto Di Salmone Granchio

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

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