Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dine Out Vancouver 2010 - A Kettle of Fish

A Kettle of Fish is located right next to the Burrard Bridge, and I have been wanting to try this place every time I drive through. Dennis and I love fish. We finally went there with Peter and Helen from Eat-Rotic. All the photos are his. Dine Out Vancouver is a good opportunity for restaurants to showcase their best dishes. Participating restaurants must create a small menu with 2 or 3 choices for appetizer, main course, and dessert paired with VQA wines. The 3 course meal at A Kettle of Fish came to $38, before wine pairings ($8 each), tax, gratuity.

Food (3/5):
The bread (free) was warm, soft, and doughy. Dennis and I really appreciated that there were white, multigrain, and ones with mysterious seeds. They came with whipped butter. (4.5/5). The Crab & Lobster Chowder with apples, celery, crab, and lobster was a disappointment. The soup, more like gravy than soup, didn't have much other than cream and some obscure seafood flavour. The beige soup could use a little more garnish; even a sprinkle of fresh parsley would really perk it up (2.5/5). Tuna Tataki with spiced seaweed dusted Albacore tuna, mixed radish salad with soy vinaigrette and ponzu was the crowd's favourite. It was light, delicious, elegant, and adequately plated. However, it wasn't mind blowing. Peter and Helen feels the tuna dishes from my monthly Dinner Almost Impossible tasted better (3.5/5). Cream of Sunchoke Soup with cauliflower custard and pickled wild mushroom was a hit with the girls. The soup is sour, in a good way, but again it was too creamy and uninspiring (3/5).

Time for main course. Ginger & Soy Marinated Cod with sautéed quinoa with Shiitake mushrooms and baby vegetables, candied peanuts and caramelized miso. The cod was good, but the quinoa was amazing! The caramelized miso sauce was beautiful for plating, but it was dried onto the plated. I have a feeling the dish was prepare in advance and warmed up before serving. (3/5)
Dennis had the Pan Roasted BC Salmon with blue crab roll, whole wheat spaetzle, baby vegetable, saffron sauce and orange reduction. Dennis said the salmon was a fail, the one piece of blue crab roll was doused in mayo, but the whole wheat spaetzle was mind-blowingly delicious (3/5). Jean had the Vegetarian Risotto with creamy carnaroli rice with wild mushroom, baby vegetables and pea puree. This is probably the high light of all the main courses. The dish had a lot of different flavours and it was not overwhelmingly creamy or over-flavoured. However, the portion was small and no effort in plating. (3.5/5)

This dessert is amazing like a seductive lover.

After having a pretty uninspiring evening, we were blown away by the dessert: Calvado Panna Cotta, apple compote, apple cider and maple syrup reduction, ginger brandy snap. The pudding jiggled. Its texture and flavour was absolutely perfectly matched with the sauce. It was perfectly sweet with hints of all types of beautiful flavours and aroma. Everyone responded with guttural noises and a satisfying sigh. [Drumrolls: 5/5] The perfect dessert.
In comparison, the Chocolate Bread Pudding with bittersweet chocolate ganache, basil gelato and sour cherry compote became the neglected, unloved step-sibling [3.5/5]. Peter liked it though.

Service (3/5):
The service was mediocre. We were completely ignored when we were sitting in the lounge area. The host sat us and bartender saw us, but no effort was made to offer us drinks. The restaurant was quiet, so there wasn't any excuse. When we finally seated at the table, dennis was slow to get his drink. I felt the waitress did her best to serve us, but the service just got progressively slower and worse as the dinner went on.

Ambience (3.5/5):
The restaurant has a nice greenhouse feel to it. We admired the dark wood fusion decor in the lounge. This would be a beautiful restaurant to dine at in the summer. It would also be a good place for wedding reception. However, it wasn't particularly romantic or ambient.

Overall Experience (3/5):
Peter always make a point to visit the washroom and rate it. I agree with him that a restaurant is only as good as its washroom. The washroom was average and not well cleaned. I also always make a point to view the wine list. The list was rather limited and the wine pairing for the set menu was subpar. Especially, the wine pairing for the cod was poorly done.

Total: 13/20
A slightly above average restaurant with slightly above average food and service. The dessert is amazing. I would go back for the dessert and give the restaurant a second chance.
Dennis: "I'd go back, but...not for anything that I had except for the dessert"

A Kettle of Fish on Urbanspoon

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