Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dine Out Vancouver 2010 - Salmon House

On Sunday, it's Salmon House on the Hill, my last Dine Out venue. The restaurant is nested in west of West Vancouver on a hill over looking the ocean. There are several terrace within the restaurant ensuring every table has full access to its view. Peter lives in Richmond and I live in UBC. This is quite a drive for us, but we insisted on trying something out of our comfort zone. $28 We had a table for 8 people, Jean, John, Peter, Helen, George, Arthur, Dennis, and I. It might as well be a high school reunion! Peter from Eat-Rotic took these photos.

Food (2/5):
The bread (free) was soft and came with a white bean purée. I appreciated the change from butter to something healthy, and it was delicious. (3.5/5) Caraway Crusted 'Pacific' Albacore Tuna was presented nicely but it was blend, over cooked, and cold. However, it was acceptable enough that I could not send it back (2/5). Qualicum Bay Scallops and Tomato Tart was a disappointment. Cold scallops is rather unpleasant and blend. Covering the food with a mat of parsley may perk the dish out, but it does not help with the flavours. Again, the food was edible enough that we could not send it back (2/5). The third appetizer, Sloping Hills Pork Rillette was definitely the best of the three. The chips on top of the pork was delicious and the grill cheese sandwich was cute. The actual pork was not that special but was at least more acceptable than the tuna and scallops (3/5). So far, everything was well presented but cold and blend.

For main course, Dennis was especially excited about the Alder-Grilled Dixon Entrance Pink Salmon. He loved gnocchi, and you could not possibly go wrong with anything cooked in pancetta. Unfortunately, the dish was better on theory than in reality. The salmon was luke warm, the salmon skin was soggy, the meat was dry, and the gnocchi was done wrong. We then spent 5 minute discussing if it's worth sending this plate back. There were consistency issues from plate to plate. Peter's gnocchi was cooked right, but the flavour was blend nevertheless and salmon was still dry the slimy soggy skin. (1.5/5) Miracle Springs Pesto Trout was pretty good. Helen and George both enjoyed it. Is it worth coming back for? "No". Even if you live nearby? "Hm...no. It's good but not that good." (3/5). Ironically, the best dish at the Salmon House was the Grilled Pemberton Meadows Beef Flat Iron. The beef was perfectly cooked, perfectly flavored, and the texture was great for a flat iron steak, but the potato pave was difficult to eat, prawns were small and plain, and the vegetables were repulsive. Yes, repulsive. It was undercooked and the sauce tasted like toothpaste. If I didn't already ate all the beef, I probably would have sent it back. (2/5)

For dessert, the Chocolate Trio was delightful. Everyone loved the chocolate coated strawberry, which had the perfect balance of sweetness, fruit, and bitterness. The chocolate expresso cup was cute. The main chocolate raspberry cake was rather cheap and uninspiring. (3.5) The Ginger Roasted BC Apple Napoleon was a fail. The apple was not adequately roasted, all the ginger flavour were concentrated in this one little chip on top of the mascarpone: Nasty. I like mascarpone, but not with ginger. One mark for good plating. (1/5)

For $28 dollars, we wonder if we are too hard on the restaurant. Peter blamed me for ruining his palate for fish, because he had better seafood at my house. However, when we looked around, no one was smiling. Instead, every table was filled with furrowed brows and frowns. Looked like no one was having a good time.

Service: (2.5/5)
The service was a little odd. Our waitress was nice and the food were fairly prompted, but there were mistakes with our drink order. She did not realize the mistake, we had to point it out to her, and it was not immediately corrected. After the main course, she disappeared and our dessert were served by someone else. I suppose even if we were to send food back, we would have to wave down a different server.

Ambience: (4/5)
We loved the view. The decor was great: friendly and classy. This is a great restaurant for family outing and also dates. It would have been a beautiful place for wedding receptions as well.

Overall Experience: (2.5/5)
The wine menu is very well put together. There were several of my favourite blends and vintage. They serve Dennis's favourite beer. Although the dishes were substandard, they were all presented nicely. Nothing special about their washroom.

Total: (11/20)
I also sort of, grudgingly, want to come back for fireworks. Peter's cousin, who had been to the restaurant before the Dine Out, said that the food was better before the event. Now I have a few months to ponder if I want to risk another meal here for the wine list. Maybe if the weather is nice and we can actually see the view, because that's all you are paying for.


Salmon House on the Hill on Urbanspoon

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