Recently, I got an invite to try out a new spot in Yaletown named simply Yaletown L'antipasto. Well, that pretty much says it all. The location and the type of food are all in the name. As part of the invite, I got to bring a guest and naturally I would choose "prolific Vancouver blogger and contestant from Food Network Canada's Recipe to Riches, Mijune Pak". Yes, that is how I addressed her in my reply email to Yaletown L'antipasto. LOL... Hey, she's famous! Well, I think her high heels are pretty famous too thanks to Food Network Canada and their producers... Anyways, we met up there to sample their wares. We were greeted by the proprietors, Matti and Sachi, who we entrusted in creating a menu that would give us an idea about their food.
We started off with the Yaletown L'antipasto Platter consisting of sundried tomatoes, olives, roasted red pepper, ciopollini onions, artichoke heart, Ricotta Dura, Piave Stravecchio, Cabrales, Provolone Picante, Hand Cut Bone-in Prosciutto San Daniele, Culatello, Salame Milano and Salame Tipo Felino. This was a pretty straight-forward platter with the usual items combined with some more "exclusive" selections such as the hand-cut bone-in prosciutto proudly displayed at the front counter. Call it psychological (due to its prominent display), but I did enjoy the prosciutto since it had a nice meat texture while not being overly salty. It had a smooth fatty flavour. The one cheese that stood out must've been the Cabrales. Something about blue cheese, the sharpness and the full flavour. However, it did overwhelm everything, so it was best to eat it alone. We were served 2 wines (Tolle Colle Secco Montepulciano and Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc) which went well with the platter.
Salt (which is a wine bar), they do have pasta specials everyday. We got to sample 2 of them beginning with the Rigatoni with Pork Cheek. Seeing how the only cooking apparatus' they have behind the counter were some induction burners, I was pretty amazed at how this pasta turned out. The rigatoni was a firm al dente while the sauce was pretty mild. I got some of the salted pork cheek flavour, but would've preferred even more. I actually quite liked this pasta. The same could not be said about the Gorgonzola & Walnut Ravioli in four cheese sauce. I found the filling far too dense and doughy with not enough walnuts. I think only 2 of the raviolis I had contained any walnuts. I didn't get the nice sharpness associated with Gorgonzola either. On the positive side, the four cheese sauce was decent with a thick consistency and definitely cheesy.
After the pastas, we were presented with the Bresaola with arugula, button mushrooms, shaved Parmigiana and a drizzle of EVOO. This was a pleasant dish consisting of good ingredients. Not much to complain about due to the large mound of everything on top of the bresaola. Yes, there is only that much I can talk about air-dried beef. Now, something out of left field. Something as simple as Tuscan Beans should not elicit any excitement. Yet, this was my favourite dish of the night. With some EVOO and sage, this was rich and tasty. I could've used more sage other than the garnish, but that wasn't a huge issue. Next, we had the Vitello Tonnato which is sliced veal topped by a tuna-flavoured mayonnaise. The veal here was fork tender, yet slightly dry. The plethora of sauce on top helped alleviate this problem. I found the sauce to be tart from the capers and not too heavy. Not a bad version, however, I prefer the one from Cafe Regalade more since they prepared the veal medium-rare which made it more moist. Granted, Cafe Regalade is a French restaurant, so it is like comparing apples to oranges.
After all this, we still had room for dessert. I guess with Mijune around, it wouldn't matter anyways. We could've eaten a 12-course meal and she'd still have several desserts. First up was the Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis. One scoop into the panna cotta and the texture seemed strange to me. It was too soft and in fact, it was later confirmed that it hadn't set properly. I found it on the sweeter side while Mijune thought it was fine (remember, she has the sweet tooth!). However, when I combined the panna cotta with the coulis, it seemed to balance out and then I found the flavours to be fine.
For our second dessert, we had the Tiramisu. Okay, I won't mince words here, I wasn't a huge fan of this. Once beyond the top creamy layers, the bottom was quite watery. In turn, the flavours were diluted and I couldn't get much in the way of anything, let alone any espresso or even sweetness. It started off fine, yet fizzled at the end. In a way, this sums up the meal. The beginning was quite good with a quality antipasto platter followed by a really good rigatoni. The ravioli brought things down a bit, only to be raised again by the bresaola, wonderful Tuscan beans and decent Vitello Tonnato. Then came the desserts and it kind of fell flat. Hit and miss pretty much sums up it. In order to have a good experience at Yaletown L'antipasto, you would need to strategically order your items (unless they can tweak some of the weaker dishes).
- Quaint spot
- Quality ingredients
- Owners seem genuine
- Typical Yaletown prices (hey, operating expenses are high here)
- Tight seating
- Hit and miss food