With a 50% rating on Urbanspoon, Pier 7 Restaurant + Bar is one of those establishments that I am often apprehensive in visiting. But by the same token, I've been to several 80%+ restaurants and have been bitterly disappointed. Hence, when I got an invite to a tasting at Pier 7, I figured why not give it a shot? It would be a great way to see whether the rating is warranted or not. Besides, I have visited the place before during the North Van Tasting Plates and was impressed with the location and view.
Now a view is one thing, but what about the food? We were started off with a sampler size of their Smoked Albacore Tuna Niçoise comprised of smoked tuna, butter poached green beans, olives, tomato, Yukon potato, fleur de sel and frisee in a light vinaigrette. All of the individual components were well-prepared including the crunchy beans, plump tomato, soft potato and buttery smoky tuna. Despite the necessary saltiness from the olives and tuna, the vinaigrette itself was not very apparent. Next up we were presented with the Roasted Beet Salad consisting of d’anjou pear, goat's feta cheese, fleur de sel and frisee. With 3 types of beets, we got a bit of everything including the sweetness of the red, Earthiness of the golden and strong root flavour of the striped. The salty goat's cheese was a nice balance as well as an important flavouring agent as the dish was quite mild.
Onto a dish that is yet on the menu, we tried the Braised Short Rib Croquette and Seared Sea Diver Scallops with carrot puree, micro greens, fleur de sel and pickled grapes. The light crispiness and overall airiness of the croquette came as a welcomed surprise. With velvety whipped potatoes, moist and tender short rib, basil and green onion, the croquette was money. The best item of our meal for sure. As for the scallops, they were nicely seared on both sides while still being buttery soft on the inside. The carrot puree was smooth, sweet and mild enough to not interfere with the natural sweetness of the scallops. Our final savoury dish was the Lamb Sirloin which was sous-vide and then grilled with a harissa rub. Underneath was a Persian-inspired ratatouille as well as a red wine reduction, lemon sauce and squash puree. With all these ingredients, the flavours did get a bit muddled but each component was well-prepared (could've done with a few less things on the plate). The lamb was sufficiently tender, but was a touch sinewy. We liked the harissa-tomato rub as it added a tasty sweet spiciness to the meat. In addition, the ratatouille was indeed unique tasting with the flavours of cumin, cardamom and cinnamon (Advieh spice mixture).
For dessert, we had the House-Made Waffle with chocolate mousse, almond tuile, fresh berries and raspberry coulis. After a relatively pleasant meal, it was unfortunate that the waffle was plain terrible. It was as if they forgot to put baking soda in the batter as it was super dense, hard and dry. On the other hand, the mousse quenelles were light, minimally sweet and chocolaty ending off with an appealing bitterness. Waffle withstanding, the food we sampled at Pier 7 was more than acceptable. Prices on the menu seem fair for the awesome location as well as the inviting dining space. As much as the food wasn't perfect (and it never is), it was better than average, so a 50% rating seems rather low. Maybe things have changed for the better?
*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were comped*
- Reasonable pricing given its location and style
- Decent eats (that we had)
- Nice location
- Kitchen was a little backed up from the full house
- Seasoning could've been more aggresive
- Waffle was not good