For 6 years, Viv and I lived almost directly across the street from La Terrazza in Yaletown. In fact, we would walk by the place often when we headed into the heart of Downtown or to events at BC Place and Rogers Arena (it was GM Place back then...). But did we ever eat there? Nada. Let's just say that we were partly scared away by the high prices and partly taking it for granted. Yah, it'll always be there, we can eat there anytime... 8 years later and we no longer live nearby, but yes, that meant we finally made it for dinner...
Elaine and Costanza joined us for this long awaited meal on a night that also featured a football game (of the soccer variety) and a concert nearby. The fact we got a free parking spot just steps away was a miracle (or was it my persistent Asian belief that we shouldn't pay to park?). Anyways, we started with a few appies including Calamari e Gamberi (grilled Humboldt squid, crispy baby calamari, Tiger prawns and toasted garlic with a chili lime reduction). The ample amount of baby calamari was tender while crispy on the outside where the batter was well-seasoned. Underneath lay a slice of Humboldt squid which exhibited a spongy tenderness. With a lingering spice and slight acidity, the chili lime reduction complimented the ingredients well. Next up was the Funghi Pizzetta comprised of wild mushrooms, black truffle purée and quattro formaggi sauce. Resembling a cannoli shell, the crust was thin, firmly crispy and light. There was a plethora of tender mushrooms that added to the existing explosion of truffle and cheese.
We added a pasta as well because we couldn't possibly get out of there without trying it. So we decided on the Bucatini with truffled bison meat balls, smoked bacon, asparagus tips alla carbonara. This was a no brainer for us as we wanted something more toothsome and besides, Costanza loves anything carbonara. Our expectations were met with this dish as the bucatini was a firm al dente and it stood up well to the creamy carbonara sauce. In addition, it was sufficiently salty where it provided the necessary flavour without being overwhelming. As for the meatballs, they were meaty with little filler while sporting little nuggets of bison throughout. There was no mistaking the truffle where it might've been a little too strong for the dish. As a side, we added the Polenta Fries which were fantastic in our opinion. Lightly crispy on the outside while creamy and fluffy on the inside, these were everything that I envisioned them to be. I especially enjoyed the proper amount of seasoning including the saltiness of the Parmesan.
Onto our mains, I had the Agnello or oven roasted rack of lamb, crusted in grainy Dijon, roasted potato and vegetable terrine with green mint pea purée. Prepared on the more rare side, the lamb was succulent and tender. It wasn't overly-seasoned where the natural roasted lamb flavour was discernible. I found the pea purée sweet, but was balanced off by the salty demi. I wasn't a huge fan of the potato and vegetable terrine as it wasn't impactful in terms of flavour. As for the texture, the potato was firm while the veggies were soft. Costanza went big with the Costata (wait, that sounds like his nickname...) consisting of a 10 oz. grilled Sterling Silver beef rib eye, buttermilk fried onion rings, roasted mushrooms and green peppercorn sauce. This was a substantial amount of food that even he couldn't finish. He requested for medium-rare and it ended up being more to the medium side. However, that didn't hinder its tenderness. The meat ate really well, especially for a rib-eye. We would've preferred that it wasn't pre-cut though as it lost some of its moisture. In addition to the natural rib-eye flavour, the mushrooms and demi added an woodsy saltiness.
For the ladies, Elaine ended up with the Merluzzo with oven-roasted sable fish panko encrusted, black kale, chive potato cake and white truffle – lemon vinaigrette. Presented high on the plate, it was visually appealing especially with an array of colours. The fish itself was flaky and firm with a crispy crust. We liked how it wasn't aggressively-seasoned so that the fish could stand on its own. Soft, yet with discernible layers, the potato cake was nicely herbed. The chewy kale was hit with a considerable amount of truffle oil, which wasn't really that necessary. Viv opted for the Anatra consisting of pan-seared Fraser Valley duck breast, roasted summer vegetable and goat cheese tart, wild arugula and sherry wine reduction. Sporting a flavourful brine which also ensured its buttery succulence, the duck was a tad salty. The skin was nicely rendered and prepared with an appealing colour. We found the goat cheese tart, mild (not too gamy) and creamy with soft spinach. As for the reduction, it was slightly sweet with a background acidity.
For dessert, we shared La Creazione and Torta D'Amore. Wrapped in phyllo, the mascarpone cheesecake was soft, while not particularly creamy. It was plenty cheesy with a moderate amount of sweetness. The phyllo was nicely crisp as a textural contrast. The Amarena cherries and strawberry coulis added some fruity sweetness as well as a touch of acidity. Universally, we preferred the Torta D'Amore more (warm decadent chocolate cake, lava-like centre and vanilla bean gelato) as it was decadent and nicely executed. As much as lava-type chocolate cakes are pretty standard (see the movie Chef), this was enjoyable nonetheless. It was rich, sweet, chocolaty and dense (in a good way) with a molten centre. The gelato helped cool things off nicely. Well, this meal was a long time coming... It was much better than anticipated with generally pleasant food in relatively large portion sizes. Yes, the prices are still quite high, but at the very least, we bought a coupon that helped things out.
- Decent portion sizes
- Pleasant food
- Attentive service
- High pricing
- A little aggressive with the truffle oil