Sherman's Food Adventures: Dockside


Location, location, location...  Probably the most important word (repeated 3 times) when it comes to many businesses and your own personal property.  So when a restaurant sports a killer view practically right on the water, it already has an advantage.  To further enhance its allure, how about a location in a predominantly touristy spot?  Well, that is almost a recipe for success right?  Possibly, but for a restaurant, the food still needs to be at the very least decent.  Hence, that was our food adventure for the night as we scoped out Dockside in the Granville Island Hotel - a place that fits the aforementioned criterira.

With a wicked view of False Creek and a spacious dining room to match, we were already impressed with its location alone.  Naturally, we had to sample their wares before any judgements could be made.  On that note, we started with a few appies including the Saltspring Island Mussels in a white wine broth spiked with dill.  These were prepared properly being buttery and tender where all of them were open.  I personally prefer BC honey mussels due to their size, but these were okay.  The broth was a bit mild for my tastes, but the cooked-down white wine did come through.  Arriving at the same time, the Dockside Crab & Shrimp Cakes were served with mango salsa, charred lemon aioli and cilantro.  Fairly large, the crispy cakes were pretty much comprised of crab with very little filler.  We would've preferred it be fluffier though.  The lemon aioli was impactful with a noticeable acidity while the mango provided a vibrant sweetness.

My daughter would have been supremely disappointed if we didn't order the Smoked Salmon Chowder - and guess what we did?  Yes, being spoiled is not just an understatement, it should just be a way of life for her (including a Macaron addiction).  Anyways, the modest amount of chowder was served in a deep bowl (an illusion perhaps?).  Thick and creamy with a good amount of carrots, celery, potatoes and onions, the smoked salmon ensured that the soup was on the saltier side.  For me at least, I didn't mind that as I would prefer more smoked salmon than less (which would make it less salty).

For our entrees, I went for the Duck Breast with baby zucchini, broccoli rabe, fingerling potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, charred orange and fennel jus.  I really enjoyed the preparation of the meat as it was succulent and well-brined.  Furthermore, the skin was nicely rendered and crispy.  Unfortunately, I only wished there was more of it as the veggies on the plate outnumbered the duck over 2:1.  As for the veggies, they were appealing where textures were crisp and the flavours were purposeful.  What brought everything together was the silky jus as it was aromatic without being salty.  My dad had his go-to being the Grilled Chinook Salmon served with seafood and saffron risotto, chorizo, asparagus and fresh herbs. Although not particularly attractive with the albumin littering its exterior, the salmon was still moist and well-seasoned.  In actuality, the risotto was more like wet rice than anything else, but it did taste good though with an aromatic saffron hit.

My mom also went for her standby - Moroccan Spiced Rack of Lamb with tomato and cumin, seasonal veggies and harissa.  She substituted the chickpea and roasted artichoke with fingerling potatoes.  Prepared medium-rare, the lamb was moist and sufficiently tender.  The exterior crust was rather dry due to the spice rub.  Viv decided on the Dockside Cioppino consisting of salmon, halibut, prawn, mussels, snow crab and scallop in a San Marzano fennel broth.  Thick and tomatoey with a fennel essence, the broth was mild with a touch of acidity.  There was a decent amount of fish to go along with the one prawn and one scallop.  All of the seafood was cooked accordingly including the halibut which was moist and flaky.  The whole thing was accompanied by a substantial "mini-baguette" which was crusty, yet soft on the inside.

For dessert, we had the Gala Apple Deep Fried Pie which arrived in a shape of a mini pie with scoop of ice cream on top.  Crispy and a bit flaky, the fried exterior shell was actually quite light.  Inside, the large chunks of apple were cooked down until tender while not mushy.  There was enough sugar resulting in a balance of flavours as well as a nice consistency to the sauce.  We also got the Dockside Lemon Meringue featuring an all-butter pastry, lemon curd, charred Italian meringue and raspberry.  This quasi-lemon  tart consisted of a custard that was tangy with an equal amount of sweetness.  The meringue on top was a nicely torched while the crust was more buttery soft than firm.  As a whole, we thought the food at Dockside was actually quite pleasant.  Being a good value or not is a totally different issue.  Fortunately, we had a Travelzoo coupon to help in this regard.

The Good:
- Decent food, considering it is a hotel restaurant
- Awesome location and decor to match
- The service we got was attentive

The Bad:
- Fairly expensive
- Food is fine, but not sure if there is enough protein on the plate


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