For all the great food that is available in Vancouver, it is a bit surprising that we've not been blessed with Michelin-star chefs. Sure, we have some pretty great chefs that have trained and worked in Michelin-star restaurants, but they can't boast the same credentials as chef Stefan Hartmann. Pegged to be at the helm of the newly opened Bauhaus by director Uwe Boll, Chef Hartmann introduces modern German fine-dining cuisine to Downtown Vancouver. As we were pulling into our parking spot in Gastown, "That Don't Impress Me Much" was playing on the radio. Ironic? I guess we were about to find out.
To get things going, we started with some appies including the Poached Arctic Char with torched carrot and puree. Buttery and just barely cooked all-the-way-through, the char was lightly seasoned which accented its natural sweetness. Underneath, the sweet carrot puree was pleasant, yet the charred carrot stood out most with a smoky caramelization. Aromatic and well-seasoned, the Potato Soup with sauteed cod was not as heavy as it appeared. There was a creamy-starchy consistency that was not too rich. The pieces of buttery cod were like little surprises hidden within the broth. I found it to be purposefully sweet with a slight wine finish.
Onto a couple of meat starters, we tried the Marinated Tafelspitz with spinach puree, egg chive salad and horseradish. Pink throughout, the piece of boiled (appeared to be sous vide in this case) beef was succulent and sufficiently tender (considering the cut). With only a light dusting of salt, the side of horseradish was necessary. I found the spinach and egg salad to be very mildly seasoned. Our last appie was the Meat Balls with caper sauce, crushed potatoes and a salad of microgreens, Romaine, sliced radish and frisee. I quite liked this dish as the meatballs were fairly loose and moist while dressed in a creamy sauce that was a bit salty and tart from the capers. Underneath, the potatoes were both creamy and chunky, soaking up the rest of the sauce.
Onto the mains, it was only natural that we had the Wiener Schnitzel with mashed potatoes and a chanterelle sauce. This was probably the largest dish of the bunch with a generous serving of schnitzel. Thin and lightly breaded, the veal was sufficiently moist considering its thickness. I enjoyed how the breading was easy on the grease while still generally crispy throughout. However, the dish was all about the chanterelle sauce as it was buttery and full of depth. It was salty enough to season both the starchy potatoes and schnitzel. Up next was the Pork Striploin with mashed potatoes apricots and chanterelles. The thick piece of pork was just cooked through with only the slightest amount of pink. The result was a moist piece of pork that still had some chew. It appeared to be sous vide then seared. Despite being underseasoned, the pork was accented nicely by the chanterelles and sweet & tangy apricots.
Beautifully seared, the Halibut was flaky and moist. It rested on a bed of seared sliced potatoes and mustard sauce. Although mildly seasoned much like the other dishes, I didn't mind this as the halibut sported a slightly crispy exterior and was aided by the relatively salty potatoes and sharpness of the mustard. This was probably my second favourite dish after the schnitzel. Now the next dish left me longing for salt as it was pretty bland where the problem was magnified as it went with plain rice. The Chicken Fricassee with peas and carrots rested in a creamy sauce that only had the slightest hint of sweetness and possibly some white wine finish. But really, I couldn't tell as it was that mild. On the other hand, the chicken breast was expertly prepared as it was tender while the veggies were vibrant.
Another dish that was a bit underwhelming was the Brioche Dumplings with mushroom puree chanterelles and salad hearts. To be fair, I'm no vegetarian, so my thoughts on this dish are somewhat biased. For me, I felt the brioche dumplings were a bit dense and underseasoned. At the very least, the mushroom puree was quite nice as it was purposefully Earthy with a nice kick of acidity at the end. Lastly, I dug into the Braised Beef Roulade featuring a pickle inside and accompanied by spatzel and leeks. Okay, the best part of the dish was the fantastic spatzel as it was chewy while pan-fried with enough butter for a nice brown sear and nuttiness. As for the roulade itself, I found the meat to be too dry. Thankfully, the sauteed leeks on top added some creamy moisture while offering up an herby brightness. Overall, we found the food to be quite good at Bauhaus, but a little underseasoned and quite pricey. Service was top-notch while the ambiance could be described as casual elegance.
- Mostly on point proteins
- Heavy food made unheavy
- A bit underseasoned for our tastes