It's becoming increasingly clear that our eating habits have greatly affected the availability of certain seafood items. For instance, the once plentiful rock fish found in BC waters has nearly disappeared due to over-consumption. 10 years ago, the Ocean Wise program started out to promote sustainable seafood choices. To celebrate this milestone, Chef Robert Clark (who helped pioneer Ocean Wise) and chef Quang Dang collaborated on an anniversary dinner at West Restaurant. I was invited to help celebrate this achievement by dining on delicious creations consisting of Ocean Wise seafood.
After a round of delicious appetizers, we were seated to begin the 6-course tasting menu. We were presented with the Side Stripe Shrimp Ceviche to start. It was elegantly plated with aji amarillo, baby greens and a drizzle of EVOO. These were buttery and sweet with a subtle meatiness. The natural aroma of the shrimp really came through while the slight acidity added some brightness. Next up, we had the Albacore Tuna Tataki with nori scone, salmon roe, sesame vinaigrette and cucumber salad. The beautifully seared tuna was soft and buttery while maintaining some texture. The fresh cucumbers provided crunch and brightness. What brought the whole dish together was the aromatic sesame dressing that had a nice balancing acidity.
Onto the a predominantly green-themed dish, we dug into the Dungeness Crab Tortellini with English peas, mint and watercress sauce. The oversized tortellini featured firm and toothsome pasta while stuffed with a plethora of fluffy and sweet crab. Texturally, the crab was on point with an appealing rebound texture. As for the sauce, it was a touch spicy and acidic with a mild pepperiness. Pops of sweetness was provided by the firm peas. Transitioning to the next dish, we also found more green in the Chive Crusted Cape Scott Halibut served with crushed fava beans and fingering potatoes, Northern caviar vinaigrette and chive puree. Expertly prepared, the halibut was flaky and moist sporting a lightly crisped exterior. The sweet vinaigrette was offset by the salty and briny caviar. The herbal essence of the chive remained in the background ensuring the halibut could stand on its own.
From one fish to another, we tackled the Wild BC Sablefish a la Plancha. Underneath, there was a mix of pickled mushrooms and seaweed, braised daikon and wilted spinach in a dashi broth. Flaky and buttery, the sablefish melted in my mouth. It was marginally seasoned where the sweet dashi broth did all the heavy lifting. Although quite sugary on its own, the broth was counteracted by the pickled mushrooms and veggies on the plate. Onto dessert, we were served Fresh Raspberries atop a white chocolate mousse and buttermilk brioche. This was accompanied by a floral syrup and raspberry sorbet. The raspberries were fresh and ripe that went well with the creamy and only purposefully sweet mousse. Directly underneath, the caramel crunch added texture and the necessary sugar content. I wasn't a huge fan of the brioche as it was rather dense and hard. However, this was the only thing I could possibly criticize. The meal was practically flawless with well-thought out flavours and progression. Here's to Ocean Wise and many more anniversaries.
*All food, beverages and gratuities were complimentary*