Here we go with another year of Dine Out Vancouver. For me, I believe there are some gems to be found during this chaotic time where a mad rush of diners attempt to sample as many restaurants as possible. Some restaurants understand the premise behind the event and offer up great value with tasty food and quality ingredients for an attractive price. Others do not get it and offer up substandard food in hopes people won't notice they are not getting a deal at all. Well, I guess I could put this belief to the test when I had the opportunity to preview the DOV menus at 3 spots on Granville Island.
We began at Dockside in the Granville Island Hotel where we were treated to 3 appetizers on the dine out menu including the super-flavourful Duck Prosciutto Tart. Since the slices were relatively thick, the prosciutto was a bit chewy. However, it was far from tough and the chewing only helped bring out the gamy saltiness of the duck. Counteracting the salt was the sweet and tart balsamic reduction as well as the onion jam. The arugula added a touch of bitter brightness. Next, the Crab & Shrimp Cakes were pretty textbook with a crispy exterior while meaty inside. It wasn't fluffy, but wasn't dry either. The charred mango aioli combined with the mango salsa did the predictable sweet and tart thing.
Surprisingly, my favourite choice was the Winter Green Salad with manchego polenta croutons. Yah really! I found the mixture of leafy greens and firm French beans a nice textural contrast. Additionally, the croutons were something different which provided a certain robustness. The acidic and impactful herb vinaigrette kept things bright while the blistered cherry tomatoes added an extra layer of tartness. At first, I wasn't sure if the Roasted Zucchini was an appie or an entree. Well, it turned out to be the vegetarian option as a main. I'm not sure it that would be filling enough as a main, but I actually liked it as well (yah go figure). The half side of zucchini was caramelized with depth-of-flavour The crunch of fennel and pine nuts was the textural component while the eggplant puree added a silky mild flavour.
Okay, onto something meat-related, the Beef Wellington was good despite it being cooked a bit more than I would've preferred. Despite that, the meat did eat well being tender and not dry. It was encased in a buttery crust where I detected some horseradish (at least that is what I thought). Underneath, there was some creamy truffle mashed potatoes and on top was a red wine jus. Large in portion size, the Linguini Vongole featured a bevy of buttery Manila clams. Yet, it didn't really translate in flavour to the creamy white wine sauce. I would've liked to see more brininess. With that being said, the pasta was al dente and there was no shortage of flavour as there was a considerable cheesiness from the Reggiano.
For dessert, we were presented with 2 options including the Panna Cotta and Chocolate & Apricot Mousse Layer Cake. Although flavoured with lemon grass and lime, the panna cotta was very mild and not overly sweet. I could get a bit of the aroma only. However, the passion fruit puree along with mint was much more impactful with a sweet tartness. I found the layer cake to be really moist and bordering on wet. I didn't mind it though as it was only purposefully sweet with the chocolate going well with the berries. On the DOV site, it states that Dockside's greatest asset is its location. I would whole-heartedly agree with this statement, yet the food is more-than-acceptable as well (from my previous experience too). As for their $40.00 DOV menu, it is a safe offering that sports fair portions in a location situated right by the water.
*All food and beverages were complimentary*
- Awesome location
- Fair portions
- Safe and predictable
- Safe and predictable (for those who are more adventurous)