Sherman's Food Adventures: The Victor (Brunch)

The Victor (Brunch)

It's safe to say that the hotel restaurant has come a long way in the past decade.  Their existence in the past was predicated on predictable and safe eats for the traveller and at times, their family.  They wanted to be everything to everyone without the need to actually be good.  The Victor in the Parq Hotel tries to tackle this head on with a mix of cuisines daring to be good in all aspects.  Not only are they a steakhouse, they also serve up Japanese cuisine as well as Dim Sum.  Normally, that would be a recipe for mediocrity, but based on my initial visit for dinner last year, it may actually be able to achieve the unachievable - a multi-ethnic menu that actually works.  I recently went for brunch with Jacqueline to see if indeed they could be everything to everyone.

Before we got to the actual dishes, we were treated to the classic brunch compliment - a Caesar!  But wait, not some ordinary one...  We got to experience the Build-Your-Own Caesar Bar.  We were served a shot glass of either a single or double that we brought up to the bar.  We chose our tomato base (either Clamato or Spicy), rimmed our glass and piled up the accompaniments.  These included cucumber, asparagus, celery, pepperoni chorizo, gherkins, tomato, boconccini, sushi and so on.  This was fun and interactive, which put us in the mood for some brunching.

In terms of the eats, we started off with some Japanese with a plate of Sashimi consisting of bluefin tuna, scallop and cho toro.  Neatly presented and prepared, the sashimi was as good as one would find at an authentic higher-end Japanese restaurant.  No joke.  Each slice of bluefin was buttery and meaty with the natural sweetness really coming through.  The scallop was delicate and even more buttery with a sweet taste-of-the-sea.  Slightly fatty, the cho toro (also from bluefin tuna) was deliciously tender with a noticeable brininess.  Continuing on the same theme, we ordered both the Karashi-Su-Miso Salmon and Unagi Aburi Oshi.  Also carefully presented, the oshi was solid.  I found the sushi rice to be the right texture with enough chewiness and vinegariness.  The salmon was super buttery with a light creamy miso and a touch of spice from the Japanese mustard.  Delicate, the unagi was only lightly sweet with a smoky char.

Onto some more appies, we had a fusion dish in the Uni Tacos featuring local sea urchin guacamole, cucumber and yuzu kosho on a crunchy nori taco shell.  Now for those who are a bit squeamish about eating uni, this would be a very accessible due to the combination of ingredients.   The ample amount of smooth and mild guacamole really helped bring down the brininess of the uni.  So we still got the creamy texture of the uni without the huge hit of the sea.  For those uni connoisseurs, it might be too mild, but for me, it was a real treat as the crunch of the nori shell was the perfect textural counterbalance.  Probably the most surprising appie was the Dungeness Crab Cake.  The darn thing was large and packed (and I mean PACKED) with chunks of fluffy crab meat.  We could not see any filler at all other than the 2 sides of crunchy breading.  This was accompanied by a bright sea bean and fennel salad as well as a Vadouvan-spiced curry aioli.

By the time we arrived at The Victor, it was too late to take advantage of the Dim Sum as much items were already sold out (since they are freshly made).  Hence, we could only wrangle the Ha Gau (or Shrimp Dumplings).  Now one wouldn't expect quality Dim Sum at a place like The Victor, but alas, this was legit shrimp dumplings.  I'm assuming that the chefs from 1886 (only available for special functions now) were behind the Dim Sum.  As such, the shrimp filling was on point with large chunks of moist shrimp that had a sweet snap.  The dumpling wrapper was thin with a pleasant elasticity and stayed as such even after sitting around while we were snapping photos.

We got a selection of their bigger dishes and the one that I had to attack first was the Wagyu Breakfast Burger with a runny fried egg, thick crispy bacon, tomato jam and triple cooked fries.  This was absolutely awesome as the thick meat patty was fatty, moist and barely cooked.  Hence, it ate like butter, but still had the meatiness of beef.  Moreover, it was full of umami and nutty due to the fat content.  This was somewhat balanced off by the sweet and tangy tomato jam.  I found the brioche bun to be soft, but it still held everything together by virtue of the aggressive char on the inside.  Not to be outdone, the thick fries were outstanding being crunchy and nutty with super soft potato inside.  Since I've had a good steak here before, the Steak & Eggs was bound to be good right?  Indeed it was featuring 2 large filet mignon medallions topped with chimichurri and accompanied by 2 sunny side eggs, broccolini and crunchy onion rings.   The steak was a perfect medium-rare where we could cut it with our forks.  For $28.00, I thought this was a good value considering the quality and execution.

Off to some other brunch items, we tried the Lobster Frittata with roasted zucchini and squash.  This was pretty large sporting large chunks of fresh lobster within the fluffy frittata that was nicely crisp on the outside.  There was a significant amount of brininess from the lobster which emanated throughout the frittata.  Some might find it too seafoody, but for me, it was purposeful and not lacking in the main ingredient.  With that being said, a few drops of hot sauce would really help liven the dish significantly.   On the outside of the plate, there was a good amount of earthy and herbaceous-tasting salsa verde.  Our last savoury dish was the Chicken and Waffle featuring their signature mac n' cheese waffle, crispy chicken and cheesy sauce.  I've had their waffle before and yes, it was just as good.  Lots of tender cheesy noodles that were encased in a crunchy waffle.  The chicken on top was tender white meat within a crunchy batter.

Hey after all this food, we were going to have dessert too right?  So we ended up with the Cheesecake Donuts with strawberry jam and the Black Mountain Gateau with kirsch mousse, cherry compote, dark chocolate and pistachio cake.  Oh boy, look at those donuts, how could someone not like them???  Pillowy soft with a semi-sweet cream cheese filling, these tasted like they were supposed to (including the strawberry jam on the side).  Resembling a volcano, the airy gateau revealed a delicious creamy mousse on the inside as well as rich dark chocolate ganache.  The cherry compote provided the sweet tang to compliment.  As you can ascertain, we really enjoyed the brunch at The Victor.  They have accomplished nearly the impossible whereby the combination of Japanese, Steakhouse & Westcoast and Chinese Dim Sum actually works (and is well-prepared).  Prices are on the higher end, but completely fair given the food quality, service and overall ambiance.

*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were complimentary*

The Good:
- Beautiful space
- Quality food from all types of cuisine
- Stellar service (as observed the last time I visited on my own)

The Bad:
- Prices are definitely on the higher end (but fair in my opinion)
- Parking is surprisingly limited downstairs

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