Sherman's Food Adventures: Verre

Verre

Time for our intermittent foodie dinner with the gang including Joyce, Areta, David, Maggi and Hanson!  So where did we eat this time around?  We chose a newish restaurant located right on the water in Coal Harbour called Verre.  Sporting outstanding views and plenty of natural light, the place is made for beautiful Summer days.  They got the dining room right, but what about the food?  At first glance, the menu seemed like a mixture of French and Mediterranean with a sprinkle of Westcoast.  It is a reflection of Chef Liam Breen's experience from across Canada and far-off places such as Dubai.

Since we arrived before the 6:00pm cutoff for Happy Hour, we quickly ordered some starters for the table. We began with the Shortrib Croquettes with romesco, parsley and pickled shallots.  Although appealingly crispy on the outside, the shortrib and potato mixture was devoid of impactful flavours.  In fact, the peppers in the romesco were dominant.  The sauce itself was really good and did provide something to make up for that missing seasoning.  Next, we got a couple orders of the Triple Cooked Fries with aioli.  This was pretty good with firmly crunchy fries.  Inside, there was a touch of potatoness left albeit on the drier side.  But that is nit-picking because they were good.

Beautifully-plated, the Roasted Cauliflower was cooked to perfection.  Fully done, but still retaining a firm crunch, the slightly smoky cauliflower was accented by lemon, almonds and salsa verde.  The acidity of the lemon really came through adding a brightness to the dish.  As for the salsa verde, it was supremely fresh and vibrant, yet a touch heavy with the dill.  We ended up only ordering one of the Seared Humboldt Squid before the happy hour cutoff.  This was a mistake because the squid couldn't have been prepared any better.  Tender and buttery, the squid showed a great rebound texture.  I found that the puttanesca was all that the squid needed as it provided a garlicky salty brininess to the dish.  However, there was a bit too much olive, which was a bit overpowering.

Not finished with the appies, we ordered the Beef Tartare with truffle, parmesan aioli, parsley oil and potato chips.  I found the meat to be visually appealing due to its colour indicating freshness.  Also, the quality of the meat afforded the relatively large hand dice.  It was buttery, tender and not overdressed.  I could get the truffle and shallots and when combined with the parm and parsley, the beef was still allowed to be the star.  Now that was good, but the Steelhead Crudo was even better.  In a beautiful shade of red-orange, it couldn't have been any more buttery.  Although maple balsamic was in the description of the dish, I really didn't get any hint of it.  Rather, I did enjoy the dill creme fraiche as well as the fine herbs.  Again, this was not seasoned that aggressively, but it ultimately worked due to the quality of the fish.

Our last 2 small dishes included my personal favourite being the Grilled Pork Saddle with sprout leaf slaw and mustard seed jus.  Sporting an attractive char on the outside, the pork saddle was delicious on its own.  Texturally, the fatty meat was super tender and practically melted in our mouths.  I found the mustard seed jus to be relatively mild, yet strong enough to provide a touch of tang and savouriness.  The side of slaw was not as acidic as I would've hope, but it provided a light crunch.  Blessed with plenty of lardons and parmesan, the Fried Brussels Sprouts were texturally on point.  While completely cooked through, the sprouts were still firm on the inside.  There was plenty of saltiness to go around, but I would've liked to see some form of acidity or even spice to provide layers of flavour.

Onto the larger dishes, we had the fantastic House-Made Fettuccine with clams, preserved lemon, tarragon and leeks.  Not sure if you can properly see, but there was far more fresh whole clams than pasta itself.  That meant there was a noticeable brininess to go with the olive oil.  I found the pasta to be appealingly al dente while the clams were buttery and cooked right.  The brightness of the tarragon and leeks really came through.  I thought this was one of the stronger dishes of the meal.  Expertly-prepared, the Whole Deboned Trout was as perfect as it could be.  Soft and super moist, the butterflied trout sat in a considerable amount of brown butter which afforded a nutty luxuriousness.  Even the roasted green beans with almonds were perfectly crunchy and vibrant.

Moving from seafood to meat, we had Parmesan-Crusted Veal Chop with brown butter caper sauce and an arugula & cherry tomato salad on the side.  Once again, the meat here was done right being juicy, tender and moist.  On the outside, the crust was nutty and flavourful.  Loved the capers as they added necessary saltiness.  Add in the charred lemon and it helped cut through the butter.  I loved how the arugula was aggressively dressed as there was a sweet tanginess.  Lastly, we tried the Short Rib with polenta, beef chutney and spiced wine jus. The short rib itself was fall-off-the-bone tender and moist.  Moreover, the polenta was creamy and went well with the beef chutney.  However, the overall flavour profile was a bit odd from the spices used.  A bit too nutty?  Whatever the case, I thought the proteins were spot on here as well as the veggies.  Seasoning could be more balanced or even more aggressive for some dishes (although I was okay with it).

The Good:
- Bang on execution of proteins
- Fair portion size for the price
- Bright dining space with a view

The Bad:
- Seasoning could've been more aggressive

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