Sherman's Food Adventures: Chameleon


Dining with Nikita and Bluebeard always entails a fun time.  Yes, they are good company and that is pretty important, but the fact they pick lesser-known spots outside of the city of Vancouver makes for good social media content!  Anyways, the restaurant du jour happened to be Chameleon out in Maple Ridge.  Upon walking into the place, I was impressed with the modern "Downtown" decor as well as its elevated menu.

After looking over that menu, we decided to get a few appies including the BC Albacore Tuna Tataki atop a carrot and daikon slaw with honey citrus vinaigrette, Tokyo aioli, edamame, pickled serranos and radish.  Sure, tuna tataki isn't anything unusual, but the spicy rub on the outside did make the dish more impactful.  This was nicely balanced by the tanginess of the slaw and chilis.  Beyond the perfectly rare tuna which was buttery and soft, the slaw added the necessary crunch to the dish.

As much as an order of House Fries didn't seem like anything special, it turned out to be really good.  These were starch-covered and due to the perfect deep-frying, they turned out to be light and crispy.  They were tossed with salted rosemary, thyme and sage while topped with freshly grated parm.  That in itself meant the fries were flavourful and aromatic.  However, the side of truffle aioli provided creamy umaminess.

For my main, I decided to get the Fraser Valley Duck Breast.  I found the skin to be hard-seared until crispy while topped with maldon salt.  The fat was somewhat rendered.  Cooked to medium, the duck was still moist and tender.  It sat on a bed of braised lentils and ponderosa mushrooms.  This was all surrounded by parsnip chips, roasted parsnip and parsnip puree.  I thought these were all good providing different textures.  Completing the dish was some kale and demi glace.

Viv decided on the Kuttera Salmon and Gnocchi.  Beautifully seared and seasoned, the salmon was barely cooked through.  Hence, it was moist and flaky.  Also nicely pan-fried, the gnocchi were delicate and soft while having a bite.  The lemongrass cream sauce added an Asian herbaceousness to the dish.  As for the veg, we found confit tomatoes as well as crispy kale and brussels sprout leaves.  Finishing everything off was an aromatic tarragon herb oil.

For Nikita and Bluebeard, they *gasp* ordered the same 8oz Prime Rib with mash potatoes and Yorkshire Pudding.  This was actually a Sunday special for a reasonable $32.00.  Interestingly, they could add vegetables for $5.00 (that you see here on the plate).  In my opinion, that wasn't really worth it.  As for the prime rib, they asked for medium-rare and it came as such.  It was tender and was accompanied by a flavourful demi glace.

For dessert, Viv and I shared the Vanilla Sponge with mango gel and passionfruit sorbet.  Okay, there is no getting around this, but the sponge cake was terrible.  It was super dense and dry.  Nothing about it was good.  Fortunately, the mango gel was fruity and the sorbet was flavourful and tangy.  Overall, the food at Chameleon was quite good and well-prepared except for the dessert.  Considering it is located in Maple Ridge, I would say it is worth a try since there aren't many of these spots around the area.

The Good:
- Elevated experience that is not in Downtown Vancouver
- Decent eats
- Excellent service

The Bad:
- Dessert could use some work


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