Sherman's Food Adventures: Qube Lebanese Cuisine

Qube Lebanese Cuisine

To be completely blunt, I was torn as to if and how I would write this post about my visit to Qube Lebanese Cuisine. Would I be vague and not say what is truly on my mind or should I just let it all out?  After weeks of going back and forth, I've decided to report what I know, what I'm afraid of and how the meal went according to me (and not influenced by outside noise).  So what is this outside noise you speak of?  Well, originally, Qube had a very different menu and direction.  However, they change chefs and the menu was reworked.  There has been a bit of drama relating to this and I will not personally get into it because it doesn't involve me or do I really know the actual story.  All I can say is I will report what I ate and what I thought of it.  Am I a bit worried about any backlash?  Well of course.  However, I cannot judge that as I mentioned, I'm not involved.  Also, this is a warning to any trolls out there.  If you want to leave messages about this, I'm deleting them because I will not be part of the drama.  It is between you and the restaurant.  Period.

Okay getting back to my visit...  So if you recognize the storefront in the picture, you will know that Qube took over the old location of the original Trattoria on West 4th.  The decor inside is nice and it has a prominent bar.  As such, we tried some of their Drinks including QV, QII, QI and QIV.  I'm not going to get into all of them since I tried maybe 2, but l can say I loved the glasses and the presentation.  For the ones I did try, they were balanced and not too strong so that I could taste the rest of the components.

Onto the food, we were served a selection of appies including the Tuna Tartare with avocado puree, tuna, ponzu, shallots and chives.  This featured fresh albacore tuna that was buttery and soft.  It was dressed enough so that there was some salty tanginess from the ponzu.  I would've liked just a bit more acidity, but it was still fine as it was.  Avocado underneath was ripe and creamy providing a nice binding agent when mixed with the tuna.

We also had a duo of Hummus with the first being the classic version tahina and the second, being avocado hummus.  These were blended smooth where the tahini was noticeable in the classic version.  Good quality EVOO added some aroma and silkiness to the hummus.  The avocado was mild-tasting but rich.  To give both a bit of custom acidity, there was a half-lime on the plate.  This was served with house bread.

To keep the house bread from going too far with any dips, we had 2 more in the form of Moutabal and Labneh.  Much like the hummus, these two were on point in terms of texture and taste.  The moutabal consisted of roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini and lemon juice.  Hence, there was a bit of smokiness, plenty of tanginess and aroma.  It was smooth and creamy.  Thick and also creamy, the labneh featured strained yogurt, Himalayan salt and smoked olive oil.  As a result, there was also smokiness as well as a certain silkiness.

So we continued on with our appies with House Grape Leaves stuffed with rice, tomato, parsley and lime juice as well as Makdous featuring oil-aged eggplant filled with walnuts and red peppers atop labneh.  Being house-made, the stuffed grape leaves were bright and delicate.  Definitely enough acidity within the rice and tomato mixture.  That was even more pronounced with the tender eggplant.  They were very tangy with a bit of sweetness from the red peppers.

One of my favourite items was the Homemade Lebanese Sausages sauteed with onion, garlic, lemon, cherry tomatoes and pomegranate.  These were meaty with enough fat to create plenty of aromatics as well as keeping the sausage moist.  There was a good combination of tanginess and spice.  On the topic of tangy, the minted yogurt in the Shish Barak was plenty acidic (maybe a bit too sour).  Good thing too as it kept the heaviness of the dough in check.  It was filled with wagyu beef, onions and herbs.

We moved onto a pair of fish plates including the Salmon Lemoni and BC Halibut.  I found the salmon to be prepared properly being moist and flaky with crispy skin.  Like most of their other dishes, the acidity from the sauce was pronounced and it was further amped by the sundried tomatoes, artichokes and capers.  As for the halibut, it was buttery and soft where it was topped with a nutty tahini sauce and sat on a bed of roasted walnut and pepper emulsion.

The next dish featured Chops 2 Way with one each lamb chop and venison chop.  The larger venison chop was cooked nicely being medium inside, hence the meat was not dry.  However, the accompanying lamb chop was well-done.  At the very least, it was fattier and still ate tender.  The chimicuhurri was bright and helped lighten the heaviness of the meats.  I found this plate to be clunky in terms of plating though.

Our last 2 savoury items consisted of the Basterma Handheld and the Seared Lamb Belly.  Sporting Lebanese air-dried meat, house pickles, house mayo, tomato, Dijon and melted raclette on brioche, this was a tad hard to eat due to the chewiness of the meat.  However, it did taste good with the combination of ingredients as we got salty, tangy and nutty.  I really enjoyed the lamb belly as it was fatty and tender in only lamb can be.  It was seared well with a smoky caramelization.   Like most of the other dishes, the plating was a bit basic.

For dessert, we were served different forms of Baklava and house vanilla ice cream.  One of the few things not made in-house, the baklava was excellent.  The crispy layers of phyllo were light and blessed with enough sweetness that wasn't overwhelming.  Of course we also had the nuttiness of the pistachios.  Ice cream was quite good being creamy and purposefully sweet.  Overall, the food was not bad with some real highlights.  I do think the plating needs some work and possibly the portion sizes for the larger plates might need to be re-evaluated.

*This post features complimentary food and beverages*

The Good:
- Interesting food as Lebanese isn't too common in Vancouver
- Nice dining space
- Appealing cocktails

The Bad:
- Plating needs work
- Portion sizes for the larger dishes are inconsistent


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