Friday, September 17, 2010

A month ago at West

A month has passed since we were in Vancouver and in between enjoying time with family, we took a night out to ourselves to pre-celebrate our anniversary at an upscale restaurant in the South Granville neighborhood, called West.

Originally, West was christened "Ouest" - the French word for west... but they changed their spelling to the English form, as customers couldn't locate them in the phone book. ("How do you spell that *!?&*$ restaurant? Oh, forget it, let's go to Red Robin, at least we can spell that!")

That was 10 years ago. So West isn't so much a new restaurant, as much as new to me.

The decor is beautiful. Simple, but not stark. One walks in and feels that it is a special place, well adorned, modern, bright, with an open kitchen. We were seated near the front of the house.

We started off with glasses of Canadian sparkling wine - what it was, I don't recall - but it was refreshing and a little sweet - reminded me somewhat of California sparkling wine, a bit fruity, not at all like the crisp dry stuff one gets out of Champagne. But anything bubbly, just a glass, is a nice way to start off a fancy dinner, I say.
Then came an amuse bouche, which was an heirloom tomato of some sort. It was not really memorable, but it is always amusing to have an amuse bouche.

We ordered our appetizers - hubby had Smoked Tongue and Roasted Sweetbreads, which is pictured below. It was really nicely done. We had never before tasted smoked tongue - and this was terrific - flavorful and firm in texture. The sweetbreads were tender and flavorful and additctive. The dish on the whole was well put together and unique. We quickly discovered that West presents food very uniquely, and the cooking is expertly done.

I ordered the foie gras, and that was pretty terrific, as to be expected. It was a torchon de foie gras encircled by a layer of goat cheese and I finely chopped truffle. Very nice. Again, unique as I've never paired foie gras with goat cheese before.

Next, our main dishes. I had the rabbit, one of their signature dishes. The rabbit was done 2 ways. The leg was confit'd and the saddle were made in these circles that looked like I was eating bone marrow! But it wasn't bone marrow - it was artfully presented loin of rabbit, wrapped in bacon.

Hubby got the Fraser Valley Lamb (pictured at top) which was also done up in these tight circles. The tight circles were actually half lamb loin and half house-made lamb sausage or what they described as Provencal sausage.... delicious. And there was a succulent piece of roast shoulder as well

For wine, we wanted to enjoy a local B.C. wine, and we ended up choosing a red blend from Therapy Vineyards called Super Ego. I believe the vintage was 2006. The winery is in the Naramata Bench, a part of the Okanagan I have yet to visit but would like to in the future. It's a hotter region that can ripen those Cabernet and Merlot and Shiraz grapes that go into this wine. I enjoyed the wine - not on the level of some aromatic and seductive red Burgundy, but on the level of my enjoyment of some California reds that I have liked. Our server suggested it, and then decanted the big wine into a super-impressive Riedel decanter, pictured above... upon seeing this, I began thinking about how I'd like to have such a decanter, and how I'd like to have a cupboard to put it in and display it, and how I'd like to have a house in which to house such a cupboard to display such a decanter!

Since we still had some wine left after finishing our mains, we ordered a cheese plate to share, instead of dessert. Pretty:

In all, the meal was excellent. Very unique presentations and preparations, high quality local ingredients. The service was professional and upscale and made you feel you were in a classy joint. I like that! I was happy with the experience overall, thought the atmosphere was very conducive to romance and conversation, and I would gladly return to West in the future.

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