Submitted Sunday, September 20, 2009 - 12:26am [Dine in]
We had the West tasting menu last week, and it was mind-blowingly good. The tian of prawn and mint couscous with almond and melon gazpacho was amazing. The flavors were so delicate and harmonized so beautifully. Our favourite course was the terrine of foie gras scented with vanilla earl grey tea. I have only had foie once before and it wasn't such a pleasant experience, so I was hesitant about this course, but it was so good. It was the kind of thing you just want to linger over, slumping back in your chair to savor each bite. I dream about this dish.
The rest of the tasting menu was really delicious as well. The risotto was perfectly comforting and the pork cheeks with spaetzle was beautiful.
Our server was prompt, kind and such a professional.
We will be back. Again and again and again.
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Submitted Saturday, September 19, 2009 - 11:46pm [Dine in]
May I just start off by saying that a pet peeve of mine (and I don't have many) is when a hostess stares blankly at me when I enter a restaurant. Greet me. Inquire. That is your only duty. I will stare back at you until you fulfill this one simple task.
Our server seemed mildly annoyed by our presence, and generally absent. It wasn't the worst service, but definitely lacking.
The food however, was appalling. 10 months ago, on our first visit, the menu was really inventive, interesting. This time around, absolutely nothing stood out to me. I ended up just ordering one of their main salads - the grape, tarragon and goat cheese salad. It was the saddest salad I have ever seen. A pile of butter lettuce leaves, uncut, with four grapes on top (literally, there were four cut in half) and slathered with oil. I couldn't taste the vinegar at all, and it was screaming for just a dash of salt. I had to pay for bread. It was good bread (probably from Terra bakery) but was served swimming in oil, with butter on the side. It was really unappetizing to have oil-drenched bread.
My husband ordered the pizza of the day. It was mushroom, basil and ham. The ham was nearly invisible. It seemed like it was just whatever was leftover in the kitchen. No thought involved. And it was really lacking seasoning.
Now, we thought that maybe we had really missed out because some of the mains really did seem interesting. But as we were whispering about the poor quality of the meal, a couple at the table next to us said "the food is really bad here, isn't it?" They had, from what we heard, the mussels, the ravioli and something else. All of it was apparently terrible.
I am giving this place a 1 for value because we felt robbed.
The ambiance, on the other hand, is really great. So if you want some mediocre drinks (maybe just have a beer) and MAYBE some truffle popcorn, go for it.
But we won't be back.
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Submitted Monday, August 31, 2009 - 11:21pm [Dine in]
The menu is a fun way to have tapas-style seafood and encourages sharing and trying a large assortment of things. The seasonal/regional menu helps the smallish menu be unique - it combines three different regions into a cohesive collection.
Right now they are featuring Greek, Italian and coastal British Columbian food. We had the daily steamed mussel feature with a tomato-fennel broth that was so good that we considered slurping up the remaining broth as a soup.
We also had the dungeness crab and shrimp cakes with stone fruit salsa. They were perfectly crispy on the outside, with high-quality crab on the inside. It wasn't oily, but satisfyingly rich. The salsa had a nice balance of underplayed cilantro and delicate spice.
To top off the delicious round of tapas, we had the double bacon wrapped rainbow trout stuffed with julienned vegetables and a sweet soy citrus glaze. It was heavenly, and not just because of the bacon. The flavor of the trout married very well with the bacon and the (not overly-sweet) glaze.
The service was pleasant and attentive. The decor felt high-end and well-considered.
We eagerly anticipate the next menu in October featuring Moroccan cuisine, but will likely be back before then.
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Submitted Friday, March 20, 2009 - 10:34am [Dine in]
I have gone to this Cactus Club location a couple of times and was really impressed. The menu is pretty standard, just slightly more interesting than an average chain restaurant.
But the service is fantastic. I have wheat and dairy allergies and every time we go the servers are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the ingredients of each dish. If they don't know, they willingly check ingredients or ask the cooks questions for me. I have found this to be rare in the service industry in Vancouver.
So if you have celiac disease, this is an excellent restaurant to go to!
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