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zach_foodVancouverSince January 24, 200833 Reviews
Average Rating
4 (3.8)
  • Food4 (3.9)
  • Service3.5 (3.7)
  • Value3.5 (3.6)
  • Ambiance3.5 (3.6)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 33 Reviews Found
Bishop's Restaurant2183 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
One of the best fine dining experiences in Vancouver
Submitted Friday, June 11, 2010 - 1:52pm [Dine in]

Bishop's, despite being opened the year I was born (1985), remains an impressive jewel in Vancouver's growing culinary crown. Although we are more partial to casual, easygoing places (Chambar, Maenam, La Quercia, etc) I can offer nothing but praise for Bishop's in the niche of fine dining. The city's restaurant landscape has shifted significantly away from top-end restaurants - notably West's sufferings of post-Hawksworth syndrome and Market performing better as a lounge than restaurant. Bishop's, however, has avoided the inevitable slide for the simple reason that they know what they do well and they do it at the highest level possible.

Service from the moment we entered the door was nearly flawless and they managed the restaurant with only four front of house staff. Advice on wine was helpful but didn't try to over sell and dealt with an allergy in the best possible manner. The lighting and music are soft. It's hard to imagine you are parked right on a busy stretch of the bustling W 4th avenue.

What surprised most, however, was the food. It's not cheap, coming in just under $250 for two with tip, tax and four glasses of wine. The menu can read somewhat traditionally, yet everything served was a sublime blend of high quality ingredients coaxed to perform at their absolute peak. Starters both featured spot prawns, not a surprise as Bishop's was and remains a pioneer in featuring local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. The salad was a hit with candied rhubarb and leak terrine forming a unique base for the prawns while the bisque, a daily special, was velvety and featured an outstanding fish stock at its core. Continuing on, the kitchen proved equally adept with both sea and land for the main courses. Perfectly seared sablefish and scallop, let me reiterate perfectly, was paired with radishes, black beans, and a bright vinaigrette - not your run of the mill seafood plate. Bison shortloin, an exact medium rare, was sliced and served over a heaping mound of cherry risotto with pickled ramps, roast turnips, sauteed greens and cherry jus. The meatiness of the bison was a perfect foil for the tart yet slightly sweet cherry overtones with the pickled ramp offering the occasional acidic bit. Although we were extremely satisfied by this point, dessert was ordered. Carrot cake with crystallized honey and ginger was absolutely moist and smothered in icing while the espresso flan was an ideal fix for the coffee inclined. Wines by the glass are generous pours but expensive. A well-balanced list that features a number of BC wineries fits well with the culinary experience.

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Diamond, The6 Powell Street, Vancouver
Can't do much better than this
Submitted Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 6:18pm [Dine in]

For my money, this is the best bar in the city. After a half-dozen visits, that have spanned an early dinner to the latest possible drink, I’ve never failed to be impressed. Arguably the best actual bar seat in Vancouver can be found at the far end of the wood overlooking the heart of Gastown. The room crosses over from restaurant to lounge to bar better than any other and has the food and drinks to match. The beverage menu is inventive, unique, and smartly constructed but still easy to navigate. I rarely double up on any drink as there has yet to be a bad choice. Food has been good since day one but is definitely a little sharper since they tweaked the menu. Gyozas are a must and the viet-style sandwiches are, if not authentic, at least among the best in the city. I can think of no better place to begin or end a night.

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Closed
Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe, The850 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Satisfied but not wowed after dinner visit
Submitted Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 5:58pm [Dine in]

Finally made our way to CSBD and had a nice meal. We won’t be rushing to return but it was satisfactory. Overall, the food is presented at an appropriate level for an upscale bistro. French onion soup earned solid praise while another classic, bacon and onion tarte, came out with a surprisingly flaky crust and a sharply done fennel salad which made it more than just ordinary. The halibut was well cooked if not slightly unimaginative. The 48-hour cassoulet, recommended over the steak, disappointed. The beans were underdone, the sausage non-descript, and the foie gras was indistinguishable from the rest of the dish. Sorbets for dessert presented more than just your run of the mill flavours which is always a welcome treat.

Cocktail menu, which is massive, is one of their signature’s but in the end it was too much to process that I settled for a drink designed by a bartender from another establishment (they have a whole section devoted to such creations). It was good but not great. Hard to know if that was the fault of the bartender working off a borrowed recipe or the recipe itself. The sheer size of the cocktail menu is daunting and regardless of what I chose, hard not to wonder if there was something better I could have ordered. Coffee, on the other hand, was top notch.

Service is best described as erratic. We had the specials given to us twice, we’re watched over as we tried to order drinks, their table clearing could be a bit smoother, and the pace of the meal was off. On the plus side, we received friendly help when it came to navigating allergy issues and the recommendation from the very small wine list hit the spot. To be frank, the chairs are great but otherwise not a huge fan of the space. In addition to the unconventional layout, there were about 5-6 appearances from the fire engines that reside across the street. Needless to say, that interrupted the meal from time to time.

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Pourhouse Restaurant162 Water Street, Vancouver
A work in progress worth checking out
Submitted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - 4:30pm [Dine in]

I really wanted to like this place, as the city needs more restaurant with strong bars and unpretentious food. The Pourhouse has all the earmarks of a place that will be able to deliver this, however, there were a few to many bumps in the road during my first visit for it to immediately earn a place on my short list of favourites (unlike the Diamond, which has made that list!). I will certainly give it another run, just in a month or so at least. Service was good but at times awkward (trying to describe their cocktail program) and forgetful (didn't bring a beer for my main course). The menu read like a dream but delivery was hit and miss. The pate was perfectly cooked, if not a bit light on flavour, and was served with toasty warm house made brioche that apparently was at some point wrapped in bacon. The scallops also impressed but at $14 each, those dishes were on the high side of the price spectrum for starters. The value, however, is redeemed by a strong 'main' course selection but again, it was slightly undercut by lack of performance. The campfire trout had all the makings of a new favourite, but our particular order came out with part of the fish slightly under done. The potatoes were top shelf and the corn and onions found in the foil bag with the fish were a unique twist. The pork and beans earned high marks in terms of concept (they serve both a thick bacon and sausage) however, it was more of an appetizer than a main. The cocktail list is very small- the two sampled were very smartly constructed - but they have the talent to make you anything you want and the beer selection is varied and quite solid. I think this place will win a place in many a hearts, it just needs a bit of polish.

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Twisted Fork Bistro1147 Granville Street, Vancouver
A well done Canadian bistro
Submitted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 11:47am [Dine in]

Overall the Twisted Fork really delivers despite my increased expectations after reading the massive amounts of favourable reviews. If I had to condense this restaurant's persona into one sentence (which is terribly unfair but often what people take away from these reviews) it is this -- the TFB is a perfect example of a Canadian take on a bistro. The room is inviting, although a touch dark, and you certainly don't feel as if you are at a restaurant right on the Granville strip. Service was warm, candid, and friendly if not a bit stretched once the room was full. The open kitchen is small, just two behind the stoves on a week night, but they work quietly and deliver promising food. Starters included the mussels drenched in a rich cream and tomato sauce - however, the bivalves were sourced from PEI which was somewhat curious - a large portion of decent duck confit that came with a perfectly sweet squash pear jam, and perfectly tender rosemary skewered beef that unfortunately had to be unskewered of rather charred, bitter (after their meeting with the flame) stalks of herb. The favourite main was the confit chicken salad that would satisfy a hungry patron any evening while the beef bourgeon was hearty, a perfect pick me up on a cold day, however it did lack a pinch of salt after its long braise. The lemon tart was surprisingly light, which is a good thing, while the caramel napoleon with raspberries was balanced just right. The homemade sorbets and ice creams are a real treat and the sign of a kitchen with its principles in order. The wine list is brief but ranges from very reasonable to average in price with mark-ups that don't kill the bill. In true Canadian fashion, the team also works very hard to cultivate regulars and they have a number of good 'specials' on offer, so it is worth going multiple nights in the week. Any good patriot should be quickly making their way to this refreshing and affordable dinner spot.

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Campagnolo1022 Main Street, Vancouver
Tasty, simple italian that's worth the drive
Submitted Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 7:35pm [Dine in]

Had a very enjoyable meal at this slightly out of the way, yet classical Italian joint. We sampled a variety of their appetizers with a generous bowl of fried, salty chickpeas a favourite among the group with the garbanzos crunchy exteriors a perfect foil for the still moist centres. The pizza bianca came out hot and crisp but the toppings were slightly subdued with the accompanying spices (additional cheese, chilis, and oregano) all unnecessary save for the real dried oregano. Lack of cured meats available was surprising because it’s a large portion of their menu so we subbed in fried pig trotters. Meaty, breaded and fried pork balls were uplifted by a very vibrant salsa verde. All three pastas sampled earned high marks. The pork ragu (a known standout) was surprisingly delicate in both flavour and texture while the farfalle with fennel sausage, fresh cheese, and leeks stole the show. The meatiness of the sausage was to my preference with the ragu lacking a bit of bite despite its luscious texture. The only main was a shared pork loin cooked perfectly pink and elevated by a cotechnio jus with crisp beans and onions. The desserts didn't last long and showed a typical Italian restraint that was much desired after such a hearty meal. The cherry cake was a moist pound cake on a pool of mascarpone cream while the panna cotta, in all its wobbly glory, came adorned with chunky apricot breadcrumbs. Wine list was heavy on Italian and prices ranged from very reasonable to very exclusive. Service was tight and the pacing of the meal was spot on. The bill can add up by the end of the night but it is worth it.

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Market by Jean-Georges1115 Alberni Street, 3rd floor, Vancouver
Very good lunch
Submitted Friday, June 5, 2009 - 5:56pm [Dine in]

Happened to be in the area and took advantage of their three-course lunch for $28 dollars. Great selection on the menu, though sadly they were out of the black truffle fontina pizza today, and a very nice patio though the view is mostly for street watching. The house made ginger ale had a nice bite and was quite refreshing – a nice alternative to alcohol. Starters chosen were shrimp salad and scallops. Salad had a great dressing though it didn't come tossed so it was up to the diner to take care of that (not too difficult) and the scallops were perfectly cooked with the crunchy cauliflower and salty caper-mustard puree a nice foil. We both had the slow cooked artic char with truffled mash and sugar snap peas for our mains. The creaminess of the potatoes, flaky fish, crunchy peas, and earthy truffle vinaigrette made a nice mouthful and if anything I thought the portion was big for lunch. Dessert consisted of a trio of sorbets, lemon and strawberry earn top marks, and a delicate butter cookie adorned with fresh raspberries, a not-to-sweet coconut cream, and raspberry sauce. Service was friendly enough but still a bit stuffy for a patio lunch. A real treat for lunch but considering it was only $75 for two people, overall highly recommended. Will return.

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Maenam1938 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Tastiest Thai food in a long time
Submitted Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - 8:38pm [Dine in]

Gastropod was good but not great. Maenam, however, reaches levels of greatness even though it is only weeks old. The redesigned room is warmer, the service less stuffy, and the menu reads like a dream list of things to eat. This is Thai food you won't find many other places, especially in Vancouver, and the balance of all the dishes sampled were near perfect. The two curries we had, the mussaman chicken and panaeng beef, were suitably rich with deep complex flavours that complimented without overwhelming the palate. My lone complaint was the spiciness of the green papaya salad. The salad itself was a refreshing combination of slivered vegetables (and fruit) with the tastiest roasted peanuts and a nice light dressing but that light dressing certainly packed a punch. I probably wouldn't get it again as my taste buds took half a beer and 10 minutes to draw level. Dessert menu is compact but the sorbets, notably the rich coconut and tangy pineapple, were delicious. Short but affordable beer and wine by the glass lists and like its predecessor there is a very solid selection of cocktails. Late night and lunch service available. This place has wedged itself very quickly onto my list of city-wide favourites.

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Hawker's Delight4127 Main St., Vancouver
I'll go again because it's a deal
Submitted Friday, May 22, 2009 - 11:29am [Dine in]

Great street food - quick, filling, hot, and a pretty solid variety of dishes. They aren't going to win any awards for service or ambiance but the food sampled was more than acceptable. The satays were a bit of a disappointment, I probably wouldn't order again, but the Nasi Goreng is a really good deal and I can see myself swinging by for that often.

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Closed
Legendary Noodle4191 Main Street, Vancouver
For what it is, it's amazing
Submitted Friday, May 22, 2009 - 11:25am [Dine in]

Simply put, I love Legendary Noodle. It's one of those places I can go and will always be satisfied. The restaurant isn't particularly stunning in design or layout, but is kept clean, and service is acceptable. The food is king here and I am particularly fond of anything that incorporates their dumplings. The soups and noodles are also top notch and don't forget to get an order of gai-lan on the side - always cooked to perfection Food comes out hot and fast and the value is as good as you'll find anywhere in the city.

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Closed
Don Guacamoles1333 Robson Street, Vancouver
More Places Like This Needed
Submitted Sunday, May 17, 2009 - 11:29am [Dine in]

Not only does this restaurant fill a need in that it's easily the best and most authentic Mexican place in Vancouver but its the overall principles upon which it is run that more restaurants need to adopt. Straight-forward concept with great food, a bustling room, and solid service. Overall the food impressed and offered a good variety of the classics with a nice selection of offerings that you won't find at your local Tex-Mex places. The tacos are great to share/start with, particularly liked the al pastor, and the beans with bacon, sausage, and jalapenos could very well have been my favourite dish. A close second was the mulitas which is essentially a steak and chorizo sandwich between two crispy corn tortillas. The cactus is interesting and a must try at it is a staple in Mexican cuisine and I certainly appreciate the different salsas/sauces they serve with their chips that come to each table. The booze isn't particularly cheap but the selection of tequila is deep. Service was solid -- food came out quickly and we got some help navigating the menu. Very busy at dinner time but worth the wait. All in all I left over stuffed having spent just $22 for food and washed it down with a couple Pacificos. A great meal.

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Closed
Yuji's Japanese Tapas2059 W. 4th Avenue, Vancouver
My Favourite Sushi Spot
Submitted Monday, April 27, 2009 - 12:54pm [Dine in]

Definitely got hooked on this place long ago. I am now visiting at least once a month as to me this is the perfect Japanese restaurant. It achieves a great balance of top notch food and service with both sushi and kitchen items more than holding their own. It isn't a cheap joint but for what you get, I am extremely satisfied. Their changing kitchen specials have introduced me to a wide variety of Japanese tapas items and the sushi bar, with Yuji himself back there, make some of the best in the city. A nice mixture of classics and then items with their own touch both in the sushi and kitchen departments. This is the type of place where I will eat whatever they put in front of me as they have never really let me down. The service team is great with lots of long serving members on staff who treat you very well and are genuinely excited to see us every time we go in.

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La Buca4025 MacDonald Street, Vancouver
Four Star Spot
Submitted Monday, April 27, 2009 - 12:47pm [Dine in]

This is one of my favourite places to eat because I always know the food will be tasty, the service professional, and although some may find the location and size (out of the way and small) off-putting I really don't mind it at all. I have been 3-4 times and the food has always impressed. The starters are classic in that they focus on a few, well chosen ingredients but that is not to say they are boring. The pastas I have sampled, most often the ragus, have been stellar and the puttanesca is another favourite, especially as a starter. It's hard to pass on the mains and although there is usually just 5-6 choices, I always seem stuck on what to order. The veal dishes have both been very good and the steak looked very nice. Fish dishes have also been up to par and the specials seem to be at the same level as the menu items. Service is to the point, knowledgeable, and friendly enough -- with two people running the dining room they don't have time to be your friends but they do their job well. My biggest complaint is having to call a few days in advance to get a table, however, I have had decent luck as of late calling night of to get either an early (6 pm) or late (8:30 pm) seating.

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Renovation
Grub4328 Main Street, Vancouver
Great Local Place
Submitted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 10:04pm [Dine in]

All in all, had a really good night at this local spot. For three people the price was just over $100 with tax and tip but we did share an appetizer plate and dessert, so it wasn't a traditional three course meal. Most menu items are found on the blackboard and the selection is well balanced and fairly accessible. Many dishes appealed and most everything ordered was well executed. Service was good enough and this place fills a niche in the city as a place to go for a tasty, reliable meal. Not a lot of seats but it looks like they take reservations now.

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Alibi Room157 Alexander St, Vancouver
Great Place to Hangout
Submitted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 9:57pm [Dine in]

This is one of my favourite rooms in the city. They have an awesome beer selection, food that is more than capable at keeping up with the booze, and the room itself is pretty stunning. This is the best place to go if you are serious about beer as it is reasonably priced, a huge and unique selection, and a good sampling program. Some food items that get thumbs up include the burger, fries, and wings. Service was great in some respects -- setting up reservations and decent help with beer selections -- but lacked in the friendly and timely categories.

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La Brasserie1091 Davie Street, Vancouver
Solid option if not worried to wait
Submitted Sunday, March 8, 2009 - 10:46pm [Dine in]

Had a good dinner tonight with a couple of friends. The room isn't huge and there are no reservations but the staff do a decent job trying their best to manage tables and turn things around. Sat at the bar to eat, as a big group (15+) had come in prior to us and really limited the tables for the night. Food across the board impressed, with straight forward tasty fare the speciality. Starters sampled were onion tart, French onion soup, and duck confit. Tart was dense and very rich with a nice deep caramelized onion flavour, soup was solid, and confit was appropriately fatty and crispy with a nice red wine reduction. Mains of suckling pig, bangers and mash, and fish special were again well received. Pig was a favourite, with tender meat, fatty skin, nice jus, tasty dumplings and good sauerkraut. Bangers were nice (homemade) and mash was well, mash. Fish special tonight was scallops with stuffed squid – a nice contrast to the heaviness of the rest of meal and perfectly cooked. Sitting at the bar, saw a lot of the food come out and other things to consider trying would be the steak, house terrine, and coq au vin. Beer list is extensive, heavy on the German, and the servers were fairly well versed in giving advice. No desserts but six beers and six courses had the bill come in with tip just over $140. No mains over $20, so definitely a place you can get a great meal on the cheap if you can somehow avoid the beer list and the line.

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Aphrodite's Organic Delights Cafe3598 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Pleasantly Surprised
Submitted Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 10:11pm [Dine in]

Long-time fan of the pies from this quirky shop but last night was the first time for dinner. I was very impressed with the meal and would recommend. The food is not really four star across the board but the pie is so delicious I bumped it up out of respect to the delicious desserts. I like the use of local and organic produce and the fresh sheet, which changes weekly, allows the menu to remain varied and true to the seasons. In most cases, we got the three-course fixed price – usually cost you between $30-35 – and that gets you a starter, main, and pie. Starters are straight forward; both house soup and salad are fine. The mains tonight were potato crusted salmon with vermouth butter sauce and crispy skin chicken with spatzle and mushroom jus. Both came well prepared, neither protein was dry, and the sauces/jus were rather actually tasty not just an afterthought. The assorted veggies that accompanied were well cooked, clearly individually prepared by type, and extremely fresh. Pie, of course, was extremely delicious. My favourites are the fruit pies with some whipped cream and the fact they have gluten free ones is a nice touch. Regular menu items sampled tonight were also very good and reasonably priced. For three, all in with tip and tax no booze but with drinks (killer homemade blueberry lemonade), it was just over $100. Service isn’t standard setting but the people for the most part are genuine and it was more than acceptable.

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Closed
Mon Bella1809 West 1st Ave, Vancouver
Good idea, needs polish
Submitted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 7:43pm [Dine in]

Went here for brunch this weekend and had an OK meal. Since it was 2 for 1 it was worth it but I would be weary to go back soon as there are a few kinks left to be worked out. The concept of the brunch menu is solid, a few classics, a couple options of omelettes and bennys, with what look to be unique and flavourful partnerships. Some are as advertised while others weren't all that great. The sides on all the plates (salad, potatoes, and tomatoes) were good though the temperature at which they were served was not always ideal. The consistency of the eggs was also hit and miss, some a little too firm, others just right. The Benny options are short (just four) and two of the three we had were good (smoked salmon and tomato/chorizo) but the french didn't really live up to its description. The mushroom omelette was good but I could have done something like it at home pretty easily. Server was nice but food was slow coming out of the kitchen, even though the resto was half full, as for some reason they did three tables at once (likely the reason for inconsistency in food temperature and eggs). Prices are reasonable, all under $12 I believe, but with so many other places around, they will need to smooth out their operation in order to catch up with the concept.

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Cafe Medina780 Richards St, Vancouver
Great place for upscale brunch
Submitted Sunday, February 8, 2009 - 6:00pm [Dine in]

I love a good brunch and Medina, in my books, has one of the best in the city. Sucker for the location and room, though it can be busy and noisy, I have always found the 'vibe' to be good. Menu highlights include the waffles, fricasse, tagine, and cassoulet. Waffles are my favourite, although usually can't get more than one as they aren't cheap. Fricasse is a hearty mix of fried egg, flavourful short rib, arugula, fried potato and onion, and cheese -- pretty much the best breakfast ever. The tagine offered a nice twist on classic breakfast plate and the cassoulet has a meaty goodness not found in many brunch plates. Impressed that the grilled foccacia and fruit salads we get on the side are always top-notch and not an afterthought. Some of the servers I have seen working have been so-so (likely since they are slammed for seven hours straight), but the owner/manager is great and has always taken care of us. It can run on the high end of price scale if you go for the full experience, but it is well worth it. Coffee is up to the task but the food is the real star here.

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Closed
Lumiere2551 W. Broadway, Vancouver
Back Among the Best
Submitted Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - 5:35pm [Dine in]

Simply put, the meal I had at Lumiere last week was likely the best fine dining meal I’ve had in Vancouver. The redesigned room is warm, stylish, and nicely sized – you feel very taken care of – and there is a sense of comfort even though you know you are in a high-end establishment. The service was wonderful. Insightful, unpretentious servers almost allowed us too much time (two and a half hours) but we barely noticed. The food was remarkable – among the highest quality I have had in the city but definitely not fussy. The squash ravioli had a nice balance of salty, earthy flavours with the natural sweetness of the squash, highlighted by the crispy pork belly, trumpet mushrooms, and sage brown butter. The scallop starter saw three bivalves cooked perfectly, accented with citrus and endive in multiple forms. The arctic char main was heavenly – possibly the best piece of fish I have had, slow cooked with leaks two ways (crunchy and creamy), crispy potatoes, and beurre rouge. The beef dish was full-bodied and robust. The short rib starred with an ideal texture and a smokey, sweet flavour. The ribeye was delicious in its own right and the potato fondant was rich and creamy, the lettuce package providing a bitter counterpoint to the dish. Desserts consisted of pineapple presented in 4-5 different ways, from savory (pounded out with fresh herbs) to a heavenly coconut rice pudding with pineapple sauce, and a deconstructed apple cake, with a confit of apples giving the tart, maple ice cream the sweet, and a delicate financier a bit of crunch and cream. The meal began with a delicious trio of amuse bouche highlighted by a velvety broccoli veloute and ended with Boulud’s signature lemon madeleines which are almost reason enough to head to Lumiere. The meal was worth every penny, especially since it only came to $175 for two people, taking advantage of the prix fixe menu being $58 a head in January. I will still go back when it returns to $98, just maybe not as often as I would like.

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