Thursday, November 10, 2011
Vancouver Restaurant: Chambar
My second night in Vancouver was highlighted with dinner at Chambar, with Lyndon, Mackell, Robin, and Alyssa. Mackell, Robin, Alyssa and I all went to high school together and the three of them moved out to Vancouver over the past few years. I don't recall the last time the four of us were in the same room together hanging out, so it was nice to spend an evening in their company.
Lyndon and I arrived first and although our table was ready we decided to sit at the bar and have a cocktail while we waited for the others to arrive. Robin came in first and sat at the bar right next to me and gave me this goofy look. I gave back a puzzled look before realizing that it was him as this was the first time I have seen him in about a year, we embraced and it was a nice reunion. Shortly after Mackell joined us, and the last time Mackell, Robin and I were together was in Iceland more then two years ago. We reminisced for a short time before Alyssa sneaked up behind me and tap me on the shoulder. We hugged and chatted for a short time before we were ushered to our table.
Chambar562 Beatty Street, Gastown, Vancouver, Canada
8 cocktail + 3 bottle wine + 6 course tasting menu for 5 < $500CAD
We sat down at our table located towards the back of the restaurant, and right behind us were these huge windows with a cool view of the surrounding buildings and urban area, which was all lit up in the darkness of the night. The view just highlighted the rest of the chic design of the room, with its unfinished brick walls, visible ceiling beams, and ultra sleek light fixtures. The walls were cover in modern art from local artists that could be purchased and upon inquiry of the art, I was shown all the pieces and given all of the artists information.
We drank our cocktails and looked over the menus. As we all looked and discussed what we were going to ordered, Robin looked at me and told me that he wasn't really sure what to do and that he would leave it in my hands. Mackell agreed, and Lyndon said all he wanted was more foie gras. So we all chatted about the things we wanted to try and the direction we would go in. Eventually the sommelier came over to our table to see if we wanted any wine with dinner. I took the lead immediately. I asked if we could possibly work out some sort of tasting menu for the table to share, it was a bit later in the night and the kitchen was not too busy so he figured it would not be a problem.
As the sommelier and I chatted about how much we wanted to eat and how much we wanted to spend, we decided that we would have six courses with three bottles of wine. We wanted the foie, the scallops, the mussels, and we did not want to have beef for our entree. He suggested the bison as an alternative, which sounded good to us.
Foie de canard “villa lorraine”
Spiced foie gras terrine, port reduction, kriek granita & truffled brioche french toast.
The foie was pretty good, again though, Lyndon preferred it at Hawkswort, I believe he will always be chasing that damn Hawksworth foie gras for the rest of his life. This was Robins first time trying foie as well, he said he liked it, but I could tell it was a bit different for him.
Les coquilles st. jacques
Qulicum Beach scallops, smoked kurobuta pork cheek, pickled green beans & horseradish vinaigrette.
The scallops were great, the key with scallops is to not over cooked them, and these were cooked just right. The pork cheek was delicious and salty, and added a nice flavour and texture.
Thon et chorizo
Lightly seared toro, marinated sweet peppers jalapeno vinaigrette, crispy chorizo,cilantro.
The peppers and cilantro on this dish seemed to take the whole thing over, no other flavours really came through. Everyone agreed that this was our least favourite of all the things we tried.
Mussels cooked with a tomato coconut cream, smoked chili & lime, fresh cilantro.
These mussels were excellent, very tasty. This time it had just the right amount of cilantro to complement the chilli and lime. They were so good that Robin just started drinking the jus right out of the ladle when there were no more mussels to eat.
The mussels also came with two orders of frites which were a nice addition to munch on. I think Robin was starting to feel more comfortable and possibly a little intoxicated, as when the sommelier came around Robin said to him, Now, what is the application of these? holding up a fry thinking he was being clever or something. The sommelier also being quite comfortable with our table took Robins hand dipped the fry and moved Robins hand towards his mouth. Making fun of Robin a little and we all had a good laugh.
Bison et choron fumé
Peppercorn crusted bison flatiron, wild forest mushrooms, caramelized baby potatoes, cornichons, smoked tomato béarnaise
By the time the bison entree came we were starting to get full. That was okay though as the portion size was just large enough for everyone to have a few tastes. Everyone really liked it.
Apple crepe terrine, whiskey milk jam, crab apple jelly & maple bacon ice cream.
Le Café Belge
Espresso cheesecake with belgian chocolate mousse, crème de cacao gelée & crisp chocolate wafers
By this time we were all a little pissed up, and well, we devoured the dessert selections with little regard for enjoying or savouring the flavour. From what I can remember they were both quite delicious, but the consensus pick was the apple. The maple bacon ice cream was to die for and worked so well with the apple terrine. The chocolate was extremely smooth and very good as well.
After dessert we all ordered one more drink to finish off the meal. I had some port, I don't really remember what anyone else got, but my port was excellent, I do love to end a meal with it. We continued chatting with the sommelier while finishing up. We built quite a re pore with him, he was excellent and catered to all our needs and requests. He had just the right amount of banter with us balanced with professionalism that made us very comfortable.
Before going to Vancouver I had heard that Chambar is quite pricey and has been costing on past reputation. Although it was indeed a little expensive, I feel we received value for what we spent. We were there for just over four hours, all the food was excellent, we were full and drunk when we left, and we had good conversation in a wonderful setting. I was very satisfied with my experience at Chambar, and I would recommend it for most any occasion.