I know it’s a travesty for someone who considers herself not only a gourmand, but also passionate about eating local to have not yet managed to dine at Vancouver’s Raincity Grill. But until Saturday that was the case.
I’m pleased to say I’ve finally checked that particular dining milestone off my list, and it lived up to all my expectations!
Without really glancing at the rest of the menu, Neil and I went straight for the current 100-mile tasting menu – Winter Cellar. The fact that three of the wine pairings were from one of our all-time favourite local wineries, Venturi-Schulze, and that the third course was Sloping Hills Pork absolutely sealed the deal.
I was a bit apprehensive about how much I’d really enjoy dinner, since I’m honestly a bit tired of the endless soups and stews we’ve been eating for what seems like an eternity, so I was delighted to have a meal in which Peter Robertson & team turned the same tired ingredients we’ve been cooking with all winter into some exciting new dishes.
First Course: Baked Helmers Potato Consome: creme frache, chive, seig linda potato gnocchi. Wine: Venturi-Schulze Bianco di Collina
Second Course: Seared Baynes Sound Scallop: fricassee of north arm farms vegetables, vegetable paper, jus gras. Wine: Venturi-Schulze Schonburger
Third Course: Crisp Sloping Hills Pork: pemberton valley root vegetable pave, north arm farm beetroot, jus gras. Wine: Garry Oaks Pinot Gris
Fourth Course: Grilled Pemberton Meadows Flank Steak: yukon gold potato puree, mushroom ragout, braised onion, beef jus. Wine: Garry Oaks Zeta
Fifth Course: Apple Tart Tartin: roast apple ice cream, aggasiz honey caramel. Wine: Venturi-Schulze Brandenburg No.3
Dinner was delicious. The wine pairings, while not particularly remarkable or adventurous, were spot on. And the service, which is my make-it or break-it benchmark for all things fine-dining was outstanding.
We also happened to be dining during Earth Hour, where the restaurant turned off all their lights (save for one in the kitchen) and the dining room, restrooms and pass-through were all lit by candlelight alone. It was a delightful twist on the evening, and nice to see the restaurant participating (even though the rest of the Denman/Davie intersection seemed as lit-up as usual).
All in all, it was a fantastic evening.
When I think about my experiences dining in Vancouver, I always end by asking myself “Would I rather return here, or try something new?” When it comes to Raincity, I’ll definitely be back.