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Daniel Boulud’s Broadway bistro is a breath of fresh air

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the opening of Daniel Boulud’s first Canadian restaurant, and most of it is deserved.

DB Bistro Moderne
2551 W. Broadway
Vancouver
604-739-7115

dbbistro.ca
Open for Lunch: Monday to Friday; noon to 2:30 p.m.
Open for Dinner:
Sunday to Wednesday; 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday to Saturday;
5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Open for Brunch: Saturday & Sunday; 11 am to 2:30 p.m.

Signature Drink: Winter Equinox
Signature Dish: DB Burger

Rating: ****
Dinner & drinks for two: $140

Boulud’s bistro is a breath of fresh air

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the opening of Daniel Boulud’s first Canadian restaurant, and most of it is deserved. A lovely room, above-the-notch service and an all-star kitchen…what’s not to like? It’s a little pricier than most, but not by much, and once you factor in the celebrity tax, it’s pretty darn reasonable.

Our group of three certainly had little to complain of. A starter of escargot and chicken oyster fricasse ($17) with hazelnut späetzle and button mushrooms had warmth of flavour and amazing texture. The chicken “oysters” are those little dumplings of meat by the tailbone. These were pan-fried, tender and made a good contrast to the earthiness of the escargot and mushrooms.

A duck terrine with onion compote ($14) was very nice, although I could have stood for more seasoning, and more bread to wipe it up with. Sunchoke velouté soup ($13) with tomato confit was beautiful to taste and see. A thick yellow cream, almost a chowder, was topped with little red pouffes of tomato. There’s a hint of molecular gastronomy in the air, but it’s not overdone.

Mains got some mixed reactions. My seared arctic char ($26) with yummy parsnip mousseline (mashed to you regular folk) and salsify was perfect. The char had a very crisp skin with buttery flesh. Moules frites ($24) in white wine sauce, on the other hand, weren’t “velouté” enough for Mar’s tastes and definitely needed more flavour. The clams were excellent quality and beautifully presented, but the sauce was just a bit too watery and plain for our tastes.

The fries, however, were fantastic (I think they were double-dipped). The DB burger ($28), a rich concoction of sirloin, short ribs and black truffle, was tasty -- and very tall -- but after eating half, Meg was stuffed. It’s not as fancy as the $150 version you can get in New York, but it’s a hearty, comforting and waistline-expanding handful that is somehow most reminiscent of a traditional roast beef dinner.

For dessert, we split two between the three of us. A blueberry-lemon tart ($11) was a mound of lemon foam covering blueberries in lemon cream over delicate pastry. The chocolate clafoutis ($11) was a bit confusing, albeit completely irresistible. It was actually more like a dark lava cake, with delicious sides of chocolate sorbet and vanilla ice cream. And it was, despite the momentary disconnect, a very nice finish to a very nice meal.

Sip This Tequila

Our memories and ideas of tequila usually revolve around midnight binge parties, body shots and other classy moments.

There is, however, another side to the agave beast, one that is more traditional, especially in the southern hemisphere. Premium tequilas are rated as highly as cognac or port, and should be imbibed in the same way.

One to try: Patrón Silver Tequila. At $89.99 at BCLS, it’s not the most expensive bottle you can find, but it’s definitely not the cheapest, and its crystal-clear liquid is light and surprisingly refreshing. Try on or off the rocks, and sip slowly.

Dine Out, Dine Now

Dine Out Vancouver is now in full swing, and yes, several restaurants still have seats available. Go to tourismvancouver.com for a full list of participating restaurants.

Dining Out

Wild Rice (117 W. Pender St.) is celebrating the Year of the Ox with a special New Year’s menu, which will run from Jan. 25 to Feb. 8. Enjoy steamed oxtail dumplings with side stripe prawn ceviche, braised Pemberton beef, and red bean and white chocolate jioaza. Three courses for $25. Call 604-642-2882.

Hart House (6664 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby) is extending its Dine Out menu until Feb. 11. Selections include smoked albacore tuna carpaccio, braised beef short ribs, seared scallops and cinnamon cake donuts. Three courses for $38. Call 604-298-4278.

Food in Brief

Chef Jeff van Geest, former owner of Aurora Bistro, has signed on to the kitchen at Diva at the Met. We are looking forward to tasting the Geest difference.

Double Diner Alert!

Two greasy-spoon openings of note: From the boys at Cobre comes Deacon’s Corner, and in the former Aurora Bistro space comes the Wallflower Diner. Stay tuned for reviews…

 
 
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