Amid the black leather chairs, dark hardwood and subdued diners at Juilliard Restaurant and Lounge, Veronica Cowan scanned an extra special menu. The 29-year-old regular customer was deciding whether to select her favourite item based on her stomach’s preferences or her ears’ tastes.
Jean-Marc St. Pierre, Cowan’s work colleague who’s in town from Toronto, settles on his pick instantly. “I’d go with the Michael Bublé. It’s a good pairing of the music with the food,” he said.
“That’s what I like to hear!” said Juilliard owner Jesse Glasnovic.
The restauranteur debuted a Juno-inspired dinner menu on Tuesday. Its five dishes — from Avril Lavigne’s “The Best Damn Thing” vegetarian risotto with wild mushrooms to Feist’s soy and Alberta “Honey, Honey” glazed chicken — are each based on one of the 2008 nominees for Album of the Year.
“There’s a buzz building around (the menu),” said Glasnovic. “It’s a fun, unique way of being part of the event.”
Glasnovic gave his executive chef, Andrew Kazakoff, specific directions to create each entrée. For example, the Lavigne dish had to be meatless because the 24-year-old pop princess is a vegetarian.
And of course, the Céline Dion selection had to be French. So Kazakoff came up with a French Duck Confi with dried cherry bread pudding. The menu says there’s also a “Surprise, Surprise” of bitter sweet chocolate, playing on a track title from Dion’s album Taking Chances.
In honour of Vancouver-born Bublé’s album, Kazakoff crafted a west coast salmon with Call Me Irresponsible lime and tarragon beurre blanc. The Anne Murray-inspired entrée invokes her album’s title Duets, Friends and Legends by pairing “the legendary duet” of tenderloin and lobster. And the honey used in the Feist dish is actually farmed in Alberta, where the indie folk songwriter began her musical career.