Claudia Kwan/for Metro Vancouver
Nu Restaurant & Lounge
1661 Granville (under the bridge)
Dinner for two, including drinks, tax and tip: $115
*** (out of 5)
In the past, i’ve counted on Nu as a sophisticated hangout to have a nibble and a drink. This time I took advantage of its extension of Dine Out Vancouver to have an early Valentine’s dinner.
The glass walls still frame the same waterfront view, the clever elongated oval of the logo continues to be echoed through the space, and the beautiful/uncomfortable egg carton chairs are still there, but Nu has gone through some big personnel changes lately. Perhaps that explains our uneven experience.
An offer to take our coats at the door was extended and abruptly rescinded because there was room for them at the table. That brisk, ‘you’re not very welcome’ tone extended throughout the night after we ordered from the $25 and $35 bargain menus, even after the Sunday evening rush died down.
The food appeared to be the saving grace, with a luscious truffle-oiled lobster bisque and stylishly presented trio of candied, carpaccio, and smoked salmon. The delicately cooked lobster in the soup was worth another go round, so I added a tail onto my entree, and my beau went whole hog with lobster tail atop cheese soufflé, accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth side stripe prawns and wilted spinach.
My braised boneless lamb shank needed a more hefty hand, with the couscous soaking up most of the tomato flavour and lamb jus needed by the slightly dry meat. Then I found a 7.5-centimetre shard of bone in the dish.
It’s always interesting to see how a restaurant deals with a misstep. It wouldn’t have made sense to remove the dish from the bill since it was part of an already heavily discounted menu. Instead, the manager offered to send over another dessert on top of the two we already had coming. We politely and firmly declined, and I’m still undecided over whether it was good or bad service that the extra showed up. They were delicious but went to waste because we were so full.
Nu was amazingly good value but I don’t think I can count on it as a dinner destination for now.