We arrived in Vancouver rather late on September 11th, the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center and other attacks. It was a slightly uncomfortable day to be flying, and security at Boston’s Logan airport was tighter than usual. But the flight was uneventful, and we got to our hotel well past dinner time, famished. A nephew of ours was just starting up university in the city, so we arranged to meet up with relatives for a quick chat, but Mrs. MM and I needed some food. The hotel pointed us to the Blue Water Cafe, a ten minute walk away in Yaletown.
It was nice of the restaurant to accommodate us at the last minute, and we reviewed a spectacular sounding menu, see it here. But we just wanted something to tide us over until morning, a light late supper, seeing as it was by then early morning on the east coast, where our body clocks told us we were still at. So we started off with a shellfish platter with two or three kinds of oysters, prawns, mussels, clams, jellyfish, and scallop ceviche. Everything was delicious, incredibly fresh, just properly poached if cooked, and beautifully presented. For the oysters, we definitely had Read island oysters, and I asked for a couple of kusshi oysters from Cortes island. There may have been a third type, but I can’t recall for sure (I don’t take notes in restaurants). They were accompanied by a classic mignonette sauce and a cocktail sauce as well. The prawns, mussels and clams were good. The scallop ceviche was EXCELLENT. Really fantastic — raw scallops thinly sliced, with grapefruit sections, sliced red onions, cilantro and lots of lime juice. Exactly what you need after a long flight. Refreshing, light, but memorable. The other slam dunk surprise was the little plate of jellyfish. A normal feature in Chinese restaurant cold platters, this version was the most well flavored jellyfish I have EVER eaten. We tried to finagle the ingredients out of the chef, but our waiter came back from the kitchen simply confirming what we had asked… did it have sesame oil? perhaps a dash of light soy? a citrus?… I will never know, but what I usually eschew for last was possibly one of the two best things of the evening along with the ceviche.
We finished off the seafood platter (literally nothing left) and moved onto our “main course” which was in fact, one of their starters. A salad of greens with grilled watermelon, pickled watermelon rind, sheep’s milk cheese and a balsamic reduction. There menu also includes endremit olives, which I had never heard of before, and it seems they are Turkish in origin, just slighty bitter, and also make a delicious olive oil. The grilled watermelon was a bit of an eye opener — it intensified the flavor of the melon and paired beautifully with the (creamier than goat) sheep’s milk cheese. I had a glass of local white wine, sorry I can’t recall what kind it was, and was a very happy camper at about midnight. :)
The restaurant is rather large with a semi-circular raw bar and an open kitchen. I didn’t get a chance to take many photos indoors but I would say that while comfortable, it wasn’t particularly memorable, at least late at night. The star here was definitely the food, and on our one and only visit, the spectacular service. Our waiter really knew how to work the table and while casual in that North American vibe, extremely efficient and attentive despite what was obviously a “light” table. He got a massive tip for his efforts.
Our nephew and in-laws were coerced into ordering some coffees and desserts with us, despite a huge meal they had already consumed earlier in the evening, and we shared this warm dark cuban chocolate cake with brandy truffle center and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I ordered the lemon tart, and this somewhat over the top looking plate arrived. I love lemon tarts, even just plain classic lemon tarts, but this souped up version was amazing as well. A classic tart with good lemon curd was topped with a frozen meringue redolent with chopped nuts and drizzled with burnt orange sauce. The crown was some fried dough (could have done without that, but good for height and theatrics) and a sprinkled with powdered sugar. There were some berries as well. This was delicious! The meringue and lemon curd were a great textural and flavor mouth full. Yum. We may have only visitied Blue Water Cafe once, and had a fraction of its dishes, but we would definitely go back for more! Back at the hotel, I looked up the restaurant and it turns out it was voted Vancouver’s best seafood restaurant at one point, and I have to concur, it was a very good meal indeed.