reviewVancouver’s 10 greatest (not-yet-Michelin-starred) bites of 2022December 24, 2022
This was Vancouver’s yr to shine. After I first noticed the alternatives for the Michelin information, my first thought was, “Nice! My work right here is completed!” Lastly, we have now obtained worldwide recognition for the intimate, unpretentious and numerous type of eating that Vancouver does greatest.
Having dined very fortunately at seven of the eight one-starred eating places this yr, I might have turned this characteristic into an inventory of the Michelin information’s best hits.
However there are such a lot of extra eating places and dishes in Vancouver and past which might be equally deserving. These are 10 standouts. The perfect (not-yet-Michelin-starred) bites of 2022.
Perogies at Kozak Ukrainian Restaurant
1 West Cordova St., Vancouver, 778-955-9135, kozakeatery.ca
Like many, I went to the brand new Kozak in Gastown as an act of solidarity, anticipating to discover a modest mom-and-pop store serving rustic, homestyle fare. As a substitute, I found essentially the most polished Ukrainian restaurant in Vancouver’s Decrease Mainland – fairly presumably all of Canada. The crescent-shaped varenyky (perogies) are dumplings of nice magnificence – thinly rolled, tightly stuffed and neatly pinched. They arrive in an assortment of flavours, from vibrant dill-and-potato to wild boar and smoked prune (a latest particular). They are often ordered fried to a golden crisp or boiled to a silky end. Attempt them as snacks, paired with a well-made craft cocktail or a glass of pure wine; as a prelude to a principal course; and even with a dollop of recent cream on the sour-cherry flavour for dessert.
Bitter cabbage fish scorching pot at The Fish Man
1170-8391 Alexandra Rd., Richmond, 604-284-5393, fishmanrestaurant.com
Bo Li, chef-owner of The Fish Man, not too long ago scored a powerful hat trick on the Chinese language Restaurant Awards, profitable three commendations: greatest Sichuan; restaurant of the yr; and rising star chef. For those who’re questioning what makes his cooking so spectacular, look no additional than his signature bitter cabbage scorching pot. The spicy stew makes use of a roasted pork-bone broth that’s so wealthy it’s nearly velvety. Dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns gently buzz and tingle within the background, completely balanced with pickled cabbage in order that none of those normally robust flavours overpower the diner’s alternative of fish. A skilled sushi chef, Mr. Li is obsessive in regards to the high quality of his fish. He solely makes use of native B.C. merchandise which might be sustainable and plucked stay from tanks. I’ve eaten this dish numerous instances and have really useful it to dozens of individuals. Everybody raves.
Duck liver parfait on honey cruller at Bar Susu
209 sixth Ave. E, Vancouver, 604-874-4687, thisisbarsusu.com
A correct French cruller, fried to order in order that the ethereal choux pastry continues to be moist and steamy inside its crisp shell, is a uncommon deal with. The creamy duck liver parfait piped over these honey-dipped rings was the literal icing on the cake. A daub of rhubarb jam and a sprinkling of peanut brittle added tart distinction and crunch. The unhealthy information? These decadent doughnuts are now not out there at Bar Susu, which is shifting again into the extra informal, snacky course that was all the time supposed for this beautiful natural-wine bar. The excellent news? Chef Ash Kurtz has opened the close by Novella Espresso Bar and will probably be rolling out a brand new iteration when the night eating program launches in late January.
The fried rooster crois-sando at Downlow Hen Shack and Beaucoup Bakery & Café
DownLow Hen Shack, varied areas, dlchickenshack.ca
Beaucoup Bakery, 2150 Fir St. Vancouver, 604-732, 4222, beaucoupbakery.com
These two Vancouver establishments aren’t any strangers to scrumptious, limited-release collaborations. Beaucoup Bakery, which can quickly be opening a brand new downtown location, created the Lunar New 12 months cult-classic Peking Duck Croissant with Chinatown BBQ. DownLow’s Nashville scorching fried rooster has been paired with every little thing from pizza and schnitzels to tacos and doughnuts. However once they got here collectively final summer season for a one-day pop-up, the consequence was an over-the-top style sensation of epic proportions. The fried rooster crois-sando featured a fats, crunchy rooster thigh sandwiched between a flaky croissant that had DL’s medium spice folded immediately into the butter. The cross-genre mashup was laminated with bright-red stripes, smeared with creamy sauce, popped with sweet-and-sour pickles and chin-dripping scrumptious. I deliberate on solely taking a couple of bites; a couple of minutes later, I had devoured the entire thing.
Chicories with curry-leaf vinaigtette, brown butter and apple at Elephant
1879 Powell St., Vancouver, 604-895-4233, elephantinvancouver.com
Elephant is a regenerative restaurant. Chef Justin Lee primarily makes use of complete animals and all their nasty bits, alongside the less-loved greens that farmers have hassle promoting. Sommelier and normal supervisor Kelcie Jones sources from holistic winemakers who develop their very own grapes, work in tandem with nature and pay their winery employees a residing wage. However the two of them additionally work in very shut concord with one another. Though my restaurant overview centered on the meals, the dishes all shone that a lot brighter due to Ms. Jones’s wine pairings. The bitter chicories in curry-leaf French dressing, served with a 2019 Vouvray from François et Julien Pinon, was essentially the most transformative. Though there was brown butter within the combine, the French dressing was sharply acidic, nearly palate-stripping. The chenin blanc matched the salad with “a crescendo of acidity” as Ms. Jones poetically put it. However, as high quality acidic wines do, it had a mouth-watering impact that softened the bitterness, tamed the punch and heightened the apple’s sweetness. The pairing was magical.
Musetto e brovade at Carlino
1115 Alberni St., Vancouver, 604-695-1115, carlinorestaurant.com
There’s a lot extra to Italian delicacies than spaghetti carbonara and linguine vongole. Carlino, a terrific new addition to the Shangri-La Resort, has expanded Vancouver’s restricted regional repertoire with elevated peasant dishes from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia. This crispy pork head on fermented turnips, which just about sounds German or Alsatian in origin, was one of the memorable. Instead of the standard sausage, government chef Mark Perrier breaks down all of the fatty, flavourful bits from a pig’s head and shapes it into patties. Seasoned with heat, cotechino-like Christmas spices and fried to a
golden crisp, the luxurious pork is served over a tangy counterpoint of fermented white turnips which have been lacto-fermented in red-wine grape should from La Stella Vineyard.
5 spice BBQ quail at Boulevard Kitchen + Oyster Bar
845 Burrard St., Vancouver, 604-642-2900, boulevardvancouver.ca
Roger Ma’s beautiful ode to Cantonese-style roast squab begins with juicy jumbo quails from Thiessen Farm. The meat is milder than squab, which leans a bit musky. The birds are blanched to higher soak up a signature five-spice brine, then aged for seven to 12 days to tenderize and focus the flavours. The pores and skin is slathered with a sweet-and-sour glaze, impressed by Richmond’s Hong Kong BBQ Grasp and painstakingly perfected at residence in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then it’s roasted to a phenomenally glassy, shattering crisp. That is consolation BBQ par excellence and infrequently out there as a characteristic or particular order.
Charred octopus with sunchokes, jalapeno and Leche de Tigre at Botanist
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver, 604-695-5509, botanistrestaurant.com
Via its collection of collaborative dinners with world-famous bars, the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Botanist Bar and Restaurant is on a mission to show that cocktail pairings belong within the realm of high-quality eating. Personally, I don’t want any convincing. However the newest occasion, a Dia de los Muertos dinner with Mexico Metropolis’s Hanky Panky, did make me suppose that maybe it’s time for this kitchen to interrupt freed from its locavore straitjacket and lean closely into government chef Hector Laguna’s Mexican heritage. Each dish, together with the chorizo and caviar, grilled corn with cotija cheese and black truffles, and lamb barbacoa, was a success. The spicy charred octopus, lifted by pickled garlic scapes and paired with a refreshing, green-tea highball, is one which made it onto the common menu.
Quebec foie gras parfait at Bearfoot Bistro
4121 Village Inexperienced, Whistler, 604-932-3433, bearfootbistro.com
There have been some huge modifications at Whistler’s legendary Bearfoot Bistro: founder André Saint-Jacques left in the course of the pandemic. However one essential part stays the identical: government chef Melissa Craig (Mr. Saint-Jacques’s accomplice) continues to be cooking sublimely. After two latest visits, I might truly say that she is cooking on the high of her recreation. Ms. Craig has all the time had a particular contact with layering flavours and constructing textures. Her beautiful Quebec foie gras parfait is a placing instance. The buttery duck liver is amplified and invigorated by satiny ribbons of melt-in-the-mouth duck prosciutto that was cured with a robust kick of fennel within the restaurant’s wine cellar. Pear compote provides a contact of sweetness. A cocoa-and-bergamot crumble ties all of it along with colour-blocking class and crunch.
Caramel choux à la crème at Naramata Inn
Naramata Inn, 3625 1 St., Naramata, B.C., 778-514-5444, naramatainn.com
I loved many fantastic bites over two dinners this summer season on the Naramata Inn. The ambrosial apple sourdough, the dazzling albacore-trim croquettes and the completely addictive fermented potato chips have been all robust contenders. However Liz Stevenson’s magnificent cream puffs with salted honey caramel, crunchy toffee and crème fraîche sorbet was most likely my greatest chew of the yr. The baked puff was pastry perfection (crackly, golden, custardy inside), crammed to order, speckled with texture and tethered with recent tang. Ms. Stevenson is a veritable pastry famous person, having labored in among the world’s greatest kitchens, together with London’s Mayfair, The Ivy and Dominique Ansel Bakery. In a province that doesn’t do pastry nicely in any respect, her excellence stands out sharply. She is now working as a contract marketing consultant, based mostly within the South Okanagan, however I think about that her caramel choux will stay on on the Naramata Inn. Wherever she goes subsequent, I’ll observe like a faithful pet.