Last week I was given the opportunity to preview a couple of the restaurants menus taking part in the Taste of Yaletown, you can find out more about the event by clicking here. For this visit we stopped by the Yaletown Farmers Market where we were greeted by all the Chefs with a bag of produce and recipe from one of the local restaurants to make a delicious soup. The market runs every Thursday from Noon to 4PM till December 19th, 2013. For our preview we stopped at Minami as well as The Parlor, while lunch is the focus this year some of the restaurants are offering dinner menus.
We checked our 2 differently priced offerings from Minami for lunch, $15 and $25 options. This is the $15 Suzuki Tempura Bap with seasonal vegetables, kale gomae, tsukemono, steamed rice and feature miso soup (pickles in this case). The tempura was well cooked but the batter was slightly on the thick side, they fish however was cooked beautifully. For me the star of the dish was the kale gomae, it had a nice depth of flavor and the sauce had a beautiful nuttiness. This dish would totally fill you up if you had it for lunch and is one of the better bargains in the Taste of Yaletown.
The $25 option is a Minami Zen box with 5 piece chef’s selection sushi, aburi bincho with wasabi masatake sauce, chicken tofu salad with baby greens, sous-vide chicken breast, miso marinated tofu, umami soy vinaigrette, ebi fritter with Asian slaw, sweet chili mayo, soy-balsamic reduction and sterling silver karubi pork rib with apple-ginger haccho miso sauce, spiced apple-raisin chutney. Overall this is a pretty standard offering from Minami and they never let you down with the different Zen box dishes. Not pictured is the Green Tea Crème Brûlée, it’s thick and rich with a nice punch of matcha.
We finished up at the Parlour on Hamilton Street. Here the offerings are slightly different with a $10 sandwich and soup option for lunch to dinner offerings of an appy and beer for $15 to two appys and a pizza for $39. We sampled 4 appys, 3 pizzas as well as getting 3 sandwiches at the table.
This is the $10 lunch option, you get your choice of Sandwich and daily soup or chili. The bread for all their sandwiches is made using the dough for the pizza and baked to order with each sandwich. I didn’t eat the sandwich pictured above but did try the Beef Dip. The bread was amazing but I didn’t much care for the flavor of the dip with it being very one note and lacked depth of flavor.
1st up for the appys were the Ahi Lettuce Wraps with tuna, Avocado, Citris Ginger Soy, Mint, Spicy Ponzu Aioli and Crispy Shallots. These lettuce wraps were bright and fresh in the flavor department with the spicy ponzu aioli really adding nice heat and tang.
The Parlour does a delicious Salmon Tartare with Steelhead, Seaweed, Bonito, Sesame Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Ponzu Aioli, Micro Cilantro. Again this dish had a nice tang to it with the ponzu which really heightened the salmon’s richness. I really loved how they put the aioli on the bottom of the dish, it really let the diner control the amount they got in each bite.
My favorite of the appys was the Burrata. Each crustini was a perfect bite of cheese, prosciutto and apricot port reduction, and the dish is also served with a Frisée & Bacon salad. The apricot reduction was the star of the dish for me with it adding a bright, fruitiness to the rich burrata.
Short Ribs rounded out the selection of appys. Sliced thin and full of flavor these short ribs melted in my mouth. Flavor wise the short ribs reminded me of Maui ribs-sweet with a soy base.
Pizzas hit the table fast and furious with The Dirty-meatball, extra pepperoni, banana pepper and mozzarella cheese, served with a house made ranch sauce on the side. I didn’t try this pizza but it along with the ranch sauce was a big hit with everyone else at the table.
The Goldmember with caramelized onion, mushroom duxelle, Yukon gold potato, truffle oil, Gruyère and mozzarella. This pizza was full of big favors from the truffle oil and caramelized onion while the mushroom duxelle added a nice earthiness.
Lastly we have The Yaletown with albacore tuna, red onion, green onion, avocado, cilantro, jalapenos and spicy aioli. I think the concept of this pizza is great with the ahi tuna and spicy aioli but the fresh jalapeno over shadowed the other ingredients with their heat so you might want they left off. This was actually really light and didn’t weigh my stomach down but man was it spicy!
Overall I enjoyed both restaurants and love the new lunch concept in addition to the dinner features for the Taste of Yaletown this year. From the dishes I tried to the ones I want to go back for I think I’m going to make a good dent in the menus this year.
**Disclosure-All my food items and drinks were comped by the participating restaurants for the Taste of Yaletown media event. My opinion and experience are completely my own.**