January 24, Monday – Rainy
This year, I only went to three restaurants for the Dine Out Vancouver menu. The first one was Bistro 101 at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts outside of Granville Island. Their DOV 3 course dinner menu is $18 which I saw as a value meal to try out. Parking wasn’t easy and we ended up with street meter parking.
When we entered the restaurant, we were surprised how well they made it look with minimal decoration, simple black tables and chairs with tea lights. Most tables had a view of the river or Granville Island. I believed that an instructor was there to guide student servers. He showed us the chocolate workstation while a student inside was practicing how to temper chocolate. We then sat at our table and were welcomed by the student waitress. She was trying hard to introduce herself and the menu. But she was very green and you could totally tell that she was reading from a script and made a few mistakes on the way. But, well, it’s part of the fun. So after taking our orders, the bread were served.
The bread was really tough and the butter was just ordinary unsalted butter made into small balls. I don’t usually eat my bread so after tasting them. I left them on my bread plate and I think D ended up eating them later.
We both ordered the Steam Local Mussels with fries as our appetizer. The mussels were cook in a very mild curry sauce. They were small and a few were not completely cooked. I just discarded the dead ones and the rest was alright. The fries were very thin and pretty good. My friend went on the day after and he said the salad would have been a better choice.
We both ordered the Veal Osso Bucco as our main. Each serving had 2 pieces of osso bucco with vegetables and risotto.
This was the funny part of this meal. All 4 pieces of our osso bucco tasted different. They were prepared by student cooks and I was lucky to get 1 of mine from an “A-student”. Very nice and tender and well braised with Cabernet and pan juice. My other piece was not as good but not bad. D however got 1 very tough piece. His other piece was alright. I ended up giving him half of my “A-student” osso bucco and half of my second piece as well.
The risotto was over done but tasted OK if you try to steer away the expected texture of risotto. D got most of my risotto as well. The vegetable was actually pretty well prepared and I finished them all by myself.
While waiting for our dessert to arrive, we got bored and was playing with the bone from the osso bucco. 😛
I had the Lemon Meringue Tart as dessert and it was unfortunately bad. The crust was very thick and hard to cut through and the lemon custard was overly sour. (And I LOVE sour food, so this one is beyond me sour.) The meringue was too sweet. The very pretty candied lemon slice was just a decorative item. I embarrassed myself by trying to bite through it and failed. The berry sorbet was the best part of this dessert.
D had better luck with his Chocolate Mousse Dome. The chocolate mousse was smooth and not overly sweet. He also liked the crunchy cracker on the side was well.
Despite of 1 tough piece of osso bucco and the not so great lemon tart, we still think this was an OK dine out dinner. For $18, I think it’s pretty good value for the price. It’s student created food so they were not very consistant.
We as diner got to see how students got trained in the kitchen behind the glass windows and on the floor. I though the student waitress at the table next to ours actually did a pretty good job. May be she had some serving experience before. Our waitress was trying really hard but I think she was younger and less experienced. Poor girl had so many burnt marks on her arm (probably working in the kitchen from her cooking classes). It reminded me that it’s not easy to become a chef.
I don’t think we will come back for their regular price menu but we may try it out again next DOV.