Category Archives: Schwwwanky places

Salmon House on the Hill (September 24th, 2012)

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Hey guys, A here to get the ball rolling on this post. Nestled deep in the North Shore mountains is a bit of a gem..not hidden, but a gem nevertheless. As you probably suspected by now, we love our seafood, and this place rivals Blue Water Cafe in terms of the care they take into preparing their food. Of course, it’s different as BWC emphasizes their raw bar a lot more, as Salmon House on the Hill trumpets their alderwood grill (which I have to say permeates almost every single dish on the menu).

However, it’s not just the menu. Oh no. It’s the wine list, which is an extensive one at that. S and I have only been wine lovers for a little while now, but they know their vitis vinifera here. A wine list that requires its own dedicated book that is significantly thicker than the menu, and also one that must be requested via email, as it is not available on the website. But fear not, if you’re a relative wine novice like us, as the staff are VERY helpful and will explain whatever you need to be explained. But by now I’m sure I’m rambling and you want to see what we ate! So here they are:

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Complimentary bread, three ways; with butter, and white bean purée infused with lemon zest and drizzled with olive oil

The three kinds of bread were: regular white, sundried tomato, and cheese bread. I really appreciated the white bean purée as it was imaginative, and didn’t overpower the bread. It was refreshing with a hint of lemon, and balanced all three kinds of bread well. Other than that, pretty solid for some munchies while we wait. – B

The white bean purée was a clever play on humous; for those who dislike garlic yet want the texture of humous, this would be an ideal spread for you. The lemon zest worked well with it. As for the bread, it was the typical run of the mill type stuff; probably because both A and I were hungry by then, we each wolfed down several pieces. It also came with salted whipped butter, which always works with nice warm bread. Note: ratings may be artificially inflated for this bread as we were hungry, but I really enjoyed the white bean purée – B+

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Alder-grilled Tostadas and Dungeness Crab with cilantro, mango salsa and roasted garlic aioli ($13.50)

Normally I wouldn’t associate tacos with “fine dining”…and in all honesty, the ingredients were rather ordinary in this dish, but it was the way they were harmonized which made this special. The creamy sweetness of the mango, with the chimmichurri character of the aioli playfully interacting with the herbal notes from the cilantro. Not listed in the menu was some alfafa which gave some bitterness which rounded out the flavours. It wasn’t in-your-face Mexican, but a great West Coast twist. – A

OMG. SO GOOD. This was my favourite part of the entire night. For those of you who know about my crab nightmare last night, A ordered this as an appie for us to share sort of coyly; I personally had no say in what we ordered hahah. In any case, I was thoroughly impressed with this dish. There was a large chunk of crab (both shredded and right from the claw) tossed in creamy avocado and mango salsa with chimmichurri sauce on the side. SO GOOD ASLDFJASLDFKJ. I was going to give this dish an A+ before I found a few pieces of shell in my tostada. Flavourwise, A+ , but for a restaurant this calibre, it would be nice if they took more time removing the shells; so my rating goes down to an – A

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Smoked Salmon Wrapped Haida Gwaii Halibut with artichoke and lobster butter sauce ($34) – A-

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Paired with: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2010, Coastal California – A

Well, well. The only oaked Chardonnay on the list which is served by the glass just so happens to go well with the two mains on the Salmon House menu I have tried (halibut and the sablefish). Buttery, oaky, and reminiscent of popcorn and…well, butter! As for the fish, apart from lobster butter sauce, there was a bit of lobster meat included on the side, and I have to say that halibut, which is normally a very meaty fish, balanced well with the smooth creamy buttery sauce. I have to say that I prefer the sablefish (I’m a sucker for buttery textures), and this particular wine was a match made in heaven for it. However, the halibut is no slouch. It was a solidly cooked fillet, and the accompanying vegetables rounded out this course quite well.

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Seared Coriander Crusted Ahi Tuna with potato, berry salsa and orange vinaigrette ($32)

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Paired with: Silk Scarf Riesling-Muscat blend (S’s wine)

As you know, I simply adore seared Ahi Tuna, so when I saw this on the menu, it was a winner already. When it came, I was surprised at how thinly cut it was. It was a large portion of fish; however, it was extremely thin. It came with mixed autumn vegetables like squash, bell peppers, beans, and zukini as well as roasted potato. Though impressive that such a thin piece of fish was not cooked all the way through, it was still much less rare than I prefer it. The crusted coriander didn’t taste very unique and it just felt like I was eating a tuna version of a black pepper steak. All in all, I was not very impressed with the cooking of this fish; however, the berry salsa on top was delicious. I just wished there was more of it to counteract the saltiness of the fish. The potatoes were roasted to perfection and helped balance out the fish once again. The accompaniments were much better than the main attraction, and for that reason, I will give this dish a B-

The Silk Scarf Riesling, upon first swirl and sniff, brought a whirlwind of flavour to my gustatory system. With hints of apple, peach, and apricot, I was really looking forward to this wine. To my dismay, the taste of it resembled that of any table wine and was not anything special. It wasn’t a horrible wine, it just wasn’t all that great – B-

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Warm lava dark chocolate cake with banana ice cream ($9.50) – A

Again, a caveat with me, being a person who doesn’t get to enjoy dessert at many restaurants (peanut allergy, curse you!), is that I don’t have a lot of sweet stuff to compare this to… but damn, this was good. Molten white chocolate inside, raspberry drizzle to balance out the taste, banana ice cream to neutralize the overwhelming chocolate (which was incredible), and a bit of colour from… I don’t know what those are, but they were aesthetically pleasing, regardless.

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Espresso Gelato Sandwich ($9.50)

Presentation, presentation, presentation! If anything, Salmon House had the best presentation of any restaurant I have ever been to. My espresso gelato sandwich comprised of espresso gelato sandwiched between two chocolate cookies with a beautifully crafted dark chocolate flower on top. On the other side (unfortunately hidden from the picture) was a layer of thin white chocolate draping over the cookies and the gelato. To the side are bunches of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and gooseberries. The flavour of the gelato was strong and impactful. Alternating the chocolate cookie with the gelato and the sourness of the berries, it brought the perfect blend of tart and sweet to my palate. It was a delicious dessert; the flavours aren’t that extraordinarily unique, however, they were impactful and worked well. Pretty hard to mess up this dessert. – A-

This was quite a memorable meal, and while it wasn’t a tasting menu and a whirlwind of flavours, it was a collection of good plates and a wine list that will suit every taste and preference. We will definitely be back again, and who knows, it may pop up in a future post! 😉 With that, here are a couple more shots of the interior!

All in all, though I was disappointed by my entree, everything else was delicious and the presentation will definitely have me coming back for more. The view from the restaurant is also spectacular. If you decide to give Salmon House a try, you will not be disappointed and TRY THE TOSTADAS! Well, its back to calculus for me…THANK YOU MOMMY AND DADDY MAH! 🙂

– Love, S

Oh yeah guys, don’t forget to click the Urbanspoon link on the bottom of this post to see what our fellow food bloggers have to say about this amazing place! You help us get our blog out and we help you find great places for that special occassion. Quite symbiotic, nah?

– Cheers, A

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Here are some of the dishes my folks had. Of course they were delicious, they wouldn’t share ;).

From left to right (first row, then second): Fresh shrimp (3 for $9); Alderwood-cooked sablefish ($32); Seafood trio ($31); Crème Brulée ($9.50)

I could get used to this view…

Salmon House on the Hill on Urbanspoon

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Blue Water Cafe

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LAST VISITED: JULY 2, 2012 (A&S)

Hey guys – S  here. Because this loser here jumped the gun and jumped right into the meat (hah see what I did there?) of things, I guess I’ll give the rundown of how this is going to work. Some of the posts will be of places that we have individually visited; in attempt of giving a truly diverse flavour (HAH DID IT AGAIN, AREN’T I PUNNY) of the food that makes us (or mostly me) fat, we will try our best to document all places from shwanky places like the one in this post, to dives like…well, you’ll see. Other posts will be meals that we have had together, in which commentary will be denoted as follows:

A: BLACK

S: RED

I suppose, by that virtue, this means that we’ll have to try Global’s Black & Blue sometime…ANYWAYS. We will be operating on a grading system. Yes, post-secondary grades just don’t go away. I’m sure you are all familiar with the system. And yes, because we are Asian, we have high standards. SON, Y U NO A. Anyways…

EDIT: I added prices by request.

So, let’s start this thing off with a bang, shall we...I apologize for my not-so-better half…sometimes he just lets one rip in public… =S Anyways…on with our inaugural food post =D

Blue Water Cafe, located at 1095 Hamilton Street is well-known (oh dear, I already used a weasel word) for top-notch seafood in the city, and while we did discuss very extensively as to where our next splurge should be, we eventually arrived at the decision to try this place.

The opening impression when you walk through the revolving doors is two-fold. One, is a fairly frequented establishment even on a weekday (we went on a Monday), and two, that the service is not pretentious at all. We were pleasantly seated and the menu was well-explained to us. The waitress that served us was a lovely young waitress that was extremely attentive well-versed in the menu 🙂 Thumbs up to her.

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Bread with lentil and olive oil spread and seaweed butter[Complimentary bread]
Adam’s rating: C+
Shereen’s rating: C

The bread was your typical dinner rolls, but the seaweed butter was inventive. The faint taste of brine that you’d normally get in seaweed unexpectedly went well with the savoury, rich texture of the butter. The lentil spread was not anything I was used to and I’d go as far as to say it was unsettling.

If you’ve ever eaten with me, you’ll know that I absolutely LOVE bread at the beginning of meals. Why? Its free and I’m Asian and I’m usually starving by the time its dinner time (though, I do tend to fill myself up on carbs before my meal actually comes…)! Needlesstosay, I was pretty underwhelmed by the bread here at Blue Water Cafe. Presentation was lovely, which, if you know me, is pretty important to me. However, the plain dinner rolls weren’t particular impressive to me. The seaweed butter though did help compensate for this, however, the lentil spread,just didn’t do it for me. I expected humus…it definitely was not. It was watery in texture and tasted just…off. However, because I’m a fatass, I ate alot of it anyways, waiting for food to come…Note: my favourite bread baskets are at Provence Marinaside, Griffins, and Ciao Bella.

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Pablo Honey Fresh grapefruit juice with mint, lemon juice and honey syrup – B+ // A-
Price: Don’t remember.

I was driving so I had the mocktail. It was zesty, yet sweet, yet refreshing from the mint that BWC was not shy about being generous with. It went well with all the seafood we had and was a great way to cleanse the palate.

Took a sip of this, and from what I got, it tasted like a non-alcoholic mojito. It was quite good. I’d give it a A-. Pretty sure A here would rate it higher if he weren’t such an alchy and jealous that he couldn’t drink =p

Price: Don’t remember.

B+

Couldn’t decide on a drink for awhile since they did not have the ever-evasive Dr Loosen Riesling that I so desire. I was contemplating ordering a martini so I could be classy like James Bond, but didn’t know whether Blue Water would give me a true sample of what a martini was like for my first one. I elected to ask our waitress for suggestions. I was looking for something that wasn’t too sweet (don’t drink your calories, kids) and had a tart taste to it. And if you know me, I adore just about everything sour. Regretfully, I forget the name of this drink, but she recommended it as one of her favourites. It tasted like limoncello with some ginger and another citrus-y liquer. Definitely was not too sweet which I liked. I’d give this one a B- on the basis of the fact that I had a similar but better tasting limoncello drink at Italian Kitchen.

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Kuramoto Oysters, raw on the half-shell – [$3.50/ea]

Adam’s rating: B
Shereen’s rating: B, but for oysters, they were an A

Not quite the quality of oysters you’d get at Joe Fortes, but they were fresh, and had a metallic taste about them. There was a ginger, rice wine and shallots accompaniment and I requested Tabasco as well 😉

I’m not the greatest fan of raw oysters so I’m not sure I can provide an objective opinion on these. I simply cannot appreciate the slimy texture of raw oysters. I’d have to say that the Asian-inspired sauce definitely made the experience better. Also, the lemon tabasco combination makes everything better! Oddly enough, I did enjoy these more than I enjoyed the ones at Joe Fortes

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Smoked Salmon Terrine (BC Tasting for Two) – [$16.50/perperson; this was for the entire BC Tasting appie]

Adam’s rating: A
Shereen’s rating: B+

Quite possibly my favourite dish on the BC Tasting Menu tower. A play on classical French pâté, it was flavourful, rich from the cream cheese interlaced between the thinly cut strips of smoked salmon ( simulate the fat streaks from classical meat terrine), and oh so fresh. It was served with arugula greens and fish roe, and a split olive on top.

One of my favourite dishes of the tasting menu. Well, A did the heavy lifting for me there with the description. But he did get that wrong. On top was not an olive, but a caper berry. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the caper berry, it is essentially a larger juicier version of a caper. A here doesn’t like caper and didn’t have any; not that I complained, more for me! Alternating bites of the salmon with the caper berry gave it that level of pickled tartness that complemented the fishiness of the salmon rather well. Smoked salmon and cream cheese is always a win. My only complaint was that there was not enough of this for both of us , leaving us licking our lips. I suppose this was for the best since there were many other dishes to follow…It was a good dish but not something I would die to have again

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Tuna Tartare with miso reduction (BC Tasting for Two)


Adam’s rating: B+
Shereen’s rating: B+

The miso reduction lent a nice soy flavour to the fish, but I’m more of a meat person myself so I prefer beef tartare. Nevertheless it was a solid dish.

Another Asian-inspired dish. Again, pretty solid. The delicate fish paired with the crunchiness of the deepfried wonton was a nice play on chips and salsa and worked well together. Again, my rating would be the same as the first one.

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Scallops Ceviche (BC Tasting for Two)


Adam’s rating: B
Shereen’s rating: A-

The tomato and coriander flavours were prominent, and complimented the scallops, rather than competed with them.

Shereen loves ceviche. This was executed well. But ceviche is ceviche. It was great, but didn’t pop out that incredibly.

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Dungeness Crab Salad with Green Apple Foam and Spice (BC Tasting for Two)


Adam’s rating: C
Shereen’s rating: D

I was intrigued by this tier, as I anticipated a tart flavour to accompany the crab’s, with maybe a little punch from the spice on top. However, I was disappointed as strangely more of the sweetness of the green apple came out, and with the amount of foam overpowered the crab and leafy greens. It tasted more like green apple salad with Dungeness crab…not sure if that was their intention.

Pretty to look at. Digusting to eat. For those who drink with me, you’ll know how much I loathe head and all things foamy. Well, meet the unalcoholic, green apple version of head…on dungeness crab.. Just no.

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Beef Sashimi with Garlic Chips, Chopped Green Onions and Yu’kke Sauce – [$18.50]


Adam’s rating: A
Shereen’s rating: A

Ah yes. I still have fond memories of this dish. I had not, and still have yet to taste beef sashimi as it was prepared that night. Powerful flavours, smoky aromas, seared perfectly and not too much so, and the garlic chips just accentuated the strength of the blue rare beef flavours…If this entire meal was a study in umami, this was the treatise.

DELICIOUS! I adore anything that’s seared on the outside and raw on the inside…hence how much I liked our entree…but that’s coming up later. Our server recommended that this dish follow the Tasting Menu for its strong flavours. So happy we heeded her warning. Had we eaten this dish first,  all the lightness of the other dishes would have…well, tasted like this one (not that I minded). SO GOOD.

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Ahi Tuna Steak with black kale, onion puree and soy/balsamic reduction – [$34.50]


Adam’s rating: A-
Shereen’s rating: A

Shereen probably has fond memories of this dish which she’ll elaborate on below =p. This was a great combination of the zesty from the balsamic, savoury from the soy, sweet from the onion, fresh from the tuna, and pungent from the kale. Everything worked well together, and was a great final course to a great meal.

Seared + raw? Check. Ahi Tuna? Check. Kale? Check. Basalmic? Check. Presentation? Check. Portion size? CHECK. The picture above was taken of my place AFTER the waitress had already split our portion into two. For an upscale place, I was not expecting this type of portion size. It was quite impressive and delicious to boot! Everything I want in an entree right there. Mmm mm good!

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Black Currant Jelly with Crystallized Sugar Topping
Adam’s rating: B+

Yay! I can have dessert at this place (or at least the sweet munchies after). Can’t really say anything more about it, other than it wasn’t aggressively fruity, but was a nice way to cap off the evening.

YAY CANDY. Stupid nut allergies=(. Means we can’t usually have real dessert ;( This’ll have to do. NOMNOM SUGAR.

All in all, extremely satisfying meal with excellent flavours. Everything was executed brilliantly. Reasons that I do not rate some dishes higher si their lack of creativity. But they did everything well. Highly recommended =) Hope you guys enjoyed this. Please share, retweet, blog, or whatever you kiddies like to do on the interwebz these days!

– love, S
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar on Urbanspoon

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