Sunday, July 02, 2006

For Crying Out Loud, Not ANOTHER Summer Patio Article!

What could be more overdone in the microcosm of Vancouver food writing than a write-up of patio restaurants at the beginning of summer? Well, I've resisted so far (aren't you proud of me, I didn't succumb even once last summer), but I couldn't hold back any longer. It's now mid-summer, and a restaurant with a patio is exactly what I've been feeling like these days. Don't resist it, soak up the view and be grateful for it. Enjoy the crisp air, comfortable temperature, blue-blue view, cool breeze, and the beautiful light of a summer evening in Vancouver. This post is just one example of a nice summer patio experience. Here's a view of Horseshoe Bay, with a little packet of cloud tucked into the crevices of a mountain.

The View

The restaurant was The Boathouse at Horseshoe Bay (6695 Nelson Ave at Bay St., on the water, 604-921-8188), less than 45 minutes away from downtown Vancouver. I've been there twice, with neither time being my idea to go, but both times coming away very pleased, and feeling quite pampered indeed. While it's not a long drive, it still has the feeling of being whisked away to a special spot. Maybe that's why this location feels somewhat better than the English Bay Boathouse. Then again, it might also be the food and the service.

We shared a portobello mushroom appetizer ($9.49), a single smallish cap topped with dungeness crab and shrimp in a cream sauce which sounds from the menu description alone like it would be good, but it actually exceeded my expectations. It was delicious, and the only improvement I can think of would be to perhaps double the portion, because I could have eaten a plateful of those things. I was so excited by it, that I forgot to take a photo before devouring my half.

For the main dish, my dining companion had the salmon (about $23.99). The prawns that came with this were yummy. Everything was cooked perfectly. The service was friendly and efficient, and the restaurant has a nice, casual feel on the patio.

The Salmon

I had the "house smoked wild Alaskan sablefish ($24.99) in a roasted shallot citrus cream sauce." The sauce was very rich and delicious, and of course the sablefish was wonderful (as sablefish has a tendency to be). Yah, any restaurant that uses yummy grilled fresh prawns as a GARNISH is okay by me. No flaccid parsley afterthought here!

The Sablefish

For dessert, a very competent tiramisu and coffee to cap it all off.

The Tiramisu

I had a wonderful dinner, but I can't tease out whether the restaurant is really that good, or if my experience was distorted by my delight in the beautiful weather, my general good mood and well-being, and the very good company...but then again, who cares? I'll continue to associate this restaurant with good things, (unless they do something to screw it up later), and that's just fine by me. I wonder what it's like to go there in the winter...


Monique said...

It's nice to see a good review for a restaurant with a good view. In my experience there's an inverse relationship between a restaurant's view and the quality of the food.

Tai said...

I've been there a few times. The view is certainly outstanding, and the food's good.

The service I've found to be occasionally hit and miss though.