The Dine-Out Burn-Out
Does anyone else find themselves saying "bah humbug!" to the yearly end of January, beginning of February Dine Out Vancouver (DOV) event? Yes, I know there are some good deals out there, but is it worth wading through the incoming herds of "frugal" suburbanites, the need to book dinner nearly a month in advance, and the on-the-edge servers who are just one "water only table" away from snapping like the sugar topping of your creme brulee? Jason Chin, a fellow blogger at Eat Vancouver.net, is opting out this year. And I think I am too. So, for anyone else displaying the symptoms of Dine-Out Burn-Out, here is a quick top five list of under $35 non-DOV bargains to be found in our great food city. They're not necessarily going to be fine dining, but you should be able to eat very well, and be treated very nicely, without breaking the bank.
5. Senhor Rooster (Renfrew St., at Venables, four blocks south of Hastings), Rack of lamb about $35. You can pretty much order whatever you want off their menu and get out well under $35 a person, but go ahead and splurge on the whole rack of lamb if you get a chance. I don't see it on the online menu, but it is probably on the specials list when you go to the restaurant. You might think this price is comparable to the rack of lamb at other restaurants, but you'll often find you get a half rack or less at the same price elsewhere. I haven't had a chance to try the new location, but it's open for business. Next time I go, I'm going to try to call ahead and try their salt-encrusted Cornish game hen.
4. Raincity Grill (Denman at English Bay) Early Bird Menu $25 between 5-6 pm. I haven't tried this one out myself yet, but I've had a number of nice meals at Raincity over the years, and hope to try this out sometime. Three courses of West Coast focused food in a crisp, clean room.
3. Rinconcito Salvadorean Restaurant (Commercial Drive, between 4th and 5th Ave.) Lots of food for $25 each - my friend and I ordered enough food to stuff ourselves silly, including their famous papupas (flat corn tortilla filled packages of pork beans and cheese at $2.50 each), a whole fried fish with beans, rice, avocado and salad, a mini chicken tostada salad, fried yuca root with fried pork chunks, yummy tamarind drinks (non-alcoholic), and carmelized plantains with vanilla ice cream.
2. Sakae Sushi Restaurant (Downtown, Thurlowe and Alberni St.), Dinner Set $24 More authentic Japanese food than you can shake a stick at. Well, maybe not if you're really good at shaking sticks...at any rate, it's a lot of high quality food for under $25.
1. Mistral (W. Broadway at Trafalgar), Three Course Lunches $18 - 22. Another one on my Places To Try Soon List. I've heard good things about this one, and the menus look great. And if you're a guy looking to impress a lunch date, this should do, don't you think?