(Editor’s Note: Our first joint review, done up by Joyce and Mr.. Enjoy!)
On the evening of a lovely Sunday, Valentine’s Day expectedly arrived at the doorstep of couples living on this side of the world. Our destination of choice was Trafalgars Bistro. Ever since our first visit there over a year ago, Trafalgars has become one of our favourites.
On that special day, every customer was ordering from a four-course dinner menu priced reasonably at $45 per person (compared to $75 at some high-end restaurant downtown).
Appetizer: Mixed Green Salad
Joyce: I liked how the sliced radish and carrot added a little crunchiness to the dish. Dijon vinaigrette is also one of my favourite salad dressings, along with raspberry vinaigrette.
Mr.: The green salad was of garden variety, nothing too special that stood out, but there wasn’t anything negative about it either.
Second Course: Qualicum Scallops
Joyce: When eating them alone, they were a bit too salty for my liking. While the light crème fraiche might have helped balance the strong flavour, the sour, pickled leeks and apples were too over-powering. Unfortunately, I have to say, this wasn’t a very successful dish.
Second Course: Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Mr.: No one in their right mind could say no to a greasy and succulent piece of fried chicken. I just knew I had to give it a try. It’s quite interesting when a French restaurant serves an Indian inspired dish. The batter was thick and crispy; it reminded me of a home made recipe. This piece of thigh was tender and nicely marinated. The chickpea puree tasted a little like mashed potatoes, otherwise it definitely had the signatures of an Indian dish. I wasn’t a huge fan of the carrots. They were too sour and cumin-y, it didn’t go well with the rest of the plate.
Entree: Tomato Braised Beef
Joyce: I don’t seem to have the luck of getting a good dish that evening. It’s always a hit and miss for me. Although the beef was tender (just like Mr.‘s duck) the seasoning was still on the strong side. I admit that I tend to prefer mild flavours, but Trafalgars’s kitchen never struck me as one with heavy seasoning. The sauce was way too salty that it only got better after mixing with the potato puree (and I think Mr. would agree with me on this one). It was rich and filling.
Entree: Duck Confit
Mr.: Wanting to double up on the birds, I ordered the duck. Glistening under the candle light, it was one beautiful piece of leg. The meat was flavourful and came right off the bone with a pull of the fork. Being a potato guy, I’m quite picky about how they are done. The potato nuggets were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just how I like them. I can’t say I enjoyed the cabbage too much, like the carrots that came with the chicken, it was a bit too sour.
Last Course: Bleeding Heart to Share
Joyce: The name of our dessert reminds me of a song by Leona Lewis, Bleeding Love. It’s definitely an interesting choice of name since a bleeding heart, to me anyways, means a broken heart, a failed relationship – not necessarily a good omen for V-Day celebration. Name aside, it was a great wrap-up for the evening. Dark chocolate truffle, oh so decadent. And chocolate always works well with berry sauce, which in this case, there’s an excessive amount of raspberry coulis, the blood. The blood came pouring out when we got to the middle of the heart. That was probably the most fun part of the dinner. The truffle heart was very rich, so even by sharing we still couldn’t finish it. According to our server, very few couple managed to finish it at dinner. The one couple who ate it all actually took a before and after shot of themselves.
Mr.: uh… see above.
During our last two visits to Trafalgars, the service was exceptional. Mr.: My experience this time wasn’t quite up to the standard they had set previously. The service was quick and polite, but I thought it could’ve been warmer and more attentive. However, seeing it was V-Day and they were fully booked to the ceiling (Joyce: I was actually very impressed by the fact that the turnover didn’t stop until 9:30pm. New customers kept arriving to their door), I don’t blame the servers since they were doing their best, and I don’t blame the restaurant for trying to make a little money.
Despite a less than perfect experience, Trafalgars is still on our good side (Mr.: let’s say it’s because of the birds). We look forward to going back again for another special occasion.
2603 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver