This is definitely not our first time visiting Mosaic Bar & Grille. I was there for Dine Out, for business lunches and for Christmas Day buffet brunches, and of all my visits quality had been great. Therefore, I was pretty excited when the VANEATS folks invited us to sample their latest offering, Art of Taste at Mosaic.
Before I even go into any details, let me just put it out there. We were blown away. The hospitality of staff and the quality of food were just top notch. Now, of course, you may say we got special treatment because we are bloggers. Possibly. So keep that in mind as you read on, but hopefully you’ll be convinced otherwise.
First of all, let me walk you through the Art of Taste menu. It’s a 3-item dining pass that gives you an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. You have two options for each course, and luckily, we’ve tried them all.
Appetizer #1 is the Local Spring Salad, which features the freshest seasonal vegetables that are currently available in the market. And they did taste very fresh – the cooking wasn’t anything fancy, but that’s how you bring out the best of the fresh ingredients. The citrus dressing was refreshing and not over-powering, and it was just the right amount of dressing. Sheep milk ricotta was rich and creamy, with a little hint of gaminess, but it was a welcomed substitute to the rather commonly seen goat cheese.
Appetizer #2 is A La Minute Smoked Salmon. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? It was the same smoked salmon that I had at the Healthy Chef Competition. That being said, this is the perfected version of the smoked salmon. When it first arrived at our table, it’s sitting in a cloud of smoke, inside a dome.
And wow, this was sooo much better than the other one. This was properly cooked, so the fish actually had a cooked fish texture – flaky and buttery, even better than oil-poached salmon – with a subtle smokey flavour. The fish filet was first sous-vided then smoked. Mr. said this is probably the best salmon he’s ever had, raw or cooked. The avocado terrine added more richness to the dish, but the sourness of the bourbon oak vinegar (so sour that it gave me the “lemon face”!) helped cut right through it. I cleaned this plate rather quickly!
Entree #1 is the Eight-Hour Braised Short Rib. The beef short rib was fork-tender and moist, and had great flavours. I especially liked the morel mushrooms because they soaked in all the flavours and richness from the butter, yet not greasy at all! “Everything tastes better in butter,” as Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich puts it.
Entree #2 is BC Gray Cod. I graciously gave Mr. this dish but I got to try a few bites. It was seared with a crispy crust and very moist inside. The dashi broth was light but had a nice savoury flavour that went very well with the fish. It’s my kind of seafood dish. I would love to have the whole plate of this to myself.
For dessert, Chef Thomas presented to us his ideal Banana Split. This was a loaded banana split! It had three scoops of ice cream (we had the strawberry ice cream because they’re out of vanilla), a whole bruleed/caramelized banana, almond brittle, fresh berries, crushed pistachios and tiny chocolate crunch balls, AND drizzled with a generous amount of chocolate sauce. It was a satisfying bowl of ice cream (and more)!
Dessert #2 is the Mini Mosaic Chocolate Cake. I went way back to my very first visit to the Mosaic in 2009 and at that time I also tried the Mini Chocolate Cake. Well, it certainly has grown in size! This mini version isn’t so mini anymore. According to Chef Thomas, this has been a long-standing menu item and it is often provided to guests on special occasions. This mini version is only 1/4 of the real thing – now that’s a lot of chocolate to consume!
The cake was so rich and decadent! It’s like eating various textures of chocolate – cake, mousse, sauce and regular candy form (the outside chocolate shell). It was no doubt a sweet end to a meal. It was such a generous portion I actually had to pack some to go!
And that’s what the Art of Taste package includes. In addition to the six dishes above, we also received a complimentary tasting of the following.
I think this is the best beef carpaccio I’ve ever had. The Spring Creek Beef Carpaccio used great quality of beef; it’s so thinly cut that it just melts in your mouth. I really liked the use of a 64-degree egg. The yolk just oozed out and mixed with the meat; it’s creamy and rich, but minus the oily taste found in the traditional aioli. The crispy garlic chives and capers added some crunch and an extra layer of texture to the dish.
The Gelderman Farms Pork Belly was also very memorable. Chef would’ve used pork jowl but it’s not available, so we just got a fattier cut of the pig. I don’t mind it at all! The meat was so tender and flavourful, I had to slow down myself so I could take the time to savour every bite. Chef Thomas is very good at building layers of texture. The crispy lotus root, pickled watermelon and shredded pear added various types of crunch to the pork. A very tasty plate.
Lastly, the Skuna Bay Salmon was nicely cook to a medium by the time it was served. Meat was flaky and moist, and I found the Meyer Lemon Gel and Foam to be quite innovative use of an ingredient. I think I still prefer the A La Minute Smoked Salmon!
As you can tell, there was no shortage of delicious, well executed dishes to taste. The presentation of each dish was also superb, like art. Mr. and I left Mosaic very satisfied with stuffed bellies (and half-eaten chocolate cake!). Big kudos to Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich and his team for giving us such a wonderful dinner.
I have always liked Mosaic and now I’m even more impressed. Its increased emphasis on sourcing local and fresh ingredients definitely helps elevate the quality of the food. For VANEATS’ Art of Taste package, I think it’s an absolute steal with 3 amazing courses for only $22. I highly recommend getting this dining pass and plan a date night at Mosaic. Or just order off the regular menu – either way you won’t be disappointed!
Mosaic Bar & Grille
655 Burrard Street, Vancouver