Taste of Yaletown is back! For the 12th year, 31 restaurants in the Yaletown area are each offering a special menu at $25, $35 or $45. Running from Oct 13 to Oct 27, this event has a “Sharing and Pairing” theme this year. Some menus are created grazing, share-plate style, allowing diners to to share with each other while pairing the food with wine, beer or a cocktail; and with smaller portions it would allow diners to even plan a restaurant hopping experience around the neighbourhood.
As part of the media preview, a number of us were whisked away to one of the participating restaurants. I was lucky enough to sample the menu at Provence Marinaside. It’s been awhile since I last ate there, so I’m glad to go back for a re-visit.
Provence’s Taste of Yaletown menu is $45. To start, you would receive a Provence Tasting Plate. It includes 1) Tomato and Bocconcini Salad; 2) Rustic Country Style Pate; and 3) House Smoked Ruby Red Trout. You can’t go wrong with the classic tomato and bocconcini combination, and the basil added a herbaceous note. The pate was rich and flavourful; the meat had a nice, chunky texture. My favourite, and it’s a close call, was the smoked trout. It was flaky, lightly smoked, and for me it wasn’t fishy at all. I may have a favourite, but honestly I would eat any of the three appies again. And the good news is, you get all three!
For entree, you have three options. We were able to try all three – but the pictures below are not actual portion size so I’ll try to help you visualize the actual portion as best as I can.
The Dijon and Fresh Herb Crusted Lois Lake Steelhead had a nice crispy skin, and the meat was moist and flaky. I personally found the dijon mustard to be a bit overpowering. The beurre blanc was creamy, perfect pairing for the salmon; the warm potato salad was pleasant on the eyes, and on the palate. The actual portion should be about two pieces of salmon on our tasting plate.
The second option is the West Coast Bouillabaisse. The fish broth was thick and rich, borderline on the fishy side (but I like it!); the texture was almost bisque like. The mussels and clams tasted fresh. The fish and scallops were cooked perfectly, but they didn’t absorb the flavours of the fish broth as much as I would’ve liked.
The bouillabaisse came with something called the Gruyere et la rouille. Rouille is a garlicky sauce made with the same fish broth in the bouillabaisse. It’s served with some crostinis and shredded gruyere. Let me demonstrate how to eat it:
That was a fun element to the dish, and the flavours matched well. But combined together it might be a bit too salty for my liking.
Lastly, Seared Bavette Steak was my favourite entree of the three. The amount of steak you see here is actual portion size, but it only comes with one roasted zucchini and smoked tomato tartelette instead of two that we got here. The steak was cooked beautifully to a medium rare, and it was very tender. The mushroom vinaigrette had a subtle acidity, which went well with the steak. I really enjoyed the roasted vegetables on the tartelette, but the pastry was a bit wet by the time I got to it — maybe we took too long to take pictures!
For Dessert, you actually get to choose from their daily selection. For our tasting, we tried the following: 1) Lemon Tarte; 2) Chocolate Mousse Cake; 3) Clafoutis; and 4) Pumpkin Bailey Cheesecake.
I’m a sucker for good lemon tarts — what’s considered good for me? It’s gotta be tart! Not necessarily face-puckering tart, but definitely more tart than sweet. This sure was a good Lemon Tarte. I think I pretty much finished this slice of lemon tart that was meant for 6 people. The Chocolate Mousse Cake was also my favourite — it’s decadent, smooth, rich. It’s served in a ramekin which is a perfect size.
For $20, you could add wine pairing to the menu, which includes BC wines as well as wines from Spain and the US. I thought the bar manager did a fantastic job with the wine pairing. I especially enjoyed the Synchromesh Riesling with the Provence Tasting Plate, and the Beau Vantage Cab Sauvignon with the Bavette Steak.
Provence Marinaside offers a $45 menu for Taste of Yaletown, which may seem pricey at first. But after sampling all the dishes, the flavours were very good, and portion size was bigger than I thought. No wonder the restaurant has been around since 2001.
1177 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver
Disclosure: The meal was provided to me complimentary of the restaurant. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely my own.