Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



Venison plate
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
For our big culinary excursion of the trip, Chris and I went to Nu. Nu, as they are only too happy to tell you, are the winners of some dozen awards: Critics Choice, Readers Choice, Best New Restaurant, Best Small Plates, Best New Fine Dining, even Best Parking. Nu is the third Vancouver restaurant for Harry Kambolis and just as wildly popular as the first two (Raincity Grill and C). If I'm ever in the position of having a crazy surplus of money or find myself in the company of millionaires who wish to feed me for the night, I'm going to try the Chef's Tasting Menu at C: 14 courses, plus wine pairings for $245 per person. This weekend I did not have a crazy surplus of money, so we settled for a regular ol' dinner at the less expensive Nu.

The night started out with a bit of frustration as I tried to find the best way to get down to the restaurant, whose address is on Granville street but is actually under the Granville Street Bridge. I accidentally got on the bridge the first time past, and had to circle back around across the bridge and back into downtown and the unfamiliar one-way and "no turn" or "no exit" streets. Then, upon finally getting to the restaurant, I had to fight for parking with a reckless SUV driver who was perfectly willing to risk sideswiping my rental car in order to back up past me to the one open spot in the free restaurant parking. I was not amused. Thankfully additional parking opened up and I didn't have to crack the head of the SUV guy.

The interior of Nu is "stylish" and "hip" for sure. It's a nice location, looking over False Creek toward Granville Island. We were greeted and our coats were taken immediately, then we were showed to a table for two near the kitchen and along the windows. It was very dimly lit and very, VERY loud. In fact, after an hour and a half of being bombarded by the noise, I started developing a headache which threatened to bring the evening to a ruinous conclusion. Pramas sweetly (and of his own accord, since my head was in my hands at that point) asked our waitress if he might be able to get some ibuprofen or something and like an angel of goodness she slipped me a couple of her own personal stash, staving off the worst of the headache, rescuing our evening out, and guaranteeing herself a nice, fat tip.

Anyway, on to the food.

When we looked over the appetizer menu, we immediately saw multiple items we would have liked to try. There were things that immediately called out to the both of us, though. Pramas is on a mission to try steak tartare all over the world and I have a hard time passing up a salad of wine-poached pears, beets and chevre (three of my favorite foods together? Sign me up!) so we ordered those and then an additional, completely over-the-top, unnecessary order of pomme frites with foie gras gravy and truffle oil, because we just had to know.

The pear/beet salad was not what I expected: a poached pear, cut into thick rounds, stuffed with chevre and capped with a slice of beet, served on sliced Belgian endive. The menu claimed there was some frisee involved, but I didn't see any. The dressing was thick and tart, maybe with some tarragon in it? Couldn't tell and frankly, it was so good that I ate it fast and didn't spend a lot of time dissecting it. The pomme frites were total overkill but we did our duty and then, stuffed already, worried that we'd be too full to enjoy our entrees.

Happily for our bellies the service was, shall we say, leisurely. During the long wait between appetizers and entrees we were able to digest a little and recover for round two. Chris, always looking for something new, tried the crispy braised pork belly with yam dumplings. I went with the roasted venison tenderloin. It was served with seasonal vegetables and on a bed of spinach, under which I was told, was quince puree. I never did find the quince puree (much like the missing frisee in my salad) but what was on the plate was plenty. The venison was perfect and I enjoyed it mightily.

We were both quite tired and full and had intended to pass on any dessert but decided it couldn't hurt to look (ha!) at the dessert menu and, then, as yet more time had passed, decided that we really did have room for a little cheese plate after all. Chris ordered up the Penticton Blue that was served with these lightly toasted slices of dark housemade fruited bread that, again, was perfect. Just the right amount of cheese, just the right match of flavors, an ideal end to the meal.

The food at Nu was superb (missing ingredients and all) and Claire, our server, really saved the experience for us. Even had she not saved the meal by helping me with my headache problem, she was friendly, cheerful, attentive and just generally pleasant. Her attention and great attitude did much to offset the unpleasantly noisy environment and the uncomfortable, backless (but oh-so-stylish) chairs. I imagine the experience would be even more pleasant on a sunny spring or summer day, instead of in the dark of night and during a pouring rainstorm. Thumbs up to NU.

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Blogger Toren Says:

What's the price range?


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