Discolor Online

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


O'Doul's Restaurant, Vancouver

Smoked Salmon with Frisee Salad
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.
Chris and I wandered into O'Doul's without a reservation on Friday night for a late dinner. It was after 8:30pm and despite the live jazz band performing, it wasn't noisy or too crowded. There were a couple of different large parties of people out for celebrations but one by one those tables cleared and either remained empty or were replaced by couples. Every now and then there was hooting from the bar area where a few people were gathered to watch the hockey game but that didn't last long. The interior of the restaurant was very cool, including a giant old-fashioned map of the world on the ceiling that Chris would love on the ceiling of his office.

Our server was very open and pleasant, chatty but not obsequious. One thing I've always felt about Vancouver is that they have some of the best looking, smartest, most pleasant and educated waitstaff I've ever run into and that held true through all of our meals this weekend.

O'Doul's was running a tasting menu with wine pairings so Chris and I decided to go with that. Our waiter didn't seem to actually know very much about wine, or at least the wines that he was serving that night but since Chris and I don't know much about wine either, that was ok. I can imagine some wine snobs being really put out but we didn't care. I didn't think to write down the wines, though, so I can't report on what they were except that I had all white wines with my pairings and one was a Chardonnay which only reinforced that I really don't like Chardonnay.

Chris opened with the smoked salmon with frisee salad while I opted for the rich and satisfying truffled mushroom risotto. The risotto came with tempura vegetables, and the wine pairing was deliciously sweet and just right to cut through the fattiness. We waited a while for our entrees. Chris had seared scallops served with a cumin-crab ravioli and a creamy sauce. Chris gave me a bite and I didn't much care for the ravioli and preferred the scallop. He didn't feel the scallop matched well with the rest of the dish and would have rather just had the ravioli alone. Still, the dish wasn't bad, just not to my taste. Luckily for me, I had the Canadian sablefish on rice (with a little cabbage and bacon) with vegetables. My sablefish was delightful, as sablefish always is.

After the entrees were cleared away we hit the real disappointment of the night: an interminable wait for our desserts. We waited over half an hour, asked someone else to please check on them for us, and then waited a few minutes more. Our server apologized and couldn't even offer an excuse for the delay. When it arrived, the apple-rhubarb crumble ala mode was great, but having such a long wait during such a late dinner put a real black eye on the experience. The muscat paired was a darker color than I expected and reminded us both very much of port. I believe all the wines were Australian and curse that I didn't write them down.

Chris was ready to go when our waiter came by to ask if he could buy us a glass of wine to make up for the delay with the dessert. Since I'd had no red wine with dinner, I was in the mood for one nice glass of red, so I took him up on it and Chris acquiesced and had another glass of the muscat. The red I had was a blend (of what I can't remember now), again something the waiter hadn't tried himself. It was nice and I felt much less grumpy about the late dessert after I finished it, which was undoubtedly our waiter's intent.

I would recommend O'Doul's, though perhaps not if you're in a hurry to get somewhere, and I thought the food was inventive and tasty. The wine experience was less satisfying but that goes to personal taste and I'm sure that I could enjoy myself there, listening to jazz and working my way through the wine list, if I still lived in the area.

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