Seafood Shines in Two Vancouver Restaurants

Downtown Vancouver sports two hotel-based seafood restaurants worth seeking out.

At the Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar bustles with activity. Meanwhile, two blocks over on Howe (though technically on Georgia) and just 500 meters away by foot at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, the scene at YEW seafood + bar is more stately and sedate. Both seem like special occasion restaurants, with pricing slightly on the high side (sablefish, for example, is $39 at Boulevard and $37 at YEW, though sticker shock is alleviated when converting to US dollars), but you are splurging on a sense of elegance.

Boulevard feels like a French bistro that’s been upgraded with contemporary flourishes, the hard surfaces turning up the volume in the dining rooms. It’s here that “Executive Chef Alex Chen’s seafood-focused menu artfully combines casual West Coast cuisine with creative nods to his international influences, all while taking advantage of the local bounty available from nearby farms, fisheries and ranches.”

YEW has lofty 40-foot ceilings that create an expansive atmosphere, with a warm-up from wood paneling and a floor-to-ceiling sandstone fireplace. (Check out the dining room’s regional art.) Executive Chef Ned Bell’s mission: “Our menu changes with the season and honours the bounty of the Pacific Northwest region surrounding Vancouver, on land and sea.”

Here’s a look at my meals, with thanks to both restaurants for hosting.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Uni on rice: local sea urchin, celery root, shiso, ikura, black rice puff (fun start!)

Uni on rice: local sea urchin, celery root, shiso, ikura, black rice puff (fun start!)

Beef carpaccio: Snake River Farm wagyu, smoked mayo, young lettuce, parmesan crackling (playful, with good flavors)

Beef carpaccio: Snake River Farm wagyu, smoked mayo, young lettuce, parmesan crackling (playful, with good flavors)

Hamachi: citrus-cured, hearts of palm, avocado, crème fraîche

Hamachi: citrus-cured, hearts of palm, avocado, crème fraîche

Caramelized sea scallop, crispy pork belly, celeriac, endive, brown butter Coronation grape reduction

Caramelized sea scallop, crispy pork belly, celeriac, endive, brown butter Coronation grape reduction

Snake River Farm berkshire pork chop, pommes dauphine, glazed seasonal vegetables, sherry-scented pork jus, chicharrones (beautiful presentation)

Snake River Farm berkshire pork chop, pommes dauphine, glazed seasonal vegetables, sherry-scented pork jus, chicharrones (beautiful presentation)

Frozen mango parfait, coconut tapioca, feuilletine sablé, lime mint sorbet (refreshing)

Frozen mango parfait, coconut tapioca, feuilletine sablé, lime mint sorbet (refreshing)

Venezuela ‘araguani’, Valrhona dark chocolate, port-infused raisins, smoked cinnamon ice cream (rich and delicious—especially loved the raisins)

Venezuela ‘araguani’, Valrhona dark chocolate, port-infused raisins, smoked cinnamon ice cream (rich and delicious—especially loved the raisins)

Exterior (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

Exterior (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

Bar area (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

Bar area (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

Dining room (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

Dining room (photo courtesy of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar)

YEW seafood + bar

Marinated mackerel with seaweed salad, ginger, preserved lime (fantastic—my favorite dish of both meals!)

Marinated mackerel with seaweed salad, ginger, preserved lime (fantastic—my favorite dish of both meals!)

Marinated and crispy white anchovies with cauliflower 3 way, pickled onions (nice to see anchovies as the star of the dish)

Marinated and crispy white anchovies with cauliflower 3 way, pickled onions (nice to see anchovies as the star of the dish)

Roasted scallops with butternut squash, pear vinaigrette, gingerbread crumble

Roasted scallops with butternut squash, pear vinaigrette, gingerbread crumble

Steamed Viking Bay mussels with white wine, Tyroler bacon, cipollini onions (you’ll want to slurp the broth)

Steamed Viking Bay mussels with white wine, Tyroler bacon, cipollini onions (you’ll want to slurp the broth)

Sablefish with oyster mushrooms, salsify, pickled pear, pine vinaigrette (beautifully prepared fish)

Sablefish with oyster mushrooms, salsify, pickled pear, pine vinaigrette (beautifully prepared fish)

Seafood mixed grill “roasted” with beetroot, roast potatoes, smoked ricotta, cumin vinaigrette

Seafood mixed grill “roasted” with beetroot, roast potatoes, smoked ricotta, cumin vinaigrette

Dessert medley: chocolate ganache with caramelized figs and rum raisin ice cream (top left), green tea and pear sorbet with crispy red quinoa and honey crumble (top center), vegan chocolate torte with raspberry sorbet and raspberry chia compote (top right), whiskey sponge with blackcurrant ice cream, crispy oats, blackcurrants, and honey (bottom)

Dessert medley: chocolate ganache with caramelized figs and rum raisin ice cream (top left), green tea and pear sorbet with crispy red quinoa and honey crumble (top center), vegan chocolate torte with raspberry sorbet and raspberry chia compote (top right), whiskey sponge with blackcurrant ice cream, crispy oats, blackcurrants, and honey (bottom)

Entry (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

Entry (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

Lounge (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

Lounge (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

Dining area (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

Dining area (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver)

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