“The Hart House Restaurant really cares about their food and user experience”, I thought as I sat there on a Saturday night with my dining companion. The white cotton patterned table-cloth, the beautifully decorated rooms, the knowledgeable servers, the beautifully plated food, all caught my attention. I came as a guest to try their Seafood Celebration Prix Fixe menu, which consisted of a choice of each of the following:
Sockeye Salmon Chowder
Fried Leeks, Corn, Lobster Oil
Smoked Fish Croquettes
Pickled Fennel, Micro Greens, Charmoula Aioli
Butter Poached Prawns
Squid Ink Risotto, Chorizo, Peas, Bottarga
Pan-Seared Red Snapper
Fregola Pasta, Tomato, Mussels, Clams, Saffron
Apple & Fig Bread pudding
Salted Caramel and Walnut Sauce,
Vanilla Chantilly Cream
Caramel Mocha Crème Brulee
Orange Nut Biscotti
Between myself and my guest, we tried both appetizers, main courses, and desserts. To these dishes, we had a glass of Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 and Domaine de Vedilhan Viognier 2011. The Chardonnay being lighter bodied, and the Viognier heavier and rounder. If you don’t want either of these 2 wines, they do have a very good red and white wine list.
I really liked the Sockeye Salmon Chowder. The salmon pieces and chopped potatoes were cut the same size by the Chef. The chowder was creamy, not too heavy, and not overly spiced. The lobster oil provides an added dimension to the dish. The chowder went well with both wines. If you are not a chowder person, you can try the Smoked Fish Croquettes. You get two for the appetizer. The smoking of the fish was nice and light. The fish was flaked well. Sorry I do not remember the type of fish it was. It came with pickled fennel, which is a first for me. It was a sweet pickle, and the fennel flavour was not too strong. Again nice and light flavours complementing each other.
Of the two main courses, my favourite was the Butter Poached Prawns with Squid Ink Risotto, Chorizo, Peas, and Bottarga. The butter made this dish so very rich. The prawns were nice and soft; not overcooked. The risotto was very interesting. It was black from the squid ink but you also had the green peas which added some creaminess and of course green pea flavour. The chorizo was not spicy, but packed with smoky flavour. There was lots to like about this dish. With the strength of flavours in this dish, the Viognier was the better pairing.
The Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Fregola Pasta, Tomato, Mussels, Clams, and Saffron also had many things going on, with the bright acidity in the cherry tomatoes, and the richness of the mussels. The red snapper had a fairly crispy top, which my dining companion liked alot. I did not have Fregola pasta before but from Wikipedia “Fregola is a type of pasta from Sardinia. It is similar to Israeli couscous. Fregula comes in varying sizes, but typically consists of semolina dough that has been rolled into balls 2-3 mm in diameter and toasted in an oven.” You do taste a bit of the toastiness from the pasta, and the sauce has a rich tomato-based earthiness. I love mussels and made sure I savored each one. Note, the mussels are out of their shell, so no messiness to deal with.
We were getting really full at this point, but made a point to enjoy dessert with coffee. To me, both desserts were equally good. The Apple & Fig Bread pudding with Salted Caramel and Walnut Sauce and Vanilla Chantilly Cream was just as I expected. I like that the apple was chopped into nice small cubes, instead of large slices. The salted caramel balanced off the sugar from the bread pudding, and the Chantilly cream added some nice lightness to the dish. There was also a dark chocolate stick to go with this dish, and I’m a chocolate lover, so it did not last very long. The Caramel Mocha Crème Brulee with Orange Nut Biscotti went together nicely. I do like orange paired with chocolate or mocha. The crème brulee had a nice carmelized top, not too thick and let me enjoy the mocha below. A cup of coffee with the warmth and the coolness of the crème brulee was a treat.
Take your spouse, loved one, or significant other to enjoy this seafood dinner at the Hart House. You will not be disappointed. This special menu goes till November 16, so don’t delay. Enjoy!
Website: Hart House Restaurant
Address: 6664 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby, BC
Tel: (604) 298-4278