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Jan 5, 2011 01:54 PM

Dine Out Vancouver

Am I missing something, or being cranky? Why does nothing seem to jump out at me this year? One exception, just like last year winner of the award for witty menu, and the one place that is going to get me through their door is "Hidden" .

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  1. Call me jaded but in the last few years I've tended to treat the Dine Out list of restaurants as a list of places to avoid for a few weeks. I've just found over the years that the savings aren't worth the poor service, and in many cases, poor food. In too many cases it feels like the restaurants are just trying to push too many people through too quickly, and it ends up leaving a really bad impression upon me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: farman

      True dat, farman. And in the odd case when it isn't, I think I'd rather try a resto when they are just doing regular business, to give me a better feel for what the place is really like.

      We accidentally booked at the Fish House a couple years ago during Dineout and ordered off the regular menu as it looked much more appetizing. I think the staff liked that :-).

      I also have a pet peeve about that list. Why are restos that start with The listed under T??? Goofy.

      1. re: farman

        Great, so it's not just me who feels this way. Thanks Farman :-)

      2. Hidden has been on my to try list. Interesting that the Westin has Hidden and Apron which both have interesting menu idea's but get very little attention.
        I have no comments about DOV.

        2 Replies
        1. re: betterthanbourdain

          Took the whole fambly to Hidden tonight. Great success. The service was impeccable, from the phone call yesterday to see if we had any special requests, right through to tonight's dessert. The bacon lollipops, really smoked pork belly which was a surprise, were a terrific starter and the maple aiolli worked really well with them as well as with the greens on the plate. She Who Must be Obeyed had the salad and was very happy. Kids split both dishes and cleaned em up. We snuck a couple of servings of lobster poutine in there as well. Decadent, very wrong and really delicious. My oyster po'boy was open faced, toppped with red cabbage. Very nice. SWMBO had pork ravioli and loved it. Desserts were "Refined Peanut Butter and Jelly, which was fine, but I had the Caramelized banana & shaved coconut tart with a Maker’s Mark ice cream which to me seemed like a riff on a mint julep. It was absolutely terrific. $18 a plate for a menu put together with wit and skill! I can't imagine there being a better deal out there during Dine Out. I just wish they would keep these things on the menu year round and to keep playing with it and having fun. It would become one of my favourite places to hang out and chill after work.

          1. re: Tinfoilhat

            How nice to read such a positive report for Dine Out, especially from a newish resto. Those bacon lollipops sound particularly up my street. Are they really only there for DOV? Quelle dommage.

        2. I see DOV as an introduction for many young foodies.
          I was SUPER excited when I first heard of it 9 years ago, when I was still in hs and had little money to spend on food.
          It's a good way to get young foodies to refine their palates and to get a taste of the "Oh! So this is what it's like dining at a West/Blue Water Cafe/_____;etc) ...hopefully by doing so, they would become more adventurous and try out different restaurants.
          Now that I am much older, I don't really get too excited when I see DOV..
          a) Prix fixe menu choices are not that great
          b) Like farman mentioned, the saving aren't worth the poor service
          c) Line-ups at more popular restaurants and limited seating time...

          It's better off going to the restaurant and order whatever I want. The savings are not that huge.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Arwai82

            food wise, it basically works out to a limited set-menu where you order a starter and a main and get the dessert free. a saving of $5-12 but you dont have a full selection of the menu. and you have to deal with crowds and less attentive service.

            1. re: Arwai82

              We always try to go to DOV during the week and towards the beginning of the event rather than the end. I figure we're likely to get better service and more attentive cooking when the staff isn't burnt out after two weeks of crazy...

              So far we've been pretty successful doing so. Had a great meal at Diva at the Met last night and would definitely return; similar experience at Blue Water a couple years back. The only bad DOV meals I can recall where Friday/Saturday when the kitchen/restaurant was clearly slammed. Of course that's no excuse for putting out subpar food but I'd rather give myself the best chance for a good meal.

              1. re: jerkstore

                can anybody suggest any good places for this year??
                doesn't matter about price or cuisine type; just all rounded diner is fine...

                1. re: mikeyjrd

                  So far we've done four DOV restaurants/events - DB Bistro was very good, both service and food were excellent. Note: We went on a Monday night, early sitting. Room was nearly empty. Second choice was Kits Daily Kitchen, on a Saturday night, again early sitting - results were mixed. Food was okay, but not better than, and service was spotty. Room was packed, and we were seated next to a very drafty window. We'll go to KDK again, but not for DOV. Then we did a lunch/cooking class at the Dirty Apron, which was fun, and pretty good value for $, but very, very basic (we're both very accomplished cooks, so class was way below our skill level). Last night we went to Chambar, and were delighted. Food was excellent, as was the service. Place was packed, so we did our part to eat and leave in a timely manner. Nobody pressured us, we could just see that our table could be turned over a few more times, so it was a courtesy on our part to be efficient customers. I love DOV, but then I live in the Fraser Valley where good restos are few and far between.