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Jun 19, 2011 10:32 AM

Hawksworth last night

A friend I hadn't seen in a while met me at Hawksworth for dinner last night.The reason there are no photos or lengthy descriptions of the dishes is because we were too busy catching up. One thing we did discuss and agree on was that our food was excellent and the service top notch. She wanted to do the tasting menu with wine pairings. There was only one option so when I asked the server if they had a vegetarian tasting menu, he said that if I gave him a few moments that they would put one together for me. I told him I did eat seafood so the kitchen did a seafood one and paired wines according to my dishes. All of this was done on the spot which i found very impressive. To start, I had yellowfin tuna carpaccio which was served on a bed of avocado, cucumber, yuzu and puffed rice. The texture of the crunch with the creaminess was unreal and the dish itself was amazingly good. That was followed with a seared weathervane scallop surrounded by a creamy buttery sauce full of mushrooms. It was delicious. We then decided to order some bread to mop up the yummy sauces in our dishes because they were so good we didn't want to leave anything behind. Halibut was next and came with a mixture of artichokes, tomato, and basil. We both had this dish, except hers had chorizo. My last dish was pan seared trout that came with potato, green beans, and olives in a brown butter sauce: delicious as well. For dessert, we had something called kalamanzi creme. This was a deconstructed desert that had little meringues, a disk of what I gather is the kalamanzi creme?, almond paste, I think, a whipped mound of goodness that was lime flavoured, and crunchy little puffy things (I don't remember what it was-what kind of poster am?:). Anyhow the mixture of all of these textures and flavours combined was a flavour explosion. I am usually a chocolate tart/cake person whenever I pick my own dessert so was lucky that it was part of the tasting menu that I got to try this incredible dessert. All of the wine pairings went excellently with our entrees.

The food was interesting, the flavours, excellent, and the textures perfect. The actual restaurant was beautiful and mostly everyone was dressed up. It was very different from the usual casual dress seen in all of Vancouver's restaurants. I even saw a few women wearing floor length gowns! I enjoyed the opulence of it because the food and service was so spectacular and went quite well with the setting. My only complaints the entire evening would be that there is only one bathroom designated just for females so there was a line up both times I went. And the front desk/host staff were a little flustered when I first showed up which was not a big deal. I had a chance to have a drink in the lounge while I waited for my friend but felt a bit awkward not being seated right away because I was standing alone at a seatless hightop as all the bar seats and other seating areas were already occupied.

Overall, I would highly recommend this restaurant as the new finest of dining option for special occasions. Lumiere used to have this type of designation when Rob Feenie was at the helm but I definitely think the food is at a much higher level at Hawksworth than anything I ever had at Lumiere (and I did like Lumiere). My friend and I cannot wait until the next time we decide to splurge and catch up so that we can eat here again.

2551 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K2E9, CA

2563W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K2E9, CA

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  1. Wow, that's high praise indeed! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am waiting patiently until we go...

    I found it interesting about the floor length gowns too! I can't think of when I've ever seen this at a Vancouver restaurant since back in the day at Trader Vic's at the Bayshore or the Seven Seas maybe! :-)

    1. selena03:

      Thank you for the review.

      I appreciate that you went the "tasting menu with wine pairings" route but what would be the approximate costs if you elected to go a la carte.

      Good wine list? Top heavy with "trophy" wines, well chosen?

      I may be out your way in a week or two and we may consider trying to make reservations although my usual west coast "wardrobe" probably would be out of place.....................

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bob Mac

        The starters are between 11-20 and the entrees 22-34. I didn't even look at the wine list because we were doing the pairings (it was 106 per person inc wine without tax, tip, bread for our tasting menus)

        There were men wearing dress shirts with dress pants and dress shirt, blazer w/jeans so you don't have to bring a suit but you wouldn't be out of place if you did. There was a range of dress but for once I didn't see baseball caps or t-shirts with jeans:)...I. It is nice to be able to dress up once in a while and actually have a place to go without feeling overly dressed.

        1. re: Bob Mac

          I wouldn't worry about the wardrobe. I was there tonight - everything from dresses and heels to fairly grubby jeans - the usual Vancouver crowd.

          We paid $210 for two people before tip - drink before dinner, appetizer and glass of wine each, mains and another glass of wine each, shared dessert. We each had the most expensive main on the menu. Wine list is not trophy wine focussed, they have lots of wines by the glass and will open bottles for you. The service needs to get settled down but there is lots to like about this place.

        2. Hallelujah! Been waiting for David to open up shop. I know where my next major trip is going to be...

          1. Great writeup, selena, and I think it's the first one I've read that's given me a sense of the food. I'm curious if you ever ate at West when Hawksworth was in the kitchen, as to how his eponymous restaurant compares. If not maybe GroovinGourmet can chime in when he goes :-).

            I think the creme was probably flavoured with kalamansi, a small citrus fruit v. popular in the Philippines. It tastes to me somewhere between a lime and a mandarin orange.

            2 Replies
            1. re: grayelf

              I did eat at West when he was at the helm but only twice. I remember it being good but I don't remember it being the wow experience I had on Saturday at Hawksworth. Thanks for the info on the kalamansi-I really had no idea what this was:)

              1. re: selena03

                My wife and I met some friends at Hawksworth on Wednesday and had a wonderful meal. Everything was just right...the service, the appetizers, the mains, the desserts. My wife and I shared the apple beet salad, which came with a house made ricotta that was delicious, and the dungeness crab salad. For our main we split the rib-eye for 2, which came cut into about 8 pieces and assembled next to the bone (it was obviously a bone-in ribeye).

                The steak came with 2 sauces, a chimichurri and a brown butter bearnaise. It also came with little air-light cubes of roasted bone marrow, a small le creuset pot of roasted vegetables (i.e. morels and baby carrots), and roasted potatoes. A conservative choice on our part, but we were happy with the result.

                Our dining partners ordered the sturgeon and the halibut, respectively. Both were pleased but the sturgeon in particular received high praise.

                The desserts were solid if not spectacular. Perhaps they looked better than they tasted, but that is a small quibble for what was otherwise a great meal.

                I would definitely recommend Hawksworth for a special night out, particularly given that the prices are fairly reasonable right now.

            2. just got back from a three hour dinner at hawksworth.
              the two of us shared a summer tasting menu with wine pairing,
              the foie gras parfait and the 48 hour short ribs.
              as well as two cocktails.

              the food and service were both excellent. color palettes and plating were all modern and well executed.

              highly recommended!

              1 Reply
              1. re: modernist

                ate t here again tonight. went a la carte this time. spot prawn soup, bar pizza (not that special and not my choice) trout, cheese plate and the kalamansi dessert.
                again the food was good. but the wine "taste" seemed laughably small. 3 sips perhaps?