Out for dinner with a couple of friends and they suggest the Hamilton Street Grille. Coinciding with the annual “Dine out Vancouver” event, we decide to give it a shot. Now if any of you have participated in Dine out Vancouver, it’s a local opportunity to taste the best cuisine that Vancouver has to offer at affordable prices. There are many restaurants that participate, and the Hamilton Beach Grille was one of them this year.
Most participating restaurants will also offer their regular menu as well, in the event that you don’t find anything off the special menu to your liking. Having been told by our friends who were accompanying us that it was one of their favourite restaurants we decided to give it a shot. The restaurant’s design was funky and eclectic with open beamed ceilings, and soft lighting which added to the overall charm of the establishment.
SJ and I, having reviewed the dine out menu, decided to order from the regular menu...I mean isn’t the premise of this blog so we can give the “man on the street” review? That wouldn’t be possible ordering from the Dine Out Vancouver menu knowing it should be the best of the best, specially prepared to entice return visits...plus nothing quite jumped out at either of us (lol). For appies we chose phyllo prawns and black and blue ahi tuna. These were presented well and tasted perfect. The prawns accompanied with mascarpone, crab, sun-dried tomato stuffing and a roasted garlic tomato sauce, was succulent and very enjoyable. The Ahi Tuna seared rare accompanied with wasabi and ponzu sauces, was equally enjoyable and these two appies set a very high expectation for our entrees. I decided on Cavatappi (a spiral pasta) with house-made chorizo sausage covered with a tomato cream sauce, while SJ choose the Mushroom Risotto, which (as described in the menu) came accompanied with braised leeks, parmesan cheese and truffle butter. SJ was rather unimpressed to discover zucchini pieces and onions scattered throughout the dish when it arrived...which were not mentioned in the menu nor mentioned by our waitress (who, to her credit was on her first day of work...so we won’t mention how disjointed the service was and just assume she has improved or moved onto another establishment).
The Mushroom Risotto although cooked perfectly was bland and not nearly as creamy as SJ would have expected. This dish came topped with deep fried onion frazzles which SJ claims made the dish bearable. My pasta, which was overcooked, lacked sauce. The dish was largely unimpressive, sausage dry, and also overcooked. Now I may be picky, but I sort of expect pasta to come with some sauce. This was quite reminiscent of pasta that had been cooking too long, along with a sauce reduction. If that’s what they were going for, they succeeded.... SJ and I were rather disappointed as the appies were so great...obviously we both chose mains that left something to be desired.
For desert we were convinced to try their Ginger Bread pudding....and we were glad. I am not a fan of ginger bread, but this dish, served warm and sprinkled with ginger then topped with ice cream was absolute heaven. SJ and I devoured it without hesitation.
The overall experience had highs and lows. The appies amazing, the mains disappointing and the desert heavenly. We may visit this establishment again to test out other mains, but with Vancouver being a city with so many chefs, amazing and surprising restaurants, we may not get around to it. There’s a lesson to be learned here in that exact vein. With the decline of service levels as a whole, and in a competitive landscape such as most urban centers are, you really only get one shot to impress, or conversely, disappoint. Something to keep in mind.
Location visited: 1009 Hamilton Street
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