We started our Dine Out 2014 experience at the Five Sails Restaurant located in the Pan Pacific of Vancouver. We had a late reservation, so by the time 8:30 came around, the group of us were ready to eat! We were greeted at the door by the owner and some of their staff who were all very welcoming. They took our coats, and we were promptly ushered to our seats. Our friendly waiter offered to take our beverage orders, and after some time for consideration, he returned to take our orders.
The menu they offered last night was off of a “Dine Out” menu. Dine out is an annual restaurant festival that occurs for a little over two weeks every January in Vancouver. This festival showcases hundreds of restaurants who each offer unique three (or more) course prix-fix meals ($18, $28, $38), attracting thousands of visitors year after year. (Also great for those on a budget looking for affordable fine dining (and yes, this may be the only time the two will ever relate. Haha))
From Five Sails’ $38 dinner menu, we were offered three choices from the appetizer and entree menu, and two from the dessert. They were difficult choices to say the least because everything sounded so delicious.
Below are the dishes we chose:
As a starter, everyone went with the Ahi Tuna Tartar. In my opinion, a seafood appy is always the way to go, and this one in particular definitely started our three course meal right! From the fresh tuna, to the avocado, to the wonton crisps and paired dressing, the combination of the dish was perfect. The creaminess of the upper layers was contrasted by the crispy wontons, while the dressing tied everything together. Everything worked well and flavours complimented each other.
Proceeding onto entrees, our table was split half and half. A few of us had a dish featuring poultry, while others had a seafood oriented dish. Personally, I went for the poultry because for an extra $10, I was given the option to add Foie Gras to my dish (Umm, Yes Please!)
I was able to sample bits of the dish from above. It was cleverly named “Catch!” and featured 1/2 a fresh Atlantic lobster, caramelized weathervane scallops, and the daily fresh catch. The seafood was paired with a lemongrass sauce and perfumed with coconut glazed baby vegetables. From what I was able to sample, the scallops were definitely the best element of the dish. They were cooked perfectly and its caramelization added the perfect amount of sweetness to make you wanting more. The lobster surprisingly lacked a tad bit only because it seemed a little over done and wasn’t quite hot enough. Overall, the sauce tied the dish together and the combo of seafood and assortment of vegetables came together perfectly.
My choice from the entree selection featured a honey glazed roasted Fraser Valley duck with caramelized mango scented with lime & Szechuan peppercorns, red kurri squash puree, potato gnocchi, and a port wine sauce. I also opted for the addition of Quebec foie gras for $10, and it was the best $10 I’ve ever spent, because it was absolutely delicious. We asked for some slices of bread which paired perfectly with the fattiness of the foie gras, and balanced out the richness of it. As for the main element of the dish, the duck was cooked extremely well. It was medium rare, and the char on it was perfect. There was a hint of smokiness to it which gave it sort of an asian component (almost a little like peking duck.) The tartness of the berries and port wine sauce gave the dish some acidity, resulting in a good balance. With the potato gnocchi, this was an element I think could be eliminated altogether. The gnocchi was overcooked and its bed of sauce tasted cheesy. It threw me off a little because it didn’t really add to the dish, and I found it a bit odd tasting, texture-wise. Overall, this protein-feature was wonderful, and showcased its main protein well.
Onto our last course, the desserts. We had two choices, both of which were ordered. The Banana & Chocolate tango (pictured above) was a smooth chocolate ganache & banana infused vanilla mousse with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Once again, I was able to sample this dessert off of a friend’s plate. This dessert was rich and flavourful with just the right amount of sweet, and definitely made you wanting more after the first bite.
My choice of dessert was the Luxe Lemon Mille-Feuilles. It was composed of delicate layers of crisp phyllo pastry, chilled lemon cream, lemon parfait, and fresh berry puree. The dessert was good, but I think that it could’ve been better with a slight cutback of tartness from the lemon cream. The sourness became more and more overwhelming with each bite. Other than that aspect, the parfait portion was wonderfully flavoured and the crispy phyllo pastry was a great addition. It, along with the ripe berries provided a refreshing sweetness that helped with the tartness. It was a yummy end to the three course meal.
Overall Five Sails provided us a fantastic dining experience. The food was excellent, the ambience was great, and the staff of the restaurant were friendly and polite. There was not much more we could’ve asked for. It was definitely a great start to Dine Out 2014, and a pleasant start to more food adventures in the new year!