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I only find myself at “Century Plaza Hotel” when I attend a comedy show, but I always find myself at their restaurant when I do.

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The name is new, but the feel and the decor of the place is very similar to its last reincarnation. A true hotel lobby bar/lounge feel. A large space, dark with dim lights, coupled with the feeling of regality. I guess the restaurant has to reflect the hotel. After all, you don’t have a country style family restaurant at a 4.5 star establishment in the middle of downtown. You best believe the restaurant has to be 4.5 star to be in a 4.5 star hotel. And so far, setting wise, they were giving us just that. Dark glossy wood furnishings, supple booths, deep seated recliners, and opulent chandeliers. Only what was necessary was present, but each you could be sure was done up with finesse.

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We told our server that we were here to catch the comedy show downstairs, so throughout our meal she kept track of the time for us. She gave us countdown warnings and brought us the bill without asking, all to get us out in time. This is the first time I found a server bringing out the bill, without first asking the guest, a good thing.

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Our meal began with complementary bread and seasonings. It looked more impressive than it actually was. The bread was hard, it’s texture an unenjoyable crumbliness. No matter how hard I tried and how hungry I was, I couldn’t enjoy it. The oil did help to soften the chew, but not enough to do it any good. As for the salt, it just seemed unnecessary. I hope what was left unused doesn’t get tossed out. They gave us a lot of flavoured salt to eat with the focaccia. Do most people dip their bread in oil and salt?

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My guest got the “8oz Snake river wagyu California cut rib eye”. We both expect it marbleized given wagyu’s reputation. “Wagyu” literally means “Japanese cow” and it includes several breeds of cattle. The most desired of these bovine are the ones genetically predisposed to intense marbling and increase of fat. The meat from such wagyu cattle is known for its quality, and commands a high price for it. We were paying quite a bit for our prized steak so was sad to have it turn out the way it did. The flavour was good, it had a great rub that allowed the beef’s natural flavour to shine through. But where was the fat? The morsels did not melt in our mouth. It was worst at the ends, dry and over cooked. Truly we should have sent it back, but we were on a time crunch and that is something I always feel guilty about doing. Though reality is, if you pay for something you expect to get your money’s worth and we did not here.

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As is the case with most steak places, side are separate, at a separate cost. My guest choose the “Truffle French fries”. You could smell the truffle oil and only slightly taste it. Something about truffles that can make the simple fry a worthy companion to the mighty steak. Humously, my guest felt bad asking for a side of ketchup to this side.

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I played it safe with the “Duck breast, wild mushroom and garlic mash with pan jus” and was not disappointed. The duck breast was cooked perfectly, both the pieces were tender and each bite juice. I wish I had more. The taste of duck is so distinct, and you really got it here. “Luscious” is the word we used to perfectly describe it. The meat was as velvety as the whipped smooth potatoes to its side. I would come back just for this.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I liked the setting, a modern steak house. Simple, elegant, sleek. Shame that we only found 50 percent of the food that we paid for any good. I wouldn’t be a posed to giving dinner another shot, and doing so with time for dessert. Neither like or dislike at this point. Don’t deny your cravings.

C-PRIME
Century Plaza Hotel & Spa
1015 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
604-684-3474
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