Chilling with Winston ~
Decided on "Chill Winston" in Gastown for our girls night out. Reason being we both have never been and wanted to, but never have because were discouraged by the long lines and wait times during peak hours.
So we walked in on a Monday and had our pick of the place. They had a variety of seating from couches to high tops, we chose the latter. The decor was dark and very bar slash lounge-ish. It was a very causal and comforting setting, one where you could stay hours at and not feel pushed out. I am sure this is contrary to the case during the weekends. A projector played an old timey movie against the brick wall. A nice place to sit, drink slowly, and talk.
We got the night started with miscellanous drinks. I cannot tell you what we actually drank because we decided to order by colour, in order to get beautiful pictures (ofcourse). We ordered, "one red, one blue, one yellow, and one green" for the first round. What came of it were some amazing looking and tasting surprise drinks. All 4 martinis were on the sweeter side and did well to hide the shot in each glass. The four were so beautiful all lined up in a row, that a patron at the nearby table came over to ask if she could take a picture with our drinks. Second round we ordered "orange and brown". I fell instantly in oral heaven with the "brown" custom coffee drink our bartender made. He told me the recipe and I copied it down, ofcourse knowing full well I cannot duplicate it. 1 shot espresso, Vanilla liquoir, Chocolate liquoir, Baileys, Frangelico. Our male bartender was much more generous making our second and third round filled it to the brim.
The menu is mainly small plates for sharing, and we did exactly that. We choose 4 appies: "Maui Bison Ribs"; "Crab Cakes"; "Marrow"; and "Stuffed Dates".
My guest tonight loves marrow so we had to get that. It was just alright, and not as good as the ones I have had at "Italian Kitchen" and "West"; both of which had plenty of meat and flavour with every spoon-full you dug out. To the bottom is marrow from "Italian Kitchen" At "$18.95. The one at "Chill Winston" (right) is $15.75. In this case I feel the $3 more for the marrow at "Italian Kitchen" is worth it as you get more marrow with more crustinis and condiments. And from a photography point of view, the presentation is just so much more impressive.
The surprise star of the meal was actually the stuffed dates, "Medjool dates stuffed with Humboldt Fog goat cheese, wrapped in smoked pancetta". It had a sweet and salty taste, and even better after taste. I definitely saved this as my last bite to ensure I retained a great flavour on my pallet. Soft and chewy more like a dessert then appie.
As for the crab cakes and braised, fried ribs: they were exactly as expected, so they did not disappoint, but at the same time they did nothing to wow us. I would order the dates again but like to try other options next time.
Will I go back? - Yes, only if I make a reservation and/or don't have to line up. I don't believe any food is so good that it's worth waiting an hour or more in order to pay to eat it.
Will I recommend "Chill Winston" - yes, it is on the pricy side but you get what you paid for. Good food uses better ingredients, which ofcourse cost more. If you want any of this goodness you need to be willing to put down some bills. A must go place for a get together with drinks.
3 Alexander St, Vancouver BC, V6A 1B2