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Boulevard, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs

October’s La Chaîne Vancouver’s monthly dinner was hosted at the beloved seafood restaurant, Boulevard. “La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is an international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950. The Chaîne is based on the traditions and practices of the old French Royal Guild of Goose Roasters, whose authority gradually expanded to the roasting of all poultry, meat, and game”, as taken from Wikipedia.

Guests gathered for a sparkling reception in Boulevard’s private room, sipping from a collection of bottles brought from the Vancouver Chapter’s private cellar. Including the Donaine Zinck Crémant d’Alsace, ideally paired with the appetizers to come.

As guests mixed and mingled in the dimly lit foyer, servers brought around light bites to arose the appetite.

The showstopper was the Poached sunseeker oysters with lemongrass cream, and ossetra caviar. A stunning presentation that showcased the luxury of the caviar used, which furthered the generous nature of the amount in place to crown each raw oyster. I found the two that I had were naturally sweet oysters, furthered sweeten with the creamy topping.

My second favourite of the appetizers was the Gnocchi fritto with cino jotas iberico and kaluga premium caviar. This was a flaky, buttery pastry used as a base for fine salty cured meat and nutty caviar with a firm pop.

The Beef tartare crostini with traditional garnish including shaved truffle was another luxurious bite. Well-seasoned, soften raw beef contrasting the dry and crispy crouton base.

When dinner was being served, we were invited to the dining room. To be seated in arranged assignments with name cards indicating placement. There, our first wine pairing was already waiting for us.

The 2020 Gustave Lorentz ‘L’ami des Crustaces Pinot Blanc was a light white wine that opened up alongside our seafood starter.

The Chilled yuzu chawanmushi with house cured ikura, poached geoduck clam, and Hokkaido sea urchin was a fantastic dinner opener. It clearly spoke to the abilities of our chefs, the quality of their produce, and the range of their reach. Apparently, there was only a limited number of wild spring salmon roe left available for the city. Scarce amounts that had chefs quarrelling for the last batch, with our Chef Roger Ma coming out on top, and the remaining supply making it to our dinner plates.

This was so unique, a symphony of fragrant flavours and sumptuous textures coating the mouth. It was so delicious that we all practically inhaled it, but it would have been better taken in smaller, savouring mouthfuls. You clearly made out all of the luxury seafood elements with the umami of the uni being top tier. It did not overshadow the chewy geoduck and the burst of juice from the fish eggs. Hands down now one of my favourite appetizer and seafood dishes to date. This was a beautiful starter and an amazing way to set the bar for the rest of the meal to come.

Next course was Pâté en croûte with venison, pork jowl, chanterelle, pistachio, foie gras, fig chutney, and house pickles. Once again, a luxurious assembly of ingredients that didn’t overpower one another, but came together to bring something interesting in both taste and texture. When constructing the Pâté a consommé was prepared from the quail bones below, and used to fill into the gaps. The sour cherry came from the Okaganan and was persevered and pickled with brine and spices in house. It well matched the warm red fruit tones of the venison, finished with maldon salt and burgundy truffle. As a whole this was a mix of meaty morsels and silken jellies with the sweetness of chutney and the tang of pickles on the side to self-balance. Truly a very intelligently conceived dish.

Our second course was Paired with the 2015 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir.

For our featured entree, each diner received their own quail seasoned in five spice with caramelized endive, a brown butter squash with farro pumpkin seeds gremolata, and a red currant jus. I have only ever had quail prepared at a Chinese banquet setting, so only know it to be hard and dry. This was the most delicate and delicious preparation of quail I have had thus far. A rarity, as agreed by the group. It was juicy and smokey, and there was a surprising amount of meat for such a small bird. Seasoned in classic Asian spices that well matched the crispy endive leaves, and the sweetness of the tart cranberry.

This was enjoyed along side another full bodied, easy going red in the 2009 Delas Domaine des Grands Chemins-Crozes-Hermitage. It helped to add an additional layer of acidity.

For dessert we had a deconstructed Pear tart with poached pear, brown Buttar curd, pear brandy ice cream and black currant gel. It looked like art. There was much consideration put into the texture of each element, to have it each as its own. With the buttery crumble base to offset the foamy cream. This fruit-forward freshness was just what we needed to follow the richness of the quail.

A perfect, palate refreshing end, wonderfully served with the 2001 Château Roumieu Sauternes. This is a dessert wine with a smokey bourbon finish that runs parallels the brandy ice cream.

In closing, this was another great La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs gathering and another delicious dinner in the books.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
845 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2K6
(604) 642-2900

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