Tonight I was out in Granville Island, visiting Dockside Restaurant to check out their Dine Out Vancouver menu. For those unfamiliar with the property, they are located at the lobby of the Granville Island Hotel, and are better known as the restaurant with one of the nicest views in Granville Island. And here, my guests and I were able to enjoy it at its fullest with a table for two looking out into the harbour.
Dockside’s Dine Out menu is 3 courses for $49, with plenty of seafood options, given the locale. They also have vegetarian options and upgrades worth taking advantage of.
For appetizers it is either between the Vichyssoise Soup with pureed leeks, potatoes, cream, and crispy leeks; or prawn scampi.
We would order the latter prepared with white wine, confit garlic butter, and tarragon; served with charred baguette. This isn’t what you expect when you read shrimp scampi. The sauce is super garlicky, and the dressing not as rich, plus the herbs are not the typical used. The chef likes tarragon, a point we would learn well as the unique herb makes a prominent appearance once more before dinner’s end. Although once you let go of scampi expectations, the dish is quite nice. The tomato helps to break up the strong flavours with pops of tartness and tang, and the shrimp is cooked well and juicy. I just wish the baguette wasn’t so salty, so we could have used it to dip into the excess sauce with. I think the goal for this course was to take something tried and true and give it their own twist, but we were to hung up on the literal name of the dish.
I highly recommend opting in for the wine pairing to best enjoy this and the other plates with. $18 for 3oz, per course. A great deal and just the perfect amount of wine to highlight your bites with. Here, the sweet crispness of the Garden of Granite Pinot Gris is great at cutting into the fishiness and excess garlic of the dish.
I also highly recommend paying $6 for the meal enhancement and getting the scallops. This would be my favourite dish of the night. Scallops with cauliflower, lemon-caper vinaigrette, and pickled golden raisins. The sweetness of the cream and raisins run in perfect parallel with the natural sweetness of the tender scallops. The raisins being a unique twist that is both unexpected and delightful. The bits of cauliflower offered a nice change in texture and savouriness. You can taste the perfect roasting with the olive oil, but it isn’t greasy. There was just too much excess cream. The scallop didn’t need much of it, so it would have been nice to have some flatbread or focaccia to help sop it up.
Paired with the Fitzpatrick Riesling, the sweetness of the wine didn’t dilute the dish, but instead made the flavours stand out all the more.
For entrees we passed on the Chorizo & Winter Squash Risotto with chorizo, apple, cippolini onion, and ancho chili.
And instead, we went with the Pork Cheeks with mustard spaetzli, charred & pickled cabbage, sauerkraut, and pork jus. There was a lot of different flavours that went into this. Individually, each item might not stand out, but together it sang. The pork was cooked so well that it came apart under the pressure of your utensil with no effort. The pasta did well to absorb the sauce, although I do wish they used a heartier noodle as to better take on the richness of the jus. And the tangy cabbage was great at offering breaks in an otherwise heavy dish.
The 3OZ of Sperling Pinot Noir was also great at breaking up the richness of the dish.
For our second entree we once again took on the meal enhancement. For $8 more you can have Lobster Spaghetti made with in house made pasta, bisque butter, and tarragon. Who doesn’t like the idea of lobster? But sadly the lobster was slightly over cooked, and the familiar flavour of tarragon grew weary on us. Paired with butter and garlic like the shrimp, we felt like we were repeating our meal. It was also very heavy and sumptuous, and we could not finish it all. But every now and then you got a red pepper flake that pops and helped to change the profile of the dish completely.
The wine pairing was 3OZ Viognier from Road 13.
For dessert you only have 2 options to choose from, so we got one of each. Out of the two the Basil Panna Cotta with lemon gel, sable, and blueberry was my favourite. This is how I like to end a meal, with something light and refreshing to wash the palate with. The basil was an interesting twist that I appreciated. The strength of the herb jibed well with tart blueberry. The cookie crumble added a nice crunch to contrast the smooth and creamy panna cotta. Overall, a really well constructed palate refresher that paired perfectly with the Fitzpatrick Cremant sparkling.
By comparison the Chocolate Pot de Creme was unimaginative. It was just pudding in a cup and plain despite the bit of raspberry. The 1.5oz Fonseca Tawny port pairing at least helped to give it some character.
In conclusion, if looking for a great venue to impress your date with; at a locale that includes a solid menu that won’t break the bank; and comes with wine pairings that are perfectly selected for your dining and drinking ease, look no further than to Dockside.
1253 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9