O'Doul's Restaurant and Bar
1300 Robson St, Vancouver
Price: Expensive (on regular price), this was the dine out $38 menu
Since Dine Out Vancouver was really short this year (it only included 1 weekend), I only had time to pencil in 2 restaurants. The 2nd restaurant chosen was O'Doul's and I was actually excited to try it out for 2 reasons. Every time I walk by, it looked like it has great ambiance and the lamb 'popsicle' I had at Taste of the City 2007 was phenomenal.
They first brought us the complimentary bread/butter. Also they gave each of us a small piece of salmon pate to try. The bread had olives in it, which I did not like, but the salmon pate was good.
I chose the duck with garlic chive dumpling for the appetizer. This was a major disappointment for me. The dumpling skin was rather thick and cooked unevenly. I couldn't really tell the stuffing was actually duck. The soup was suppose to be shitake mushroom based, but really it just tasted like water down soy sauce. Overall, I wish I ordered a different appetizer.
The Grilled Albacore Tuna was better. Although the tuna was good, but the curry chickpea salad it was resting on was average. Nothing really stood out, it's a salad I could have easily whipped up at home.
The last appetizer was the yam, sunchoke and spinach pankoras. It didn't sound all that appetizing to me, but actually it turned out to be the best one out of the 3. They were heavily spiced but it all worked in harmony with one another. Also it was deep fried to the right consistency.
For the main I went for a medium grilled striploin steak on bearnaise sauce. My medium was rather bloody, and comparing with the medium rare it was about the same. The steak and fries was just good, but not special. Ironically the best thing on the plate was the oven dried roma tomato, it was very good.
I had a bit of the salmon, but really couldn't remember much about it. R mentioned that although it was not too dry, but it wasn't juicy enough either. In the end he thought it was okay. For the dessert, we had a choice between the Riesling and Honey poached pear or Chipotle-spiked Chocolate and Agassiz Hazelnut Brownie. I had the pear, it was soft and juicy, but at the same time it tasted like canned pear. The citrus crème anglaise was good. The chocolate brownie was very dense and sweet but with a distinctive bitterness. I think they probably used dark chocolate for it. Btw, we had a birthday girl present for that night, so the restaurant was kind enough to include a candle for her dessert.
The restaurant was very nice, it has these floor to ceiling glass windows which were great for people watching and provided very nice natural lighting. The service was great, as expected. Also they had live music after 9pm, which was very relaxing.
Overall, I will have to say that for my dining experience, the ambiance wins over the food. Maybe because this menus was specifically created for Dine Out (many items were not on their regular menu), thus the food is below par. Either way, I don't think I am eager to go back, but at the same time it's not on my 'never to go back list' either. As I always say, you dining experience may differ. :P