Sunday, September 8, 2013


My brother was attending a conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and since it was just a short drive up from Seattle, I thought I would visit and hang out with him for a couple of days.  We both love Vancouver; there is something extremely cosmopolitan about the city without being too tourist-y.  I will admit, however, that there is one glaring problem with Vancouver:  there are just too many good restaurants to choose from.  Both my brother and I scanned through a countless number of Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews of restaurants in the Vancouver area, covering the whole gamut of culinary goodness:  French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Northwest seafood.  You name it, there's a good restaurant for it.

So, upcoming arriving in Vancouver and meeting up with my brother, we must have spent at least a good 20 minutes on trying to decide on where to eat.  When we couldn't decide on a restaurant, I blurted out "Hawksworth", based on a strong recommendation from one of my co-workers (thanks JCOS!).  So, we looked at the reviews on Yelp and yup, they were mostly positive.  We then looked at the website and wow!  Those pictures on their site looks scrumptious.  So, it was decided right then and there:  we were off to Hawksworth.

Located in the Rosewood Hotel off of Georgia St. in the middle of bustling downtown Vancouver, you walk into the darkened entry and are greeted by a couple of elegantly dressed receptionists.  Very classy.  We were led through a comfy looking lounge into the main dining area, where our table was situated next to a wall.  It was about 5:30pm so it wasn't crowded.  A French gentlemen, who mentioned that he was from the south of France but whose name for the life of me I cannot remember, was our waiter and he reminded me much of Bronson Pinchot (Balki from Perfect Strangers (or better yet, Serge from Beverly Hills Cop)).  I half expected him to ask me if I wanted an espresso with a little lemon twist.

We opened up the menu.  There were so many enticing entree choices.  My original choice was getting the caramelized alberta striploin with shishito peppers but my brother saw the For Sharing menu item and decided that we should both get it.  What is the For Sharing menu item?  30 oz heritage angus bone in ribeye with potato gnocchi, summer vegetables, crispy marrow with a red wine jus and butter hollandaise sauce.  All for the low down price of $125CAD.  So, it was decided right then and there:  For Sharing, medium rare.  Pro:  red meat!  Somewhat of a con:  30 minute wait for it to be cooked to perfection.

My brother wanted an appetizer and ordered the English Pea Soup, which had lobster and prosciutto with a black pepper creme fraichi.  I passed on an appetizer because I wanted to save room for dessert.  After a few minutes, my brother's soup arrived ... in style and made me realize that I should have gotten an appetizer as well.  Missed opportunity!

English Pea Soup

The soup bowl contained lobster bits and prosciutto while the pea soup came in its own container.  The waiter (who still hadn't asked me if I wanted an espresso with a little lemon twist) then poured the hot pea soup into the soup bowl, mixing with the lobster bits, creating a very hot and fresh take on soup presentation.  I took a sip and it was divine.  Very creamy and flavorful.

After a 30 minute wait, the ribeye arrived ... also in grand fashion.

30 oz Heritage Angus Bone In Rib Eye with Crispy Bone Marrow ... pure awesome

Mmmm ... potato gnocchi with summer vegetable bourquetiere.

Two great tastes that tastes great together

Crispy Marrow.  Bite-size explosions of flavor 

The presentation itself was marvelous.  My initial reaction in seeing a large bone with a slab of meat attached to it as dinner was something to the effect of watching Fred Flintstone eating dinner.  It was barbaric and there was something of a caveman vibe to it.  But we were hungry so we dove in, caveman style.

The meat had the right amount of pink; not bloody but certainly not the toughness you would find in a medium cooked steak.  Biting into it was heaven:  tender but not chewy, flavorful without the need of any sauce.  The outside of the steak was slightly seasoned which complimented the earthy taste of raw beef.  Add that to the summer vegetables and the potato gnocchi and you have yourself a splendid meal.  There were two sauces that accompanied the steak:  the Chimichurri red wine jus and the butter hollandaise.  The red wine jus had a slightly sweet taste of sweetened soy sauce but without the salty aftertaste.  The butter hollandaise was very creamy with a slight tang of yogurt which was a nice contrast with the red wine jus.  I preferred the red wine jus but in all honesty, I ate most of the rib eye without any sauce at all.  Overall, the ribeye was a winner.

I should mention about two things:  the potato gnocchi and the crispy marrow.  At first glance, the puffy/crispy bits of marrow on the ribeye looks like simple garnishments but it's part of the meal.  I took a bite into one, half expecting to bite into something like an onion ring.  Instead, to my surprise, it was very tasty:  crisp like an onion ring but packed full of rich flavor.  For the gnocchi, I wasn't sure if these were baked or pan fried but there was a slight fried texture to the potato gnocchi that gave it a slightly tarter-tot meets pasta taste.  Both added so much to the main dish and vegetables.

It took my brother and I some time to go through the meal but we weren't in a hurry and we somehow managed to eat the whole thing.  Here's the proof:

Yabba dabba done

How do you top of a meal as grand as a 30oz angus rib eye?  With extravagent dessert, of course.  I was full but there is always room for dessert (thanks to my second stomach dedicated to desserts, sweets and the occasional appetizer as dessert).  My brother got the passionfruit, coconut and white chocolate while I went for the chèvre cheesecake.

Passionfruit, Coconut and White Chocolate

Not your ordinary cheesecake:  chèvre cheesecake with green apple sorbet and walnuts

I didn't get to try the passionfruit, coconut, white chocolate triple threat that my brother had but it looked very inviting.  Presentation, for both desserts, were great.  When I think cheesecake, I typically think of the thick New York style cheesecakes with the graham cracker crust.  This cheesecake was much different but just as delicious:  the cheesecake itself, which was shaped like a tube, was very light and fluffy, almost like whipped cream.  Next to it was a walnut cookie with a dollop of green apple sorbet.  I think they should rename the dessert as Green Apple Sorbet with chèvre cheesecake because the spotlight was definitely the sorbet:  lightly sweet with a tangy green apple taste that went well with the crispy texture of the walnut cookie.  The yuzu marinated apple cubes and the caramelized walnuts raised the dessert to the new level of dessert deliciousness.  However, the kicker was the brown butter sauce droplets.  They dot the the dessert plate and one taste simply blasts you with so much rich, cinnamon-y flavor.  Highly recommended.

In fact, if you're going to be treating yourself to a fine meal with excellent service, I highly recommend going to Hawksworth.  From beginning to end, each portion of the meal was delicious.  Upon leaving, we were presented with one last bit of dessert:  fruit jelly candy and marshmallows.  
Delicious to the end, a great dining experience at Hawkworth

Hawksworth Restaurant
801 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
604-673-7000 extension 1
Located in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, corner of Howe & Georgia

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