Taste Of Yaletown, an annual food event similar to Dine Out Vancouver, where restaurants are to offer featured menus at a set price, only difference is the focus is mainly on restaurants operating in Yaletown.
With that being said, it seemed like a good idea to have a get together with my coworkers, that way there would be no fuss about splitting the bills since everyone would roughly be the same, sans alcohol. After looking through the restaurants that were included in the 2014 selection, it was narrowed down and Yaletown L’Antipasto came up on top. One of my coworkers, having just returned from her vacation from Italy, was extremely excited to reminisce on the flavours shes had, that was mainly one of the pushing points.
It was packed being for a Wednesday night, not sure if it was due to the event. Luckily, reservations were made and we were seated inside the restaurant by combining a few tables together. I would like to apologize beforehand for some of the dark and blurry pictures, I was too focused in the conversations and group to worry too much about them at the time.
Complimentary olives with lemon zest were given upon arrival, a small ramekin was previously served and devoured by those that arrived before me. I’m not a fan of olives, but those that were seemed to enjoy them, saying that they had a nice garlicky taste too it, a bit briny yet refreshing due to the lemon zest.
Yaletown Antipasto; cured meats & mature cheese from diverse regions of Italy & vegetables sott’ olio
Two Antipasto were ordered à la carte for everyone to share. The meats included salami, prosciutto serrano and pancetta. Cheese I had forgotten, but there was a very sharp one in the mix that I really enjoyed. Aside from the meats, the sott’ olio was also nicely done, especially the smokey peppers and artichoke, they were an excellent condiment and paired nicely with everything.
Cecchi – chianti
Our first bottle of wine arrived, a Chianti, handpicked by our own ever since she’s found her love for them back in Italy. This one was very refreshing, rich and fruity with a lot of acidity, which Chiantis tend to be. It was an acceptable wine for appetizers, but I don’t think it would do too well for main courses.
Prosciutto & Burrata; prosciutto serrano & our amazing burrata mozzarella combined
Another share dish that was ordered outside of the Taste Of Yaletown menu. The Prosciutto was the same as the one in the Antipasto, nicely salted and melts-in-your-mouth upon contact. The burrata however, was underwhelming. Though it tasted creamy, it was rather bland and not the smooth consistency that I’m used to with my burrata, especially if it claims on their menu that it’s ‘amazing’. Not to mention that there were three small wedges, if you would call them that.
Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio; AAA Alberta beef, slightly seasoned, drizzled with an intoxicating white alba truffle infused olive oil, served with traditional vegetables sott’ olio
Finally on to the actual menu, this seems to be the most popular choice at our table aside from the Tuna, no one really seemed for the Insalata di Celeste which was just a green salad. The beef was thinly sliced and very buttery and well seasoned, the truffle oil was not overpowering for such a simple and delicate dish, it helped preserve its moistness and added a nice overall finish to it.
Tuna Carpaccio; in-house cured albacore tuna loin made in the traditional manner of Sardegna, enhanced with some lemon zest infused olive oil on a bed of arugula with cherry tomatoes & capers
The tuna was said to be cured with a rub of espresso and sea salt, it was buttery like toro, tuna belly, however, you couldn’t taste the espresso that it claims to have. It pales in comparison with the Beef, those that got it were mildly disappointed.
Barone Montalto – nero d’avola – cabernet sauvignon
Our second bottle, my choice, as I’ve enjoyed a Nero D’Avola previously at my favourite wine bar before. This was a blend with Cab Sauv; slightly towards the dryer side with soft tannins, it was fully body and went down smoothly, but not overpowering for the light pastas that came in the second course.
Ravioli alla Filly; lobster & crab ravioli with a fresh tomato sauce & tiger prawns, sautéed with a little garlic & chilies, laid on a bed of arugula
The ravioli was cooked nicely, with a creamy and rich filling, but it wasn’t as ‘saucy’ as I’d expected. It was lacking in the tartness from the tomato to help cut the heaviness of the dish. The giant prawns were a nice touch.
Pappardelle Rosse; this is a recipe that’s been in the family for generations. thick ribbon egg noodles with a mixed meat ragu of braised boneless beef short ribs, Italian fennel sausage & chicken breast
I think the ‘recipe that’s been in the family for generations’ was what opt most of our table to order this dish, and the claims were met. The pappardelle was cooked al dente, having the perfect bounce and egginess to it. The ragu felt kind of bland and one dimensional, aside from the texture, there was not distinguishing factor between all those meats. It all seemed to meld into one, which was a disappointment for it to go against such a wonderful pasta.
Gnocchi ai Quattro Formaggi; piedmontese gnocchi in a cheese sauce of crème fraîche, grana padano, Okanagan chèvre & gorgonzola
The only thing lacking from this dish is visual, there needed to be colour, be it just one leaf of Italian parsley or something. It felt like it was going to be a bland dish from the looks of it thought that wasn’t the case. The cheese cause was creamy and thick with cheesy goodness, with just a hint of blue from the gorgonzola. The gnocchi was pillowy soft, and held up to the sauce nicely. Only complaint aside from the visual was the heaviness of the dish, it felt like there needed to be something there to help cut through such a dense dish, the ones that ordered this was basically K.O’ed right after with no room for dessert.
Lavender Crème Brûlée
Vanilla Panna Cotta
All three desserts were ordered, starting with the Crème Brûlée. It had a nice creamy consistency, but there was not enough burnt sugar on top allowing for that contrast in flavour and texture. Also, the problem with using floral flavours is that it tends to get too perfumey, as if you had accidentally sprayed some in your mouth.
The Panna Cotta was the winner, it was not too sweet yet extremely creamy, the raspberry coulis added a nice acidity to brighten up the dish.
The Tiramisu was our tables’ least favourite, the flavours were good and prominent but it had a rather runny texture, borderline melted ice cream like.
The service here was nice and friendly, with the food being a hit or minor miss despite the quality ingredients. Overall it was an alright night, definitely worth it with the menu priced at just $35. Maybe I’ll come back and try their other pastas as well, those seem pretty promising on paper.