Restaurant: The Shore Club
Cuisine: Seafood/Steakhouse/West Coast/Fine Dining
Last visited: November 24, 09
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Address: 688 Dunsmuir St
Price Range: $50+
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (I only tried 4 things)
- Fine dining in Vancouver
- Specializes in seafood and fish
- Relatively traditional mains, but creative starters
- Cocktail lounge
- Great for cocktails/appies
- Open kitchen upstairs
- Live pianist
- Extensive wine list
- Classic/modern decor
- Attracts ages 30+
- Smart casual
- Business, yet relaxed feel
- 2 floors
- Coat check service
- Private rooms available
- Valet parking available
**Recommendation: Vanilla-battered prawns
The Shore Club is a fine dining seafood restaurant in Vancouver. They specialize in seafood and fresh fish and it part of Gotham’s & Hy’s Steakhouse family. I already mentioned it once in my post for Hy’s Steakhouse… but it doesn’t hurt to say it again… it’s also part of The Keg.
The restaurant is huge with 2 floors. It’s very spacious and the downstairs is more of the lounge, while the upstairs is for dining. It has a business like ambiance, but it’s still fun and relatively casual because of the live piano music…which I always love. It’s definitely less pretentious than Hy’s and maybe even Gotham’s. The lighting isn’t as dark and there’s so much wide space so it doesn’t feel as intimate. Maybe also because we were sitting at the kitchen bar – which was very lively!
Service: My friend knows the manager of The Shore Club so the treatment we received was perhaps better than usual and therefore I cannot “rate” the service. Mind you anyone can sit at the kitchen counter. If I came again I would make the same request. It was awesome! I love watching the chefs and cooks do their thing – they were so passionate and you can see all the work that goes into your meal. It helps when I’m a foodie and I’m able to interact with them and talk to them. They answered all my questions and trust me; I can ask A LOT of questions. It was after the dinner rush (after 9pm) on a Tuesday so they were able to talk and didn’t need to rush any part of the cooking.
- Spicy sweet and sour sauce $15
- The first question I asked the chef was one of my typical questions: What would you order? Please don’t recommend me the most popular, but what would YOU order for yourself? He made a “sooo good face” and replied with “vanilla-battered prawns”… and finished with a “sooo good face”.
- Woohoo! These were amazing! Seriously, I think it could be the best deep fried prawn I have ever had.
- The prawns were pretty big, lightly battered, and very aromatic. They put pure vanilla extract into the batter. It’s a traditional flour batter that was slightly sweet from the vanilla. I’m glad it was simple because I wouldn’t want anything to distract me from the v anilla. It was creative enough already.
- The sauce was amazing…but a simple recipe. I mean I can’t say for sure, but I’m 98% sure it was that sweet chili sauce you can buy in the glass bottle from T&T. It’s not completely made in house; however they infuse it with the seeds from real vanilla beans. You can see all the seeds! It’s spicy, sour and had 2 levels of sweetness – the sweetness it comes with (sugar/plum sauce) and then the vanilla. The idea is genius so I’m fine with it if they use the bottled stuff.
**Dungeness Crab Cake 4.5/6
- Horseradish dill mayonnaise $18
- So this one intrigued me, so I had to ask about it. Chef’s reply “it’s almost 99% Dungeness crab meat. No fillers.” And I was sold.
- It was pretty much almost eating pure Dungeness crab. But for $18 I better be getting a whole lot of crab… and I was. Excellent, but expensive.
- It was lightly breaded and had some minced red peppers, chives, and very little bread crumb in the mix just to hold it altogether. There’s no shrimp, no fish, no potatoes – just crab.
- It would have been a 5/6 if it was paired with a better sauce. I really wasn’t feeling the horseradish dill mayonnaise. I couldn’t taste the horseradish at a ll so it kind of tasted like a sauce for kids. It tasted like dill chip dip. I would have liked either more horseradish (freshly grated) or a garlic aioli.
- Bouillabaisse 2.5/6
- The classic, with king and snow crab, prawns and fresh fish in saffron broth $38
- Oh no! It was going all so well…ok I have to really explain this dish.It’s not that it tasted bad. It actually tasted really good. BUT it was not bouillabaisse. It was American bouillabaisse.
- Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew that originates from Marseilles – city in the South of France. It’s a fish soup made from slowly cooking fish, veggies, s hellfish and other herbs and spices including saffron. I’ve been to Marseilles and have tried authentic bouillabaisse…and this wasn’t close. The closest thing to the real deal that I’ve tried in Vancouver is the bouillabaisse from dB Moderne in Kitsilano.
- The problem with the one at Shore Club was that it was not an authentic bouillabaisse. It was more like seafood served with a saffron broth. I can’t even call it a seafood soup because all the seafood was cooked separately, plated, and then the saffron broth was served overtop. The seafood and fish should have been cooked right into the soup. The flavours of the seafood are what make the broth!
- It was hearty in seafood, but not in flavour. It kind of tasted like chicken saffron broth, not really seafood broth. It was too thin and it didn’t have that slow-cooked/reduced taste.
- The positive is that they don’t skimp on the fish or shellfish at all. This is almost 2 mains in 1.
- You get a huge piece of halibut and a huge piece of Sea bass, but both were skinless. The skin holds so much flavour and helps flavour the brot h too. The fish is all pan-fried, but their not oily and only fried until cooked and not browned, which is good for this dish.
- Shellfish includes: 2 prawns, 5 mussels, 4 clams, 3 King & snow crab legs, 2 giant scallops. The crab legs were very juicy and everything was cooked perfectly. What happened was that the actual bouillabaisse became secondary to the seafood.
- It came with a dipping sauce for the seafood which was a red pepper aioli. This was good! It was thickened with potatoes and made completely in house. It was very thick and I couldn’t tell they were potatoes until I was told…and then it was obvious.
- CHEF’S SPECIAL – Pan-fried Oyster
- Ok so this part was purely special treatment. The chef whipped us up one of his specialties – not available on the menu. So to be fair, I can’t rate it. They do offer another version of a pan-fried oyster as a starter but I haven’t tried it. It would be the closest alternative I could recommend.
- I only like my oysters raw…except for this time. This is the best tasting cooked oyster I’ve ever had. I’m not saying that because it was a hook up too. It was actually amazing!
- From ingredients, to cooking technique, to plating…he nailed it. Simple plating for this starter actually works unlike the crab cake.
- It was a pan-fried oyster that was placed back its shell after it was cooked. It was accompanied with a sauce made of wilted spinach, cream and garlic. It was topped with foamy butter and served on a bed of sea salt.
- I think they could have been using a Chef’s Creek oyster. It was medium medium sized and very plump. It had 3 levels of saltiness & 3 levels of creaminess without being too salty. The texture and flavour came from the butter, the cream, and then the natural salty brine of the oyster.
- It was divine! It was so smooth, so creamy, so rich, so decadent and just perfect.
- Old Fashioned Chocolate Brownie $10
- To be honest I don’t remember it that much. I remember it being good at the moment, but it was also just a good chocolate brownie. I was impressed by the serving size though. I was expecting a homemade two-bite brownie.
- Key Lime Pie $10
- I remember it being a big slice. The crust was good and the filling was very sweet and tart…which key lime pie is, so that’s fine. It was rich and heavy though, lots of filling, so it was unfinished. I needed to eat it with the ice cream…from the brownie.
- Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee $10
- For someone who’s not a fan of crème brulee, but will still eat it or at least try it…it wasn’t bad. It was also very ordinary, but again a nice portion size.
- Bouillabaisse 2.5/6
I came for dessert on another night (June 2009, before I started blogging), but I’m going to include it in this post anyways.
I’m actually quite taken back by their dessert menu. I was expecting more extravagant things, but everything was very simple and traditional. It was nothing I couldn’t find anywhere else…maybe even at The Keg =p…at least it’s all made in house though. They could do a way better job. I think they should invest more into their desserts and just offer 4 amazing ones rather than 9 ordinary ones. I can’t rate them because it was too long ago it wouldn’t be fair.