EBO Restaurant at The Delta Burnaby

Restaurant: EBO Restaurant at The Delta Burnaby
Cuisine: West Coast/Pacific Northwest/European/American
Last visited: December 5, 2010
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby Central)
Address: 4331 Dominion Street
Price Range: $30-50, $50+

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5 (based on what I tried)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 5
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Executive Chef Daniel Craig
  • Fine dining
  • Fresh, local ingredients
  • Seasonal menu
  • Fit for foodies
  • Fit for special occasions
  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Lounge/Restaurant
  • Intimate/Sophisticated
  • Elegant
  • Wine bar
  • Ocean Wise
  • Price fixe menu
  • Private room available
  • Catering
  • EBO Brunch
  • EBO Restaurant – Visit 2

**Recommendations: From what I tried, the 7 oz Double Smoked Wrapped Bison Tenderloin Bacon & Chef’s Special Lobster & Gnocchi. The Beet Root & Goat’s Cheese is unique to try, but could have been better flavour wise. On the newer menu Albacore Tuna and EBO Chocolate P Nut Butter Bar.

Ebo Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant located inside The Delta Burnaby Hotel, which is also attached to the Grand Villa Casino. At first I thought it was a Japanese sushi or teppanyaki restaurant, but Ebo actually stands for East of BOundary… yeeeah… with a name and location like that Ebo Restaurant is pretty much something easily overlooked. Thank goodness I was invited to the Holiday Chocolate Making Class with their pastry chef, or I would have never even bothered to try this hidden gem.

The signage is huge, but for some reason it comes totally unnoticed from the outside. That, and I honestly have little interest dining at restaurants attached to hotels and casinos. Why? Because most of the time it’s overpriced hotel banquet food. I came in with my expectations not set too high, and to tell you the truth, even with expectations set high, Ebo Restaurant would still manage to blow me away.

The ambiance and design actually reminds me of Chop Restaurant in Richmond, BC, but a bit less extravagant.

The real hidden gem here is not Ebo itself, but the undiscovered talent behind it, who is Executive Chef Daniel Craig. No, that wasn’t reference to him being a James Bond in the kitchen, although it would definitely still apply. His name is actually Daniel Craig, and I have to say he gives this place hope. A definite highlight for me is when I know there’s a passionate chef working hands on and actually cooking in the kitchen. To top it off he has global experience and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to develop his culinary skills in traditional French cuisine. Did I mention he’s also worked at a 2 Michelin Star? It comes across in a couple dishes I had as well. Mind you, I have only tried a few things so it’s not enough to really stand by.

The menu is Pacific Northwest with European flare and they’ve recently changed their menu which I find more streamlined than the old one. Chef Craig is definitely experimental, yet the risks he takes are ones he has experience with. I can taste the passion in his cooking and one of his dishes even brought me back to my experience at Redd in Napa Valley. His training is really showcased in certain dishes in the menu and I could tell where he was probably asked to play it more safe. I could taste his dedication for food just in the quality of ingredients, composition of dishes and artistic presentation.

Be forewarned that Ebo is fine dining and it is expensive, so you have to be prepared to spend downtown prices without actually being in downtown. But hey, at least there’s free parking and the service is impeccable. I know I was invited, but I did my observations and every table was attended to with the same service. The portions aren’t that big, as expected, but they are very finely executed and detailed with fresh, local and Ocean Wise sustainable seafood. Every dish may not blow you away, but given the freedom, he’s very capable of it and I would recommend it to food and wine enthusiasts.

Ebo is also offering Tasty Tutorials featuring  a private chocolate demonstration by their pastry chef in their actual kitchen. Dec 21st and Jan 11th (both Tuesday evenings). Interested parties can book by phoning 604-453-0788.

On the table:

Apple Mojito

Complimentary Bread

  • Roasted garlic & black peppercorn baguette, olive baguette, sesame crackers
  • Baked fresh, but not made in house. They could probably make an even better in house bread, but they just don’t have the volume yet.
  • The bread was served warm and the roasted garlic was more garlic powder, but still very flavourful.

Aromatic Infused Duck Broth with Foie Gras

I know. Wasn’t that photo exciting or did it catch you off guard? No, you’re still at the restaurant not in grade 11 Chemistry class… and it’s not a bong. It’s a coffee vacuum brewer. This is definitely experimental, but I have to explain. This is a very special menu item fit for very special occasions for 2 people. You can order it, but it needs to be booked at least a couple days in advance.

How it works:

Chef prepares a duck consomme that starts off in the bottom portion of this coffee vacuum brewer. The aromatics which were chili, lemongrass, cilantro, and turnip are at the top potion of the brewer. The bottom glass sits under a blue flame and the duck consomme evaporates upwards into the aromatics. After all the liquid has evaporated, the lid is removed from the top glass brewer and the duck consomme drains back down into original brewer it came from. The duck consomme is supposed to be now infused with the aromatics and then poured from the bottom brewer into your bowl.

Foie Gras – Pan seared foie gras, shredded turnip, carrots and shaved black garlic.

Aromatic Infused Duck Broth with Foie Gras – 5/6

  • This was delicious, because it was delicious. I honestly don’t think the coffee vacuum brewer does much, but it was more for novelty and it was very entertaining.
  • The whole process takes about 10 minutes and there’s just not enough time for the aromatics to really infused into the duck broth, which was more like a consomme.
  • The duck consomme was delicious alone though. It was completely clear, but I could see the oils on top, but it didn’t taste greasy or feel heavy although it is quite rich. It was very clean and perfectly seasoned. It was savoury, yet had a natural sweetness from the duck and then the sweetened carrots just enhanced that flavour.
  • It was my first time trying black garlic and initially I thought it was the skin of a Asian prune. It was soft and so pungent in flavour and quite pickled in taste with a licorice aftertaste. It was a great bite to contrast the richness of the foie gras and sweet flavours.
  • My only issue is that the foie gras was seared on one side. It was seared perfectly, but a quick sear at a high temperature on both sides would have been perfect.
  • It’s definitely good, and if you have money lying around, or want to impress someone by going over the top – this might do the trick.

Crab Cakes – 4.5/6

  • Bonito Crusted belle River Rock Crab, Chili Bean Aioli, Cabbage Slaw, Sweet Soy $14
  • There was nothing wrong with this crab cake, but for $14 it’s natural to have expectations set a bit high. Yes, there was nothing wrong, but there also wasn’t anything that creative with it.
  • It was just as good if not better than the one from The Shore Club which is $18 though.
  • The crab cakes from Encore Restaurant & Lounge were even creative for a lower end restaurant, but also stuffed with as much crab.

  • The best part is that it’s pretty much 99% flaky, tender, juicy and moist crab meat. Hardly any fillers if any at all except for the egg. It had a very crispy thin coating of panko, I couldn’t tell it was Bonito flakes, and it was fried perfectly golden brown.
  • I wasn’t a fan of Thousand Island like dressing, that was tangy with a mild heat, but just a bit too old fashioned for me. I didn’t see how it went with the soy either, which seemed like it was there for plating purposes.
  • I would have preferred an Asian sauce with the Asian like cole slaw, although it was still very good for what it was.

Beetroot & Goat Cheese Salad – 5/6

  • Roasted Beets, Molten Marcella Goat Cheese $12
  • This was more like a deconstructed beet and Goat’s Cheese salad. It was very carefully and artistically presented. There were several components to the dish and it was something you find at a very upscale restaurant. This salad definitely deserves credit for execution and creativity.
  • I’m pretty sure the frisee was blanched overnight because the bitter edge was taken off.
  • It was a very unique salad and every component played a supporting role. None of them were enough on their own, but eaten together there was a very natural balance of sweet and tangy flavours.
  • The savoury creamy bites of melted brie like Marcella goat’s cheese just helped to bring it all together. It didn’t even seem like the focus of the dish, which I find it usually is.
  • I really which the small pearls tasted as good as they looked. It tasted like tangy passion fruit jellies, but they weren’t chewy and the just broke apart in a gelatin like texture which I wasn’t a fan of. I wish they had been juicy or more flavourful. They got lost in the salad but eaten with everything else they actually added a sweetness.
  • I could have used more more pine nut granola because there wasn’t enough for the overall dish and I missed that nuttiness.
  • It was served with an apple cider mousse that was very light, fluffy and airy. It added a sweet apple tang when eaten with everything else, but alone it was just tart.
  • Everything was a bit too easily seasoned so I did end up using a lot of the apple mouse to compensate.

Ravenswood Vitners Blend Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, 2008

A classic Californian Zinfandel, bright and richly flavoured $11

I decided to go with the Zinfandel for dinner since I was having bison. This was a delightful pairing. The wine swirled with a thickness and it was sweet and caramelized with a hint of spice at the end. It was very rich with what I think were plums, vanilla and spices. Delicious with bison or even lamb.

**Chef’s Special Lobster & Gnocchi – 6/6

  • This is one of the courses served in one of Chef’s Tasting Menus.
  • It was a potato gnocchi, Chanterelle mushrooms with braised lamb neck and sous vide butter lobster. Those words are music to any foodie’s ear.
  • This was the highlight of my entire meal. It was amazing, memorable and absolute perfection from beginning to end. I know it’s very un-lady like, but when something is very good I will lick the utensil and try to pick up whatever is left on the plate… and I totally did that here. I also used the bread to wipe every bit of sauce left on the plate. It was ridiculously good.

  • Oh god I want to eat my screen right now! It was beautiful!
  • Every single ingredient shined in this dish. It was almost hard to decipher what was the main because it was all equally delicious. Usually the lobster would have been the star of the show, and as much as it was, nothing else took away from it.
  • It was pieces of juicy, tender and buttery lobster soaked in a savoury thick rich and syrupy lamb reduction and then bites of juicy sweet, savoury and tangy mushrooms.
  • The neck of the lamb was melt in your mouth buttery and I’m not even a huge lamb fan. This one wasn’t gamey, which is great and it just shred apart like braised beef short ribs and the pieces disappeared within a couple chews.
  • It all seemed quite heavy and indulgent, but Chef was smart with the execution of his gnocchi.
  • The gnocchi was a lemon potato gnocchi that was actually made in house. I wasn’t too keen on the texture because it was more doughy than fluffy and I felt it was competing a bit with the lobster texture. However the flavour was undeniably tangy with fresh lemon juice and hits of lemon zest and then a strong scent of earthy lemony thyme to follow.
  • The tangy gnocchi helped cut threw the stronger meat flavours as well as the butter and it was the perfect compliment to a perfect dish.

**7 oz Double Smoked Wrapped Bison Tenderloin Bacon – 5.5/6

  • Sauteed vegetables, Garlic and Parmesan Fries, Roaring 40’s Blue Cheese butter $34 – Substitute Russet Potato Mash – $2, Add lobster tail 3oz $12
  • Again, there was nothing really to complain about with this dish. Brilliant execution, but in a way it was your somewhat standard “steak and potatoes”, although still excellent.
  • There wasn’t much room for creativity here, but each component was so well developed that I don’t think it could have gotten any better. However I have had bison done more creatively at the old So.Cial at Le Magasin and they did do a tres excellent job with it there too – see here.
  • Bison isn’t actually gamey and I’m really sensitive to game because I’m not a fan of it. To me it’s less gamey than lamb. It’s very lean so I wouldn’t go beyond medium, and I had mine medium rare and I probably could have even gone rare. It tastes like a beef tenderloin but slightly less juicy because it has less fat, it’s still tender though.
  • It was very smoky with a nice cut of smoky bacon, but even better is that I could taste the charred flavour from the searing. The searing is what gave the flavour and crust rather than the typical dry rub. I do like a dry rub, but this technique was so well executed that the simple salt and pepper seasoning was ideal.
  • The Blue Cheese butter was rich and very oily as expected, but it just absorbs right into the lean meat and before you know it you’ve eaten it all. The ratio of butter and Blue cheese was also ideal because the Blue Cheese didn’t overwhelm the bison flavour, yet I could still taste that strong Blue Cheese flavour.
  • Calling it the “Russet Potato Mash” is so underwhelming because it was actually a pommes puree! My favourite! I wanted a Yukon Gold mash at first, but had no complaints with Chef’s pommes puree. It was creamy, silky smooth, with probably loads of butter.
  • The demi glace was exceptional. It was tangy and sweet, thick and syrupy and one of the best demi glace reductions I’ve had. It was made with a veal stock and I could taste red wine and balsamic and the last time I’ve had a sauce reduced this well was surprisingly at Manhattan Restaurant at the Delta Inn Hotel & Suites in Vancouver – see here or So.Cial at Le Magasin – see here.
  • You won’t complain about anything in this except for maybe the size, but trust me, it’s very rich, heavy, and oily, so you will get full… mind you this was my 4th course and I still had room for dessert… but that’s me.

Lamb – n/a

  • Grilled & Marinated Lamb Chops, Braised Cheek, Roast Tomatoes, Pearl Cous Cous, Butternut Squash Puree, Fresh Mint, Braise Juices $27
  • The description sounded delicious and the presentation was again lovely.
  • The lamb did look a bit shriveled and small, but apparently it twas tender.
  • This wasn’t my dish, but I did try the Israeli cous cous.

  • The Israeli cous cous was cooked perfectly with a sweet and savoury au jus from the lamb. It would have been nice to have the butternut squash puree more incorporated into the dish, but it did add for beautiful presentation.

Desserts

If I’m going to be honest, which I always am, the desserts don’t come up to par with the savoury dishes. The desserts were more or less the expected hotel desserts that I usually find boring and somewhat “mass produced”. It was all a bit old fashioned so I didn’t think it suite the savoury menu. The pastry chef is a very sweet man, but I think the desserts could be better developed.

Dessert Platter

  • We ended up getting a mini dessert platter, so the portions will be different if ordered individually.

Figs & Peanut Butter – 4/6

  • Warm Chocolate Fig Cake with Almonds. Peanut butter Ice Cream, Marshmallow $10
  • This was definitely the most exciting thing on the dessert menu for me.
  • The fig cake was more like a chocolate chip cake and I could taste the texture of a few dried figs, but it was predominantly chocolate. It was very good and very moist, but I did want more of a Fig incorporation.
  • I think pears or walnuts would have been more appropriate than chocolate since the chocolate tends to overwhelm and make it a bit less sophisticated, especially since it’s chips too.
  • The peanut butter ice cream was fabulous, but warm cake with ice cream is an unbeatable combination.
  • It was also served with white chocolate Clodhoppers, well they called them “white chocolate rice krispies”, but they taste exactly like Clodhoppers.
  • The marshmallow topping was purely for visual affect and it was very tough and almost like a hockey puck. They’re made in house, but they just didn’t work.

Mayan Chocolate Cake – 2/6

  • Flourless Almond & Chocolate Cake, Orange Sherbet $10
  • Knowing me and my love for ice cream, it’s no surprise that I suggested eating the peanut butter ice cream with this chocolate cake.
  • Ice cream is good with everything including this.
  • I couldn’t enjoy it alone because it was too rich and just hard to swallow because it was so thick. It was almost purely the batter of almonds mixed with dark chocolate.
  • This was a very dense chocolate cake and it was more like a truffle fudge/brownie. It was the epitome of “hotel dessert” so I wasn’t a fan.
  • It was just and overwhelming amount of chocolate and the outside was crusty and hard.
  • A chocolate souffle would have been much more appropriate for a fine dining restaurant of this style.
  • The orange sherbet was too much of a contrast for this cake so I didn’t really see the match. Maybe if there was Grand Marnier in the cake there would have been more of a reason. Nonetheless raspberry would be more contemporary than orange.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream – 5/6

  • Ice Cream and Sorbets (Please ask your server for today’s selection) $7
  • I had to request for more peanut butter ice cream to finish off the fig cake.
  • The peanut butter ice cream is made in house and it’s delicious! It’s thick, rich, creamy and tastes like frozen peanut butter.
  • There’s no texture of actual peanuts, but it’s still very good and nutty in flavour.
  • I wanted a white chocolate chip Macadamia nut cookie to sandwich it with.
  • Actually even better would have been frozen bananas dipped in caramel and peanuts alternating with mini scoops of peanut butter ice cream balls dipped in dark chocolate! You heard it hear first! 😉

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