The Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu & Dine Out Vancouver

The Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu & Dine Out Vancouver

A Preview of the Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu & My Thoughts on Dine Out Vancouver

I was invited by the lovely Alisha Mann to the 2011 Dine-Out Vancouver preview of the Charm Modern Thai menu. For this reason I’m not going to write a regular post since it’s not representable of a regular night. I’m really putting myself out there, and may be shooting myself in the foot with this post, but I got to keep it real. I hope everyone who cares will understand. Anyways I’m going to get straight to the point… well of course through the delivery of my usual essay.

Am I “Charmed” by Charm or Dine Out Vancouver?

My Three Biases & Confessions…

1) I know the owner.

  • Yes, I know the owner of Charm Modern Thai and he’s a friend. Having said that I have the utmost respect for him as a person and very successful restaurateur of the Thai House Group. However I have to write this post as Follow Me Foodie rather than Mijune. Geez… I sound like Beyonce explaining her “pseudo-identity” as Sasha Fierce. :|

2) I don’t really participate in “Dine Out Vancouver”.

  • There’s nothing wrong with it, but contrary to what some may think, I’m actually not the target market for it.
  • I used to participate in the annual Dine Out Vancouver by trying 6-7 restaurants, but I haven’t in the last few years.
  • It doesn’t mean I won’t go to any, but I just don’t prefer to.
  • On the other hand, I can see why it’s popular. It’s fun, great for business and there are some good deals out there.

Why not? These are just some of my general thoughts on Dine Out Vancouver/set menus/prix fixe, but…

  • I don’t find it a proper representation of what the restaurant can really do and more often than not I find the restaurant is better on a regular night.
  • I find that the ingredients are substituted, or the quality or portions of the food is jeopardized to meet the $18, $28, $38 prix fixe menu.
  • I prefer ordering items I actually want to try rather than being limited to the prix fix menu, which are usually items that can easily sustain a volume of people.
  • I do like a good deal, but I’m willing to pay for food… I think that’s a bit obvious with this blog… I should have chosen collecting cans as a hobby.
  • I’m super into the food and don’t just “like to eat”, although I do really like to eat!
  • Again, it doesn’t mean I won’t attend any Dine Outs or try set menus (I mean I kind of just did), and I have enjoyed a few, but I just don’t go for the food as much as I do the company.

3) Charm Modern Thai serves MODERN Thai.

  • Don’t come expecting authentic Thai food because you won’t get it here. It’s not what it aims to do and it’s literally in the name.
  • It’s personal tastes, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Asian fusion, unless it’s Japanese fusion. For example modern Chinese doesn’t really work for me either. I do prefer the traditional stuff, however I appreciate innovative cooking and I can’t blame them for being different. I can only base it on whether it tasted good.

Now that that’s out of the way I feel much better. Honesty is the best policy and without your trust, there is no point for this blog. Well actually I’d still be writing it just because I’m passionate about food, but you do make it all worthwhile!

My thoughts on the Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Menu

I had a fantastic time dining with fellow social media users and foodies. However regarding the actual Dine Out menu, it more or less confirmed why I don’t really participate in Dine Out Vancouver.

I’ve been to Charm Modern Thai for special events, which still isn’t a proper representation of a regular night, but I did find what I’ve tried on those occasions more impressive. I enjoyed the appetizers and dessert more so than the entrees, but there are better dishes than what’s available on their Dine Out menu.

My suggestion is to visit Charm Modern Thai on a regular night and order from their regular menu. The dine out menu is a deal for $28 especially if it offers all the items you want to try, but if you’re truly in it for the food than I strongly recommend you to try it on a regular night before making your judgment.

Charm Modern Thai is a moderately priced Yaletown restaurant (mains under $20) and you’ll be spending an extra $6 MAX on a regular night ordering 3 courses of your choice with the standard portions. If you order the cheapest appetizer, main, and dessert you would only spend $20 too. (That’s the Asian in me, we calculate)

Disclosure: The portions shown are not representable of the portions you will receive at dine out. These were share plates for our table. I am writing this review only on the Charm Modern Thai Dine Out Menu and as if I was a paying customer.

Charm Modern Thai 2011 Dine Out Vancouver Menu

Sorry! Restaurant is now CLOSED.

$28/person
Excludes wine, tax, gratuity. Min 2 persons per table.
** – My personal choice.

Choice of One Appetizer:

**Tiger Prawn Satay

  • Marinated prawn satay sticks
  • Despite Tiger Prawns not being Ocean Wise, I would chose this. I’ll admit, this is one item that will be very difficult for me to give up, unlike shark’s fin. Hey it’s hard to be a “foodie” and abide to all the “food laws”.
  • These were delicious! Perfectly cooked and crunchy.
  • I could taste salt, black pepper, lemongrass and a predominant peanut and garlic in the marinade, yet the natural prawn flavour wasn’t overpowered.
  • Since it was grilled there was an added smokiness and the delicious marinade was intensified by the roasting.
  • Eaten with the creamy sweet, tangy, nutty, ginger and coconut Thai peanut dipping sauce it was delectable, but not even necessary.
  • They were served with mini garlic bread crostinis that were very buttery and garlicky, but a bit soggy.
  • This is actually not offered on the regular menu, but they do offer chicken satay sticks for $10.

Duck Sticks

  • Fried duck confit spring rolls served with a wok roasted chili sauce
  • I strongly feel that these are better when you come on a regular night and order them from the regular menu. See! This is the whole “dine out” thing I’m talking about! I just feel like they had more duck last time I tried them.
  • They’re long and thin cigar shaped spring rolls and stuffed with sweet and savoury sauteed shredded cabbage and carrot slaw. I couldn’t really taste the duck, although the duck I did have was sweet and tender.
  • It was served with a chili sauce that tasted like sweet plum sauce with a little heat.
  • Overall they were crispy and good, but it is just a duck spring roll.
  • Duck Sticks are $9 for 4 on the regular menu.

Rock Pepper with Garlic Prawns

  • Spice rubbed rock pepper with garlic prawns
  • This was my second favourite of the appetizers. It was enjoyable and the prawns were large and crispy. The shell wasn’t deep fried long enough though so I couldn’t really eat the shells… yes Asian people do this.
  • The prawns were sprinkled with a powdery topping of deep fried dried shrimp and garlic. I wish it stuck to the prawn shell more because I found them under salted, but very garlicky with a hint of pepper. The garlic was nutty but bordering on burnt so there was a slight bitterness.
  • They were good alone, but actually impressive with the slaw it was served with.
  • The slaw was a shredded green apple or green papaya tamarind slaw and it was crunchy and very refreshing and reminiscent of a saucier and richer Thai papaya salad. It was savoury sweet and tart and infused with fish sauce so there was a sharp savoury potent seafood flavour that’s excellent with the prawns and made them come alive.
  • Rock Pepper with Garlic Chicken Wings or Prawns is offered on the regular menu for $10

Choice of One Entree:

To be honest, I didn’t really care for the entrees and would rather have double all the appetizers. Actually I would rather pay extra and order an entree from the regular menu, which you should try anyways. I was lucky to have a delightful vegetarian at my table who did order the Panang Curry and I did try it. I found it was very good and better than the entrees we were given.

Green Tea Chicken

  • Pan seared green tea and lemongrass marinated organic chicken breast with orange and ginger glaze served with sauteed vegetables
  • This sounded more exciting than it actually was. Roasted chicken rather than pan seared would be nice.
  • I wouldn’t have guessed it was green tea without reading the description.
  • I wrote in my notebook “tastes like honey orange chicken coated with mixture of plum sauce and very sweet Thai chili sauce.”
  • I really think the base of the sauce is the same as the roasted chili plum sauce from the Duck Sticks appetizer.
  • The green tea and lemongrass marinade was more like a breaded paste than a crust and I’m not sure if it was intended to be this way, but I would have liked a crust. The pool of sauce just made the texture more soggy and paste-like though.
  • The veggies were just sauteed in soy sauce I think.
  • Overall the dish seemed like a fusion of Chinese-Thai rather than Japanese-Thai. The flavours were familiar and I can see why it seemed to be everyone’s favourite.
  • On the regular menu it’s $19, and I’m not sure how big the portion is.

Coconut Cream Scallops

  • Grilled Japanese jumbo scallops drizzled with coconut cream sauce served with seasonal vegetables
  • The flavours were actually not bad, but I prefer BC scallops compared to these. They weren’t that jumbo and the nature of these scallops were thin and flimsy. The two I had were gritty with a bit of sand, but only one other person out of 7 others I asked experienced the same thing.
  • I did love that the scallops were grilled on both sides, and they had an intense charcoal flavour and smoky taste, but they didn’t taste seasoned with salt or pepper.
  • The scallops were better and very good paired with the sweet coconut cream sauce drizzled on the veggies that actually came across as sweet tangy lemony yogurt. I liked the contrast of tang with the smoky flavours.
  • The scallops didn’t really hold onto the curry sauce which was very thin and seemed packaged without the actual basil leaves and texture of fresh pureed lemongrass and ginger. It was still aromatic and quite sweet with coconut milk and the tang of lime juice, but overall it was just okay.
  • It was served on a bed of tender sauteed zucchini, squash and broccoli.
  • On the regular menu it’s $19 and it needs a starch to soak up the sauce. I am really picky on my scallop dishes, just because I’ve had amazing ones for the same price.

Salmon Linguine

  • Pan seared salmon with linguine in a medium spiced Thai green curry
  • This was probably the most Westernized of all, but not to say it’s bad… sweet and sour pork is Westernized, but doesn’t make it bad.
  • The linguine was soft and past al dente and the curry sauce was a bit soupy and not thick enough to stick to the noodles. I wish it was more creamy, but I did taste the strong aromatic flavours of lemongrass and basil, although I couldn’t see or taste the texture of actual spices and herbs.
  • Overall it was on the sweeter side but it did have some heat, but was mild-medium for me.
  • The salmon was fully cooked but not dry with a crispy charcoal exterior, but I just prefer my salmon more on the rare side.
  • It was tossed with some tender sauteed zucchini, green beans and bamboo shoots, but overall it was a “do it at home” dish… which you could literally do at home because Charm sells their own packaged curry sauce through the Thai House brand.
  • This isn’t offered on the regular menu, but they do have a Spicy Linguine with Tiger Prawns for $13.50.

Choice of One Dessert:

Chocolate Chili Torte

  • It was a very rich and dense chocolate torte that was almost like a large slice of chocolate truffle. It was a bit much for me, but a couple bites is very enjoyable.
  • It’s bitter sweet chocolate and it’s actually not that sweet with a noticeable salty taste to it. The chili heat sneaks up on you and comes afterward. It’s not necessarily spicy, but there’s obvious heat that does linger.
  • The raspberry coulis was a nice contrast, and the won ton crisps were a bit random since it didn’t really go with the tart, but I enjoyed them alone.
  • On the regular menu it’s $4.

Vanilla Bean Tapioca

  • I actually thought it was a coconut tapioca pudding and didn’t know there was supposed to be vanilla bean in it. I couldn’t taste the vanilla. The red thing was a Maraschino Cherry… ick, I don’t like those.
  • It was served warm and Thai style. Personally I prefer this dessert cold, sometimes served like this at Chinese restaurants.
  • Compared to most versions this was very creamy, ultra rich and thick, and made with lots of coconut cream. It wasn’t actually that sweet though, which is good since it’s so rich already.
  • There was no toasted coconut in it, which would have been nice, but this was still good and smooth with chewy tapioca pearls.
  • Just an interesting fact, but the authentic Thai version actually uses a lot of salt… which I don’t like, so I did like this modern version better.
  • On the regular menu it’s $4.

**Homemade Thai Tea Ice Cream

  • More mama!
  • I love ice cream and Thai Tea so I asked for 2nd’s before I even took my first bite, and then I ate someone else’s as my 3rd bowl of the night. I was pounding this back like no tomorrow.
  • It was just as tres excellent as the Vietnamese coffee gelato from Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie.
  • It was ultra creamy, smooth and rich, a bit chewy in texture and sweetened with condensed milk. It tasted literally like authentic pulled Thai tea. Heaven!
  • I literally had to walk away from the 3rd bowl.
  • On the regular menu it’s $4.

**Follow Me Foodie Tasty Twist

  • I’ll assume you’re not dining alone, but I strongly suggest one of you to order the Thai Tea Ice Cream, and the other to order the Vanilla Bean Tapioca. Excuse my French, but holy sh!t… I did it again! So delicious together!

This is a photo of the vegetarian Panang Curry, which was the better entree that was ordered off the regular menu. I actually really enjoyed the few bites I tried. The curry sauce was much more complex and homemade compared to the curry sauces from the Dine Out Vancouver menu.

A carbonated “Minty Water” is also on the menu that was very refreshing and light.

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Charm Modern Thai on Urbanspoon

25 Comments

  • Kristen says:

    Hey there! Yum.. I really need to get in and try Charm… I keep hearing about it and keep thinking about it, now I just need to DO it.

    If you’re not into the discount time of Dine Out, you should definitely check out some of the events that are happening this year. Dine Out is definitely evolving into more of a food and wine “festival” and it’s only going to get bigger in the years to come! Which I think is awesome! Not sure if you’ve seen them already, but there are events listed on the Dine Out site: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/visitors/dining/dineout.php

  • Anita says:

    Hey Mijune!
    Love your post. I don’t go DineOut any more for the same reasons you outlined above. Although I still go to some because some of my friends invite me to go I make substitutions if necessary or order a-la-carte just to make it interesting.
    Don’t you just love mixing desserts??? It’s like heaven in your mouth! :)
    I better just go to this place and order the desserts and eat! HAHAH

  • Mijune says:

    @Kristen – Yes! You should definitely Charm a try! I have so many restaurants on my radar that I just need to GO TO as well lol. Thanks for the link and I do love wine/food festivals so I’m excited to check them out! :)

    @Anita – Thank you so much for the support! It was really hard to write, but I just had to be honest. I agree with you, and if I go to Dine Out I go for the company, not really the food. xo

  • Kristen says:

    Ps. I think one important thing to note about Dine Out is that it was created and exists to create business for restaurants during a very typically dead and slow time in the industry i.e January/February. While not everyone agrees with the whole discount concept, without it, we could be looking at a lot of restaurants really struggling during this time (even more so than some already are in this crazy economic crisis world we live in) and potentially more restaurant closures.

    Pps. If you can somehow get yourself a seat on one of the Secret Supper Soiree tours you should – word on the street is that it’s really cool! I think they’re sold out, but they might have a waiting list!

  • Nina says:

    I’m split 50/50 on DineOut. I’m very picky when I choose a Dineout restaurant and do tons of research. I always compare the Dineout menu to their regular one–compare items and compare prices, do calculations, look at the ingredients. It’s painstaking, but it means that I’ve never had a bad Dineout experience. Best ever was Chambar–it was my first time there and I’d been wanting to try their mussels–and they were on the Dineout menu–yay! We had such a great experience, the food was amazing, of course and our waiter was fantastic. I became a lifelong Chambar fan because of it!

  • Mijune says:

    @Kristen – yup! I was sure not to overlook the point you mentioned as I understand that as well hence my “On the other hand, I can see why it’s popular. It’s fun, great for business and there are some good deals out there.” note. I would just rather support the business by ordering off their regular menu and paying extra if I have to :)

    And thank you for the PPS! I have been to one secret supper and it was okay, but I should try others.

    @Nina – You just named one of my favourite restaurants.. and I rarely have a “favourite”. I admit, Chambar is a deal for dine out since it is quite pricey.. and I also went to their dine out 5 years ago and became a repeat customer that way :)…. that was one of my few good experiences I was referring to as well! Although I admit I liked them even more on a regular night.

  • Cameron W. says:

    I love Dine-Out but always compare the Dine-Out menu to the regular menu. If the regular menu is only a couple of dollars more expensive, I don’t go during Dine-Out.

    On the other hand, if it’s much cheaper I go during Dine-Out even if the ingredients aren’t as nice or the portions aren’t as large as it’s the only way I can afford to go to some of these restaurants.

  • Mijune says:

    @Cameron W – Your comment is fair and I respect it. I understand that a lot of these restaurants can be hard to afford on a regular night so I get where you’re coming from. However that all goes back to my note “I do like a good deal, but I’m willing to pay for food… ” – just a matter of personal spending habits I think. I do hope you try your most favourite restaurant on a regular night though and you might be even more surprised :)

    Thank you for your note.

  • Kristen says:

    @Cameron & Nina – totally agree. If people do their research and check out and compare the menus before hand then it’s likely that they will have a really great Dine Out experience. Typically, Dine Out menus are supposed to offer approximately a 25% discount on their regular menu (worked out over an average of all dishes on their menu), so keep this in mind when you’re looking for a great deal. There are a lot of restaurants out there offering great quality food, great portions and GREAT prices.

    I like this recent article from a the lovely Claudia Kwan who had a restaurant ‘rediscovery’ as part of Dine Out, which is kind of nice! So there are good experiences to be had, you just need to dig through the huge number of restaurants to find the gems! http://polymediathlete.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/taking-a-nu-approach-to-dine-out-vancouver/

    Unfortunately I won’t be dining at any restaurants during this year’s Dine Out, however I am going to be attending some of the events to get my culinary fix!

  • Kristen says:

    Ps. Not to say that you aren’t lovely too Mijune, because you are :)

  • Mijune says:

    @Kristen – Hi! lol aww thanks so much! And so are you for giving me your feedback! I appreciate the link and I do love THAT Claudia Kwan too ;)

    It seems like Claudia found some good deals, but at the same time the post looks like a media dine around… which naturally will be slightly biased. Mind you I do attend media events myself, this one here at Charm can be an example not to say the least. I just wonder how Claudia would feel about the food on a regular night at the regular price as well.

    I can see how Dine Out can offer great deals, but I still don’t have much interest since the food still wouldn’t be representable of a regular night. Thus it doesn’t become really appropriate for this blog. I mean could you imagine if I tried something from Dine Out and then didn’t like it and then wrote about it? That would definitely not be fair to the restaurant.

    Therefore, yes good deals can be found, but if you’re in it for the food more so than the deal… than I say just go on a regular night. Thank you though for commenting! I LOVE feedback!

  • Alex says:

    Hi Mijune

    My thoughts in reponse to your comments.

    # I find that the ingredients are substituted, or the quality or portions of the food is jeopardized to meet the $18, $28, $38 prix fixe menu.

    This is tired rhetoric that people seem to spout every year when their favourite restaurant is suddenly crowded. The chefs put together a menu for a price as they do with their everyday menus. No one ever promised you would be getting a $60 meal for $38, the restarants still have cost structures. In saying that they don’t pump out crap either, no chef worth his salt is going to lower their standards just because they have a smaller budget to work with. They will put the best thing possible on to the plate within the bounds of the budget. That is what happens everyday in restaurants.

    “I prefer ordering items I actually want to try rather than being limited to the prix fix menu, which are usually items that can easily sustain a volume of people”

    Well perhaps you rarely eat tasting menus or at many top end fine dining restaurants. Price fixe menus are all many top end restraunts serve. Also many of these restaurants also do lower priced price fixe lunches to get customers in the door. By your logic you would also be accusing a restuarant like EMP in New York of sacrificing quality etc by offering a discounted price fixe lunch. I have eaten there and many other similar restautants, it is not the case, so why would it be the case anywhere else?

    Also if you ask any chef they will tell you that having a smaller list of dishes to focus on in an evening it is easier for them in a service. This is more likely to result in a higher quality as they are producing the same dishes over and over and are better prepped rather than jumping around with 10 plus dishes on the go at once. A busy night with a chef cooking a price fixe is defnitely going to be better than a busy night serving a full menu.

    Dine Out is the closest thing that Vancouver has to a food festival so I am more than happy to support it. For a food centric city like Vancouver a large scale food festival is definitely lacking. I know not everyone loves it but hearing the same tired comment regurgitated from a vast minority every year gets a little tiresome. Restaurant owners like Dine Out because it gives them a great boost in what can be a quiet month and also gives them a good PR opportunity. Servers may grumble here and there but in the end they like the extra cash it brings in that they would be without in January. It does mean more work for the chefs which is perhps not always welcomed but for others it is chance to cook for a wider audience. Everywhere is packed out so it seems the public also loves Dine Out. Looks like everyone who is important to the industry is behind it and benefits from it in some way.

    Hopefully you can see my point of view.

    Thanks for asking for my comments.

  • Mijune says:

    Hi Alex,

    First off, thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Secondly, out of curiosity and stating biases, do you have any associations with any restaurants?

    Regarding your notes…

    Your comment: “… hearing the same tired comment regurgitated from a vast minority every year gets a little tiresome…”
    - Just because people still complain about expensive gas prices, doesn’t make them any less valid. Once upon a time the vast minority said that the Earth was round… were they wrong?
    - Also, I’m not complaining as much as I am just stating why I personally chose not to partake in the event.
    - Dine Out is supposed to be a deal, that’s one of the points. That’s why the $38 for a $60 meal idea is one of the highlights that attract people, the restaurants can make up costs by the volume of people they end up getting. Also the point is to swallow the costs of food because the restaurant should be investing in the potential of customers returning.

    Your comment: “…rarely eat tasting menus or at many top end fine dining restaurants…”
    - I did claim I rarely eat tasting menus, but not true that I don’t fine dine… you can click on my fine dining section of my blog here: http://www.followmefoodie.com/category/cuisine/fine-dining/
    - Price fix menus at fine dining restaurants are made so that it makes it more affordable for people to go… it offers a deal. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it does offer a deal.
    - Also price fix menus at some of these restaurants have been especially created for Dine Out, otherwise they would not have existed.

    - I do agree that a smaller list of dishes could result in higher quality, but it also could result in poorer quality.

    - I never said that Dine Out wasn’t good for business… in fact I stated that it was. I said “On the other hand, I can see why it’s popular. It’s fun, great for business and there are some good deals out there.”

    - Your comment: “Looks like everyone who is important to the industry is behind it and benefits from it in some way.”
    - Whether or not one is “important to the industry” we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

    Thanks for leaving your comments on my blog, I do appreciate another perspective and see some of your points.

  • Alex says:

    Hi Mijune,

    Hope I didn’t come across with too much of a rant but I am opinionated as you know;)

    I do work in the industry here and have done so for about 10 years in a few different countries and roles. If I have any bias it is from a perspective where I am close contact with servers, bartenders, chefs, owners and customers on a nightly basis.

    My point about the $38 for a $60 meal is that Dine Out has never said that is what you are getting. You are paying $38 for a $38 dollar meal. I think the issue is that people have got it into their heads that they are getting an expensive meal at a huge discount but that is not a part of the marketing at all. Food costs are food costs and the $ value of the marketing potential of dine out is not enough to offer a $60 meal for $38.

    My point still stands in regards to price fixe menus. They don’t offer a “deal” they just offer a lower price than their Al La Carte or tasting menus. The costings remain similar so it is not as though you are getting an expensive meal for a lower price. It is a meal they have prepared within that price point. Yes they have been created for Dine Out but again I don’t see a link as to why a specially created menu results in lower quality.

    “- I do agree that a smaller list of dishes could result in higher quality, but it also could result in poorer quality. ”

    How? I just don’t get the logic here. I don’t know any chef who would tell you that cooking a set menu would reduce quality. Maybe I am missing something here.

    Of course opinions make the world go around. I just feel that there are a few self proclaimed foodies around who make out like Dine Out is for the non regular dining public and not those regular diners who are passionate about food. I disagree with this strongly.

    Hope you decide to eat out during Dine Out and have some good experiences.

    Also saw you dropped into Tsui Hang Village tonight. I would love to see a 3am Tsui Hang Dine Out special, that would be hilarious. Courses matched with pots of “special tea”.

  • Mijune says:

    Hi Alex,

    I think you’re bold and you give me a challenge, therefore I like your comments. I’m an independent blogger so anything goes on here… as long as it’s not rude… so all is fair game!

    Thanks for clarifying your bias. On another note, my post wasn’t intended to TRASH Dine Out Vancouver. It simple explains why I chose not to partake it in. It’s just not right for me or for the purpose of this blog… especially for the purpose of this blog. Like I said previously in a comment, if I had a bad Dine Out experience and judged the restaurant on that special “Dine Out menu” and then blogged about it… that’s so unfair.

    Also, my whole post encourages people to try restaurants on a regular night and not let “Dine Out” determine what the restaurant can do. I still don’t believe a “Dine Out” menu/experience is a proper representation of what a restaurant can do.

    Your comment:”Food costs are food costs and the $ value of the marketing potential of dine out is not enough to offer a $60 meal for $38.
    - I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. I still think Dine Out is out to set a deal. When times are dead and business is needed you need to make deals to get customers in. Part of the reason dine out is so special IS because of the deal.

    Your comment: “They don’t offer a “deal” they just offer a lower price than their Al La Carte or tasting menus.”
    - Lower price = deal to me. A lot of the times the a la carte is even cheaper too.
    - Also you can see Kristen’s comment: “Typically, Dine Out menus are supposed to offer approximately a 25% discount on their regular menu… ” – That’s right from Tourism Vancouver.

    My comment: “- I do agree that a smaller list of dishes could result in higher quality, but it also could result in poorer quality. ”
    - You’re right, I didn’t phrase that well. I don’t know if I know how to say it either. What I meant to say is that the price fix menu CAN lead to “mass produced food”.

    Your comment: “…self proclaimed foodies around who make out like Dine Out is for the non regular dining public and not those regular diners who are passionate about food.”
    - People aren’t less or more of a “foodie” for doing or not doing Dine Out. Again, it’s just not for me. However I talked to the managers of 3 dine out restaurants and they said the return rate is 15% give or even take… do these represent regular diners? I’m not sure.
    - I strongly believe if you are truly passionate about food you will see value in spending the extra money at a restaurant on a regular night whether or not “Dine Out” exists.
    - I do plan on eating out during Dine Out, but I will order from the regular menu if I can… or just dine at restaurants that can’t afford to participate in the Dine Out program. For me Dine Out will be for the company more so than the food.

    - LOL thanks for the follow! I was definitely not intoxicated enough to enjoy Tsui Hang. I had a bite of Shanghai Noodles and Mongolian Beef and peaced out!

  • Kristen says:

    Sorry Mijune, I need to clarify my point above about the 25%…..in my flurry of writing, I didn’t really convey it correctly. The 25% discount figure is actually to just work out what menu price category people are to fall in – this is actually just a guideline and restaurants are allowed to choose whichever category they want to fall in.

    It doesn’t mean that the menu they are offering for Dine Out has to be a 25% discount on regular meal because that would mean the restaurants will be running at a loss, which is definitely not the aim!

    I guess it’s too late to retract my earlier statement, but I just wanted to clarify that aspect! :)

  • Mijune says:

    Hi Kristen! Thanks for taking the time to clarify, that’s always a good thing!

    Just my thoughts in general, but every time a discount is given a business is in a way still taking a “loss”, which can be seen as an “investment” in either promoting future business or just a necessary cost in order to make room for new inventory.

    I know it’s not Dine Outs aim to have restaurants losing money, but in order to create some sort of “deal” they have to create some sort of “discount”. I mean that’s part of the Dine Out spark for many and I can’t blame them.

    If Dine Out really offered no discount and just put menus out there that fit the budget then I really don’t see the difference between “Dine Out” and a regular night with a set menu… so I really do hope that restaurants are in fact giving discounts… even if it means taking a “loss” which is supposed to be seen as an investment.

    Thanks for commenting again!

  • alex says:

    Hi Mijune,

    I was trying to challenge you and others. I think sometimes the blogging and social media world can be a bit like preaching to the converted, and it can be healthy to have some digression. I do see people repeating what they have heard others say about Dine Out without actually having specific examples of restaurants etc where they think the food has been bad as a result of Dine Out. I think often the poor quality is much more a result of a restaurant not being to handle the volume of customers rather than lower quality ingredients etc. I don’t mean to come across as rude, just passionate, so I apoloogize if I overstep.

    “If Dine Out really offered no discount and just put menus out there that fit the budget then I really don’t see the difference between “Dine Out” and a regular night with a set menu”

    The difference is that over 200 restaurants have a set menu paired with BC VQA wines and that you can experience a sampling of food from a chef at a lower price point than the establishment usually offers. Why do people have to feel like they are getting something for free/cheap? Is that really the mentality of this city where people won’t open their wallets unless they think they are getting something much cheaper than it should be?

    I think the perception that people are getting something that is $60 value for $38 etc is not reflective of what is offered, although this can vary across the 200 plus restaurants. I believe Dine Out should be, and I believe is, marketed as a way to sample the variety of food Vancouver has to offer. Restaurants are putting together price fixe menus at an approachable price so diners can sample what they are about and enjoy multiple experience during the period. As I said before this is as close as Vancouver has to a food festival which fits in with the sampling theory. If people have the perception that it is not this and instead is a discount free for all then I think it will hinder the concepts evolution.

    Hopefully over the next few years Dine Out will blossom into a true food festival which I think would be fantastic for Vancouver as a foodie destination.

    It would be interesting to see where you eat during Dine Out and if you think the food suffers as a result for you to name the establishment. I think that without examples, criticism tends to fall flat.

    Happy Dining!

  • Mijune says:

    Hi Alex!

    Thanks again for stopping by again and leaving your valued feedback. Talking to myself can get boring. We’re both passionate people that’s the only reason this convo has kept up so long lol.

    Your comment: “The difference is that over 200 restaurants have a set menu… at a lower price point than the establishment usually offers.”
    - I agree. But I was more referring to the idea of one restaurant having a set menu that wasn’t offering any discount at all. In that case, there would be no difference between Dine Out menu and regular night.

    Your comment: Why do people have to feel like they are getting something for free/cheap? Is that really the mentality of this city where people won’t open their wallets unless they think they are getting something much cheaper than it should be?
    - I’m with you on this one. Unfortunately it’s human nature to like free/cheap stuff… people work hard for their money. I won’t lie, I love free stuff, but at the same time I do spend. Eating is a necessity, but dining out and going to food event is not… that’s a luxury.
    - Also, it makes me sad to say, but more often than not ppl won’t open up their wallets.. here’s an example: I hosted “Vancouver’s 1st Cupcake Challenge” a FREE event with FREE cupcakes and 1100 people came out. I then launched a gelato event where I sold tickets and about 50 ppl showed up.
    - The fact is, not everyone is a “foodie” or sees value in spending $$$ on going out to eat, so for those ppl it is the mentality to open their wallets when they are getting something for cheaper. However I do agree if Dine Out means getting THOSE ppl out there… then yes, I think it’s great. BUT I still hope they try these establishments on a non Dine Out night.

    Dine Out as a festival and celebration on food is something I hope to see as well. I’m rooting for it to go this way as well. I just think “Dine Out” is not my thing, but the other event offered during this time may be… on the other hand every day is a celebration of food for me.

    Your comment: It would be interesting to see where you eat during Dine Out and if you think the food suffers as a result for you to name the establishment. I think that without examples, criticism tends to fall flat.
    - This post is my example :) I mean I don’t think Charm has bad food, but it’s just I’ve had better on a regular night from the regular menu. That’s why I stated “I am writing this review only on the Charm Modern Thai Dine Out Menu…”
    - Here’s another example of “set menus” not working for me
    - http://www.followmefoodie.com/2010/12/le-gavroche-%E2%80%93-review-2-christmas-eve-dinner/

    Happy Dining to you to Alex!

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