EBO Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby – Revisited

Restaurant: EBO Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby
Cuisine: West Coast/Pacific Northwest/Pacific Rim/Fusion/Fine Dining
Last visited: March 11, 2011
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 – Review 1

**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. Albacore Tuna and EBO Chocolate P Nut Butter Bar.

One of my best dining experiences in Metro Vancouver was at EBO Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby last year – see here. I was so impressed with the food and culinary talent of Executive Chef Dan Craig that I included it in my 2010 Follow Me Foodie Favourites, BEST of, Memories & Fullest I’ve Ever Been Moments! It’s a hidden gem in Burnaby and it definitely trumps any negative connotations people have with “hotel restaurant” or “hotel food”.

When Sherman and I were invited to select the restaurants to participate in Vancouver’s 1st Foodie Feast, a charity even we’re helping organize, it was with no hesitation that I put EBO on the list. I’m more than happy to support the restaurants I believe in, and essentially there’s no difference from me giving it a positive post on my blog. With a mutual agreement, Sherman and I headed to our tasting at EBO Restaurant to sample the new menu for Spring 2011, while securing the tasting menu for our event.

If you’ve never been to the EBO, it’s a pretty stellar restaurant in terms of food and atmosphere. The room is arranged in a manner that accommodates group dining as well as intimate dining. From booths to round tables, to long table dining, it really offers an ambiance for any special occasion.

Okay I really can’t hide my excitement!! I must say that I was really anticipating the tasting for EBO Restaurant! From the presentation to the execution I’m always impressed with what comes out of that kitchen. On my first visit it seemed like West Coast flavours made with French technique, but this time the items spoke of Euro Asian and Pacific Northwest cuisine. The movement towards Asian ingredients and flavours as opposed to the more traditional European flavours from last time was unexpected, but I was curious to see how it would be delivered and interpreted.

I must admit that I was a bit hesitant on the direction since Asian fusion can be hard for me to appreciate. I find it’s a type of cuisine that almost only works with Japanese food because with every other Asian cuisine the idea of finding it better for cheaper elsewhere always comes to mind. The idea of authenticity also sneaks up, but given that it’s contemporary fusion food, it’s not really fair to compare. On the other hand it would be fair to draw comparisons of restaurants of a similar style.

From what I tried on this occasion I would definitely think it was an Asian fusion restaurant, but it’s not. Therefore the concept of “Asian fusion” could be perhaps nailed better at other restaurants that actually specialize in this type of cuisine. However what made these particular courses unique was the incorporation of molecular gastronomy, which I’m extremely infatuated with at the moment.

Although I was more impressed with the food I had last time, I was definitely not disappointed by what I tried this time. It’s just my level of expectations are so high for this restaurant that it’s only natural to expect better with every visit, although I know it sounds a bit unfair. So with the wonderful photos from Sherman, I now introduce to you a few dishes that will be offered on their Spring 2011 menu. (Items available early May, or upon request now).

On the table:

**Albacore Tuna5/6

  • Rare Rice Crusted Albacore Tuna Loin, Asparagus and Serrano Ham, Avocado Puree, Soya Gel $24
  • Officially available early May, or upon request now.
  • This was delicious and deliciously presented.
  • This is the actual serving size and it will be offered as an appetizer, although I find it is pricey for an appy and it’s not enough for an entree.
  • I loved the idea of the rice crackers being used as the crust rather than the usual sesame or black pepper, although that’s still good.
  • The rice crackers just added more of a savoury crunch and I think it would have been nice to have a mixture of dried seaweed and sesame in it as well. It did have a little sprinkle of Maldon salt (I think), which just enhanced the freshness of the fish while waking up my palate.
  • The avocado puree was a very Californian twist and it added a nice creamy sweet  buttery richness to the already buttery tuna, and then the contrasting crunch was excellent.
  • The soya gel was extremely potent and it was like a burst of fluid thick Teriyaki explosion when eaten with the tuna. It was tangy sweet and savoury and it added the perfect flavour to complement the richness of the avocado and tuna. I could taste some shallot and garlic infusion and I think some pickled garlic or ponzu was used for the extra tang.
  • Although I loved the molecular gastronomy of soy fluid gel, I do think it needed another liquid aspect that was more fluid than the gel and puree. I think some wasabi oil would have done it. It didn’t need anymore salt, but it was just missing some moisture.
  • The asparagus wrapped in cured ham was classic. It was fresh and tender pencil thin asparagus with the salty smoky bite of crispy cured ham that was like prosciutto.
  • I’m actually really happy to see the rice cracker crust idea. I tried it once with added coconut and cashews for a crab cake Christmas dinner in 2009 – see here (mine doesn’t look nearly as nice though lol)

Beef Shortrib “Galbijim” 4/6

  • Slow Cooked Beef Shortrib, Sweet Daikon, Kimchi, and Sesame $26
  • Officially available early May, or upon request now.
  • This is inspired by a very traditional Korean beef stew that’s similar to a French beef bourguignon.
  • It was a very Western take, but it was still quite delicious, although I wasn’t feeling the kimchi component or the rice.
  • The beef was incredibly tender, saucy and juicy and it required no knife because it shred away so easily with just a fork. I could have used a spoon.
  • The beef rib was boneless and it was braised in savoury, thick, rich, syrupy sauce that carried a sweet finish and a slight tang. It was almost Japanese in flavour with what I think was mirin (rice vinegar + sugar) and it was intense and well reduced like a demi glace. The natural beef taste was still not overpowered and it was freaking amazing.
  • The Kimchi was homemade, but I’m super picky on kimchi. It was very bitty and finely minced and I missed the actual texture and crunch of cabbage leaves.
  • It was just a very Western style kimchi with carrots, which is unusual, and a few other vegetables. I don’t mind the new ingredients, but the execution wasn’t that great.
  • It wasn’t fermented enough and it was a bit bitter, although it did have a nice spice and tang.
  • If given an authentic Kimchi, like even one from the local Korean market, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. It wasn’t bad, and it did add flavour and spice, but I could have done without it.
  • To be honest the rice was very mushy and I wasn’t a fan of that part either.
  • It was served with braised carrots and potatoes which is classic with braised beef, but it spoke more of Fall and Winter than it did Spring, and it was a Spring menu. I think carrots, shiitake mushrooms and daikon would be a nice alternative for something lighter.
  • A traditional Korean Galbijim would be more stew like but this was still great.
  • It was served with some sesame powder on the side which I couldn’t taste because the flavour wasn’t strong enough. Now if it was the sesame powder from The Apron in Richmond (used for their Side Strip Prawn) then it would have been over the top! This sesame powder was just a bit bland, not nutty or very savoury.
  • The pickled daikon or “sweet daikon” was a great palate cleanser and tangy sweet bite in between. I love a garnish that serves a purpose.
  • I do find it slightly pricey, although there is a lot of labour. I think$24 would be reasonable for fine dining.

**EBO Chocolate P Nut Butter Bar 5/6

  • Peanut butter chocolate bar, passion fruit gelée, cinnamon honey comb and peanut butter ice cream $9
  • Officially available early May, or upon request now.
  • I always love these chocolate bars and they’re becoming more and more popular.
  • It was almost like a deconstructed gourmet and soft creamy Crunchie bar.
  • It’s a rich, decadent and creamy chocolate bar but the peanut butter ice cream gives it a refreshing aspect.
  • The bottom crust is made with crispy hazelnut like wafers that are tightly compacted so there’s also a nice crunch which contrasts the creaminess.
  • The cinnamon honey comb “crunch” was a great nibbler on the side, and it wasn’t break your teeth hard, which I liked. It doesn’t have much of a cinnamon flavour though.
  • The passion fruit gelée gave it a tangy aspect to help break up the flavours and overall there was a nice balance of textures and play on sweetness.
  • The homemade peanut butter ice cream is deliciously rich, thick and creamy, but the plate needed more because the potion of chocolate to peanut was off. I lost that “peanut butter” aspect and some real toasted peanuts would have been nice to see.
  • If you like peanut butter and chocolate I’d also recommend the Peanut Butter Hedgehog at Giovane Cafe + Bakery.
  • One of my best desserts ever was actually very similar to this – see Peanut Butter – milk chocolate gianduja, peanut honeycomb parfait.

“Smoking” Cocktail (Martini)

  • 1/2 oz $5.75  single $9  double $13
  • Served with a piece of dry ice.
  • This is a possible drink pairing for the EBO Chocolate P Nut Butter Bar.
  • EBO Martini – 4/6
    • 1/2 oz $5.75  single $9  double $13
    • This is their signature drink, hence the purple.
    • It’s a sweet cocktail, fruity and candy like and tastes exactly like a Porn Star shooter.
  • Okanagan Pear and Apple “Orchard” Martini – 4/6
    • 1/2 oz $5.75  single $9  double $13
    • This was sweet, but not as sweet as the EBO martini and it’s also quite tangy and refreshing.
    • Pear could be stronger, but it was still there and it had a nice apple tang and balance.
    • It paired well with the already sweet chocolate bar and offset the sweetness.
    • The passion fruit jelly from the dessert was a nice complement for the drink.
    • The pear and apple also matched the honeycomb crunch which reminded me of a familiar baked apple and pear crumble, in an odd way.
    • Great on its own or with a dessert.

    [geotag]

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17 Comments

  • Bow says:

    Mushy rice ? what ??? great rice is hard to do; some of the finest rice I’ve eaten was at Persian and Szechuan restaurants. Those shortribs are good BUT $26. ? Pretty pricey for the size of this portion.The Albacore looks great…the Brits you know were the first to invent seared tuna(think it came out in the ’80’s) like very rare steak; everybody else in Europe was thoroughly cooking it. The location of EBO is great for fine dining ‘cos of the size of the place and it’s out of the way, ergo: rarely need a reservation. Nice that the food you blog about inspires you make minor adjustments in a desire to make it better; in the past people got stuck in a style of cooking learned from their cooking school(ie. the George Brown school of cooking in Ontario which cranks out uninspired cooks for the hotel industry. They make “hotel” food, unadventurous slop). People of today are adventurous in their eating and demand more of their dining , or they elsewhere(putting out the same tired menu at high prices=slow death, ie. the William Tell…”continental” food). Now brilliant execution, great service, and consistency, even at high prices= La Belle Auberge. Good food at reasonable prices, even with a limited menu, plus a connection with your customers ensures a long profitable relationship= ie. Aki’s, the Afghan Horseman,or Koko, they been around for a long time.

  • Linda says:

    i love molecular gastronomy too – i get to work with tons of interesting ingredients at work and sometimes i’m even amazed at what some products can do 🙂

    mmmm.. the albacore tuna looks so appetizing, the presentation is beautiful especially the asparagus wrapped in ham – if it was made with both white and green asparagus, it would totally look like a mosaic – definitely a piece of food art 🙂 i wish they made this into an entree size, that would definitely be awesome!

    the galbijim looks luscious but too bad the rice was mushy – major no no in my books since cooking rice is such a fundamental and basic item. i love that there’s daikon in this dish though – yum!

    the desserts and the cocktails seem reasonably priced – the other entrees aren’t too bad either if you consider the prices at other fine dining establishments. plus with great execution and quality products, i wouldn’t mind too much – especially if i was coming here for a special occasion 🙂 thanks for the great review mijune, i will definitely check this place out the next time i’m in the area! i hope it changes my opinion of hotel restaurants too! 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – you seriously teach me something new with every comment you leave!! thank you! Had no idea the Brit’s invented ahi tuna!!! Crazy! It’s almost claimed by the Japanese nowadays. The presentation for that… wow.. Chef Dan really went all out. It was excellent.

    Yes I agree that the prices are a bit steep for these dishes as well, but there are a lot of components that may take longer to prepare. Like the soya gel. Maybe they will adjust the prices before the official launch? Let’s hope. I still have to visit Afghan Horseman. Soon!!

    @Linda – Omg are you in the culinary industry?!?! I had no idea!!!

    -Yes it would just need a starch and I’d be happy to have it as an entree 🙂
    -Yea I’m really hoping that rice was a one time oopsie!

    Actually hotel restaurant are really stepping up their game in the last 3 years. There’s been a significant change and 2 of them are now part of my favourites in Vancouver. EBO is one and the other is one of my favourites of all time (BOLD statement) is The Apron in Richmond. My post for that is I swear 5000 words for it. SO inspired. Thanks for commenting as usual 🙂

  • Linda says:

    🙂 not really on the culinary side but I have a food science degree and I work in the food industry doing research and development – i tweak and create recipes and improve and help invent new products for my company 🙂

    mmmm you like the only two restaurants in the GVRD that have molecular gastronomy items on their menus lol 🙂 i actually really like YEW too – the wineroom is amazing and the desserts are so yummy!

  • Mijune says:

    @linda – ohhh my cousin does the same thing as you!!! Lol we’ll I also like a lot of non-molecular gastronomy like Chambar, Les Faux and hole in the walls… but EBO and Apron and relatable I think. Yes, I need to go back to YEW for regular menu, but I wasn’t as impressed w/the desserts… on the other hand they just hired a pastry chef 2 weeks ago or so 🙂

  • Michael says:

    @Linda La Belle Auberge uses “molecular gastronomy” as well. Versawhip, Lecithin, Ultratex, Maltodextrin etc… It’s really fun to experiment with

  • Mijune says:

    @michael – yes you’re right! i didn’t know to what extent though… thank YOU for the insider’s tip1

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