Q4 Ristorante (Kitsilano)

Restaurant: Q4
Cuisine: Italian/Pasta
Last visited: July 25, 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC (Kitsilano)
Address: 2563 W Broadway
Transit: EB w Broadway FS Trafalgar St
Price Range: $30-50+ for dinner, $15-25 for lunch

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6FMF Must Try!

Food: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 4
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Italian cuisine
  • West Coast flavours
  • Modern style
  • 2 locations
  • Weekend brunch
  • Wine list/bar
  • Cocktails
  • Private dining
  • Weekend Brunch from 10:30AM – 3PM
  • Weekday Lunch from 11:30AM – 2:30PM
  • Nightly Dinner from 5:30PM – 10:30PM

**Recommendations: Radicchio bocconcini, Crispy risotto (arancini), Q4 meatball torpedo, Spaghetti Q4 the classic, Wild mushroom ravioli, Ciliege Filate, Molten Chocolate Lava Brownie

It was the old Feenie’s, and then DB Bistro Moderne and now Q4. I guess you could say the location is a bit risky, but if a house hold name can’t survive, maybe it’s not quite the area to sustain upscale or fine dining restaurants. Q4 is another upscale restaurant, but it’s a well recognized brand in Vancouver and it’s been in the area long enough to have a local following.

The previous location was only a 5 minute drive away on 4th Ave and they moved into this space a few months ago. It’s still in the Kistilano area, but it’s a lot more visible to traffic now compared to its last location. The second location for Q4 is in downtown called Q4 al Centro.

The private dining room.

It pretty much looks the exact same as DB Bistro Moderne and it even feels the same. I haven’t witnessed it on a regular night, but apparently they are quite busy, however the lunches seemed a bit slow. They recently introduced brunch for the first time as well, so I was actually invited to come for that. However it ended up being a preview of lunch with brunch being on display. Therefore this post is just a teaser of what’s available and what I had was not representable of a regular meal or portion, so I will leave my comments to a minimum and leave the “ratings” out.

I’ve tried Q4 at its old location before, but it was almost 2 years ago now. The classics are still available, but looking at the menu and based on my lunch, the food came across as a bit International rather than Italian. It was always maybe slightly West Coast Italian, but it just seemed more generic and a bit more corporate rather than traditional and passionate. To be fair, I only tried some lunch items and it wasn’t in the proper context, but the quality was hit and miss and I didn’t expect that. For some things it was the execution, and for others it was just the ingredients. The sandwiches were generally good, but overall I had higher expectations from the Q4 standard and brand.

The brunch on display looked amazing though (as it should being on display), so I’m quite eager to check that out. As for the lunch, I’m a bit indifferent, and as for dinner I hope it hasn’t changed from what I remembered it being… unless it’s just me that’s changed? Regardless, the food wasn’t served in the context of a regular day, so I shouldn’t form my opinions too early. It would be better to treat this post as a rough idea and sneak peek, but not as my formal opinion.

 On the table:

Complimentary Bread 

  • They have upgraded their olive oil and vinegar from my last visit, which was 2 years ago.
  • The olive oil had more flavour and was higher quality, but it still wasn’t amazing olive oil.
  • I’m sure for the majority it would be great, but if you’re particular on your olive oil you’ll be able to tell.
  • For Q4 I would expect higher quality, but for any Italian restaurant more casual I would be content with it.
  • The focaccia bread was also an upgrade and I really liked it.
  • This one was cold and I’m not sure if they usually serve it warm, but the bread was still good.
  • It was moist, stretchy and chewy, but not tough and well seasoned with salt and herbs.

Chef’s salad

  • Cornish game hen, butter lettuce, egg, pancetta, gorgonzola vinaigrette $19
  • This was a sample size so it didn’t have the hen.
  • It was unexpected for an Italian restaurant, but it was what it was.
  • I couldn’t tell it was a Gorgonzola vinaigrette if I didn’t know though and I found it quite thin.
  • I probably would have preferred a creamy dressing, but being in Vancouver the lower fat vinaigrettes always win.

Panini

  • $12
  • These were sample portions of the paninis.
  • I’m not sure how they are normally served, but I liked the Q4 Meatball Torpedo best.

Q4 Meatball Torpedo (Sample size)

  • Traditional Italian Meatballs, tomato ragu, baguette $12
  • I don’t know if it’s normally served in a mini slider bun. I wasn’t liking the bun though.
  • The meatballs were huge and almost like sausages.
  • They were made with veal, beef and pork, but if I didn’t know I would have guessed 80% beef and 20% pork.
  • They were very meaty meatballs and tender from having a good amount of fat.
  • They had a bite so they weren’t melt in your mouth soft like some meatballs can be.
  • I still like the ones from Ricardo’s Mediterranean Grill, but these were still good.

Steak and Frites Sandwich (Sample size)

  • Horseradish aioli, arugula $12
  • The Ciabatta was char grilled, but not pressed. It seemed more French in style.
  • I’ve seen fries in paninis and on pizzas in Italy though, so this wasn’t surprising for me.
  • It was quite hearty and bready, but also just heavy in general.
  • The steak was actually really tender with a good amount of black pepper and I liked it.
  • The steak wasn’t the greatest quality steak, but since it was sliced so thin it made it tender and not chewy.
  • I couldn’t taste the horseradish aioli, so I did miss that horseradish kick.
  • I’m really not sure how the concept of this sandwich would do in this area though. A younger demographic would like it, but they aren’t the clientèle for this restaurant. I could see the older demogpahic ordering this and then saying “no fries”.

Italian BLT (Sample size)

  • Prosciutto, arugula, tomato aioli $12
  • It was toasted focaccia bread, but not a pressed panini.
  • I hope on a regular day it would come with more prosciutto and it would be good pressed.

Caribbean lobster, spring pea, risotto (Sample size)

  • $26
  • The risotto was prepared in either a large batch or half way and then finished upon serving.
  • I’m not sure if this is how it’s normally executed, but I wasn’t too keen on it.

Striploin steak and frites (Sample size)

  • Gorgonzola demi-glace, white truffle essence $34
  • This was unusual to see at an Italian restaurant, but the neighbourhood seems to want it so they put it on the menu.
  • The steak was medium rare and it looked really good, but the quality of meat wasn’t great and it was a bit tough.
  • I enjoyed the steak thinly sliced in the context of the sandwich more.
  • The fries were thin cut and the majority crispy and well seasoned though.
  • For some reason the tomatoes looked like good Heirloom tomatoes, but they were crunchy and didn’t have much flavour.

Ciliege Filate (Sample size)

  • $8.50
  • It was layers of vanilla bean mascarpone cream, thin crispy sheets of filo pastry and topped with Amarena sour cherries.
  • It usually comes with one more layers so it’s a 3 layered dessert.
  • This dessert is the house favourite dessert.
  • I’ve tried it before and I remember it being excellent and it was still very good, but I couldn’t taste much mascarpone.
  • I could have used more vanilla bean, but there was excellent texture and the filo was crispy and also sweetened.
  • There was a nice sour and sweet contrast and it was a very simple dessert, but it satisfies the sweet tooth without being too decadent.

Brunch Menu

The following items are served for brunch. These were only on display and represent the actual portion size.

Melon, prosciutto $7

Spring berry, pistachio parfait $7

Q4 Eggs Benny – Lobster, avocado $16

2 eggs any style – Q4 potatoes, lamb sausage or grilled pancetta $12

Chorizo Hash – wined cured, caramelized onion, corn, roast garlic $14

Sourdough breakfast sandwich – two eggs, ham, cheese, pesto $10

Spaghetti “bacon and eggs” carbonara – the classic $15

Panettone toast – frangelico bananas, chocolate hazelnut spread $12

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Q4 on Urbanspoon

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