Whistler, BC – Sidecut – Modern Steak (at Four Seasons Resort)

Restaurant: Sidecut-Modern Steak
Cuisine: Steakhouse/Pacific Northwest/Fine Dining
Last visited: July 22, 2012
Location: Whistler, BC (Inside Four Seasons Resort)
Address: 4591 Blackcomb Way
Where I stayed: Four Seasons Resort
Price Range: $50+ ($25-35 mains)

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

Food: 4 (Based on what I tried)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Since 2010
  • Executive Sous Chef Tory Martindale
  • Casual fine dining
  • Canadian Prime steaks (aged 40 days)
  • Unique spice rubs
  • Unique sauces
  • Rooftop garden
  • Extensive wine list
  • Cocktail program
  • Family friendly
  • Heated patio
  • Breakfast $16-30
  • Lunch $9-19
  • Dinner $23-55
  • Breakfast: 7:30am-11:30am
  • Lunch: 11:30am-5pm
  • Dinner: 5pm-10pm

**Recommendations: Steakhouse Sushi Roll, Bone In Rib Eye Carved Tableside, Dirty Mac n’ Cheese, Shredded Duck and White Bean, Creamed Spinach, Seasonal Mushrooms

We were introduced over…

… and over…

… and over…

… and over…

… and over again…

… until we final met.

At “rub class”! Umm what?! What kind of blog is this?! It’s Follow Me Foodie! What kind of mind are you reading it with?! Upon special request, the restaurant can actually host a “Rub Class” for groups staying at the hotel. I’m not sure how many people and what the requirements are before it’s possible, but if you’re a bunch of culinary enthusiasts than this might be a fun activity to inquire about.

Executive Sous Chef Tory Martindale helped guide us along making spice rubs. I never thought there was much of a science behind creating a seasoning, but I did learn some neat things. I think one of the most useful tips for me was: think about what you are using your spice rub for before you start making it. When you’re presented with so many different spices it’s easy to just want to use all of them and I was heading down that road. Keeping in mind what the rub was intended for (meat or fish) and what flavour profile I wanted (smoky, African, Italian) really helped keep me on track.

It was Follow Me Foodie to Whistler and I was graciously hosted at Four Seasons Resort Whistler. I was invited to try their restaurant Sidecut Modern Steak and to be honest, I was curious. I know. What’s so exciting about a hotel restaurant and a steakhouse? That sounds like the most touristy and generic thing you could do, and yes, I agree somewhat.

I’m rarely excited to try a hotel restaurant because quite often I find it very safe and as a “foodie” I’m always looking for new and unique experiences. However in this case it was a bit different. It was not because of the invite, but it was because I had heard positive things about Sidecut from Vancouverites at home. I’ve also sampled a few things from them at the Vancouver Magazine Awards and those appetizers were quite impressive.

I always treated the restaurant as its own entity and didn’t even realize it was the restaurant at the Four Seasons. On one hand it was a promising brand to be associated with, but on the other hand it also labelled it as a “hotel restaurant”. I had mixed feelings, but I’ve fallen head over heels with hotel restaurants before (see here), so I was looking forward to my Sidecut experience.

It’s kind of ironic because I don’t frequent steakhouses unless I’m in cities where they are famous for their steaks. I also don’t order steaks unless I’m at a steakhouse because for me it doesn’t really show the talent and creativity of a chef. It’s something I can do at home, but once in a while I do crave a good quality steak which I want at a stellar steakhouse. For me the art of an exceptional steak is in the aging of the meat more so than the cooking of it, so that’s what I look for in a steakhouse.

Sidecut serves Canadian Prime (top 2%) beef, aged 40 days and grilled at 1800 degrees on an infrared grill. It’s the quality Hy’s Steakhouse and Gotham’s serves too, but it’s a bit more affordable here. They age them for longer at Sidecut as well (debatable if it makes a difference – see my “rib eye” section below), however I don’t think they’re cut in house like Hy’s. The cuts at Sidecut are also different. They have your basics, but they seem to highlight their bigger cuts which are meant to be shared with groups of 2 or 4. It caters well for groups and it’s more relaxed than the more intimate and formal Hy’s or Gotham’s.

The restaurant is casual yet polished without being pretentious and the food followed the theme. It was a pretty standard steakhouse menu, but it had some international twists. The food was still familiar to locals and approachable for tourists and it was suitable for all ages. However I did feel like it was a steakhouse for a younger demographic and it was sophisticatedly fun.

The quality and execution of steaks were taken seriously, but the way they were meant to be enjoyed (with a bunch of sauces and rubs) suggested playful. I found the appetizers hit and miss, but the sides were solid and the steak is really the thing it needed to nail – and it did. I really can’t speak for the other cuts or consistency though because this was my only visit and only steak I tried.

It is on the pricey side given that it’s on a resort at the Four Seasons, but if you’re craving a nice steak after hitting the slopes, than this just might make the cut as an end of the day reward. I was generally very satisfied with my experience and I will add that I was already on cloud 9 from an earlier meal at Bearfoot Bistro. I didn’t think I could be easily impressed with anything else after that, but that was fine dining and this is steakhouse, so it was incomparable.

I have to give a big shout out to the Sidecut brie which is served at the breakfast buffet. It’s actually from Golden Ears Cheesecrafters in Maple Ridge and it was freaking fantastic. It was one of the 10 BC products I highlighted in my post Follow Me Foodie to BC Ingredients and Products!

On the table:

Complimentary Bread and Butter

  • This is probably in my top 15 favourite complimentary bread baskets. It can say a lot about a restaurant and this was off to a great start – they cared.
  • It had mini buttermilk biscuits, mini corn bread muffins, and Gruyère cheese popovers.
  • It was served warm with salted butter and it felt like a Southern inspired steakhouse already.
  • The biscuit was my favourite and it was crispy on the outside and super moist and flaky inside. It could be more buttery in flavour, but the texture was fantastic.
  • It was a legit biscuit and I had to ask about them. It turns out the recipe was from one of the chefs originally from the South.
  • The cornbread was very moist and crumbly and a bit sweet.
  • The Gruyère cheese popovers were also incredibly moist, slightly crispy, light and airy, springy and spongy and I could taste the cheese.
  • This was good bread to waste room on and those biscuits came in handy with the sides later on. The basket was refilled at least twice.

**Steakhouse Sushi Roll5.5/6 (Excellent!)

  • Grilled rare, avocado, dried tomato, sweet soy $18 (For perhaps 6 pieces?)
  • I would have never ordered this unless it was recommended. Sushi at a steakhouse just didn’t really spark my interest, but it ended up being my favourite appetizer.
  • It was prepared like a sushi roll, but it was more like a rolled beef tataki or a rolled beef carpaccio than sushi to me. There was no rice.
  • I almost felt like I was in Texas again or even California, and this was very typical of something they would do at a funky steakhouse.
  • In Vancouver we see this done with Albacore or Ahi Tuna, but not as much with beef.

  • I loved the whole pieces of avocado and it was almost like a West Coast salsa meets guacamole wrapped with a very well marbelized and high quality beef carpaccio.
  • Each piece just melted in your mouth and the buttery ripe avocado played right into the tender buttery seared beef.
  • It had a good amount of black pepper, tartness from sun dried tomatoes and the guacamole and soy sauce glaze was reminiscent of a California roll.
  • A dash of their house made Wasabi D-40 Mustard on each piece would have been great too.
  • I could have had the whole plate and I would have been happy.

Signature Tartare Cones

  • Steak, tuna, steelhead $22 (For perhaps 4 cones?)
  • I rarely see beef tartare and fish tartare mixed together like this. I guess it was the Pacific Northwest version of Steak Tartare.
  • I actually couldn’t tell there was beef in there and all the flavours just melded together.
  • It was a sweet black sesame waffle cone and there was a nice salty and sweet balance, but it wasn’t particularly memorable past the playful presentation.
  • It was good as an amuse bouche, but not something I would have to re-order.
  • Another tartare I enjoyed a lot in Whistler was the Elk Tartare at Alta Bistro.
Tantalus Riesling, 2010, Okanagan Valley, BC – This is a stunning wine. It’s probably one of my favourite Rieslings and it was the assumed mystery wine at the Gold Medal Plates this year. It’s a very dry wine with a good acidity and the flavours of apples and lime really come through. It was nice and crisp and I could easily drink it alone.

Sea Brick2/6 (Okay)

  • Yellow fin tuna, BC oysters, pickled vegetable, roasted tomato, spicy soy $24
  • I’m pretty sure this was an individual serving, otherwise $24 would be very pricey for this appetizer.
  • I can appreciate it for presentation, but I never really understood the Sea Brick plating. I had it once at Miksa – see Ahi Tuna Ceviche.
  • The Sea Brick is actually a Pink Himalayan Salt block, so the block melts and the salt starts to absorb into the food if you don’t eat it quickly.
  • My Yellow fin tuna ended up getting quite salty and same with the pickled vegetables.
  • The oyster was fine though because it had the shell to protect it.

Lake Breeze, Pinot Blanc 2011, Okanagan Valley, BC – It was a solid pinot blanc. It was fruit forward with apples and citrus and it was very clean and straight forward. It was an easy starting wine for the summer.

“Feel the Beet” Cocktail – This was a red beet and goat cheese cocktail that was made with local ingredients within 100 miles. I loved the idea, but the goat cheese foam didn’t work out as well in execution or presentation. It almost looked like it was curdling. I liked the sweet and salty contrast and it was also quite tangy, but overall I found it to be quite sweet. It is a local favourite and award winning drink though.

“Feel the Beet” Cocktail Recipe

  • Splash Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reduction – Whistler
  • 2oz Beet infused Schramm Gin – Pemberton
  • 1oz Fresh Strawberry puree – Pemberton
  • 1oz Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc – Whistler
  • Dash Wild flower Honey- Lillooet – Whistler
  • Goat’s cheese frothed with eggs – Salt Spring Island

This was a goat cheese and beet salad with house cured Lois Lake steelhead to pair with the “Feel the Beet” cocktail.

The next course had quite the theatrics. As soon as they lifted the lid I got the whiff of applewood smoke. It was reminiscent of the Smoked Sturgeon at Fraîche and that smoke just enhances the flavour of the food by stimulating your sense of smell. It’s only in the beginning though.

Prime Carpaccio4/6 (Very good)

  • Blueberry foie gras, rocket, quail egg, pickled mushroom $19
  • It had all the ingredients I loved. It was definitely a modern interpretation of a beef carpaccio.
  • The foie gras was actually foie gras pâté and not a seared foie gras, so it was a slight disappointment, but the pâté was great.
  • The pâté was slightly random though because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to spread it or just eat it in chunks. I found it a bit too buttery to enjoy as chunks.
  • The pâté was dusted with their blueberry spice rub so there was a subtle sweetness which just enhanced the flavour and umami of foie.
  • The beef carpaccio was smoky, well marbelized and tender, but again I wasn’t sure how to eat it with the pâté.
  • The pickled morel mushrooms cut the richness of the proteins, but they were jaw ache sour so I couldn’t really eat them. I have a high tolerance for sour too.

Herder Meritage, 2009, Similkameen Valley, BC – It was a Red Bordeaux Blend with smoky and peppery notes and flavours of oak and tobacco. I could taste some dark red cherries and black plums and it was a very big red with some tartness. I just knew the steak was coming!

Chef Martindale carving the 36 ounce Bone In Rib Eye Carved Tableside.

Yes! Take a look at that layer of fat around the edge. It wasn’t too thick and it was tender and well rendered and carried a lot of flavour. My photo didn’t capture the colour too well, but it was actually cooked medium rare to maybe medium. I prefer medium rare, but rib eye steaks can still be very tender at medium.

**”The Long Bone” – 36 ounce Bone In Rib Eye Carved Tableside – 5/6 (Excellent)

  • 36 oz bone in rib eye (serves 2) carved tableside is $225 (Includes 2 appetizers, 2 sides + a bottle of wine)
  • Chef pours a demi glace or jus on the steak upon serving.
  • Sidecut serves Canadian Prime (top 2%) beef, aged 40 days and grilled at 1800 degrees on an infrared grill.
  • The aging process is very arguable though, some say that aging beef longer than 21-30 days is almost pointless.
  • The rate beef will tenderize past 2 weeks is significantly lower so it won’t make much of a difference.
  • There is such a thing as over-aging as well and that’s when a steak will carry a savoury funk (umami), some say this is ideal and others say that’s when it’s over-aged.
  • Regardless, I found this steak tender, moist and juicy and it had a high quality beef flavour. It was savoury, but it didn’t have an intense funk.
  • Being that it was a rib eye it should be well marbelized, tender and incredibly flavourful, and it was.
  • It was pink from edge to edge with a beautiful charred and smoky crust.
  • Each piece was consistent and the steak had flavour without the crust.
  • The crust was well seasoned with a classic spice rub and it was salty, peppery, smoky and earthy.
  • The meat was warm and not cold in the centre and the searing was last minute which is ideal.
  • A steakhouse needs to master the steak and this one was pretty epic.
  • I can only hope they are consistent and handle their other cuts the same as this one.

Sidecut is known for their rubs and you can customize your steak with your choice of rub. House-Made Signatures Rubs for Your Meat, Poultry or Fish: Edison’s Medicine, Caribbean Jerk, Black Angus, Lemon Buddha, Herbal Ember, Blueberry Hill.

Sidecut is also known for their house made sauces. It was a playful take on steak without sacrificing quality. All sauces are served with the steaks and include: Mushroom Bordelaise, Argentinian Chimichurri (Green Jimmy), Yuzu Butter, Crème Fraiche Bernaise, House Steak Sauce, Wasabi D-40 Mustard. My favourite sauces were the Argentinian Chimichurri (Green Jimmy) and the Wasabi D-40 Mustard.

The bone was monstrous. This was the biggest steak I’ve had and it seemed bigger than 36 ounces.

This was my favourite part of the rib eye. The bone. Many people just eat the cut pieces and leave the bone, but ask any “real steak-eater” and this is where the good stuff is. It’s quite fatty and rich, which is also why it’s delicious. The meat peeled off the bone beautifully and it had so much of the spice rub and charred goodness. I have a picture of this bone picked almost completely clean, but it doesn’t look appetizing so I left it out. Believe me though, this was picked clean by the end.

**’Dirty’ Mac n’ Cheese3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • This was about 2 orders. Each order is $6.
  • I would have loved more of a baked gratin topping and the noodles were quite overcooked.
  • The sauce was more like an Alfredo-like cream sauce than it was a rich and creamy cheese sauce.
  • I think they made this with their curry seasoning and there was good flavour.
  • I still liked it despite it not being as cheesy as I would have hoped.
  • There were a few shrimp pieces in there too, but there were so little I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to come with it.
  • This was delicious stuffed in the Gruyère popovers and also sandwiched in the biscuits and topped with duck confit.

**Shredded Duck + White Bean 4/6 (Very good)

  • $6
  • This was another rich and hearty side.
  • It was a very saucy duck confit and it was quite rich and fatty in a syrupy sweet, salty and tangy gravy.
  • It was almost stew like and I thought I enjoyed it. It’s a substantial side to have alongside steak though.
  • I enjoyed it even more topped on the mac and cheese or sandwiched in the biscuits with the mac. Even better would be topped with a fried egg… hello breakfast!

**Creamed Spinach4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • It was just creamed spinach, but it was excellent creamed spinach.
  • It wasn’t too watery, the spinach wasn’t overcooked and there was a decent crispy breadcrumb topping, but I missed the cheese.

**Seasonal Mushrooms4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • This was just sautéed mushrooms, but it was excellent for what it was.
  • It was sautéed morels and wild mushrooms in a natural mushroom gravy perhaps reduced with red wine.
  • This was good on the mac and cheese too.

Mission Hill Reserve, Riesling Icewine, 2010, Okanagan Valley, BC – It was a very sweet and tropical ice wine with flavours of honey, nectarines and perhaps some lemon for acidity. It was creamy and rich and since the grape is acidic it was well balanced for a dessert wine.

Ice Cream Cones2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Blackberry Rocky Road, chocolate, marshmallow, hazelnut 2 for $6
  • I love ice cream, but I can be really picky about it just because I’m addicted to making it at home.
  • I wouldn’t have guessed this was rocky road and it was melting a bit fast.
  • It was a bit fluffy and soft for my liking. I prefer really hard ice cream with less air.
  • I don’t think I would be able to guess the flavour if I wasn’t told.
  • I was expecting a rich and dark chocolate ice cream with marshmallows and nuts, but this was just a sweet ice cream sprinkled with chocolate and peanuts.

Banana Cream Pie – 4/6 (Very Good)

  • Caramel sauce, crunchy pearls 2 for $6 (?)
  • This was my favourite dessert of the night.
  • Every steak house should have a banana cream pie.
  • This was a Banana Cream Pie meets a Bananas Foster.
  • There was a nice creamy custard, crisp and tender tart shell, buttery caramel sauce, real slice of caramelized banana and then a soft and creamy meringue.

S’mores Brownie Sundae – 3/6 (Good)

  • Coca marshmallow, graham cracker ice cream, hot fudge $6
  • I wasn’t too keen on the marshmallow and I was hoping it would be ooey gooey.
  • Underneath was a chocolate brownie and then vanilla ice cream so it was quite a typical dessert.
  • I think I would consider it a brownie with ice cream before I would a s’mores dessert.

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake – 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Wild blueberry preserve, crispy meringue, lemon cream $6
  • This was a deconstructed lemon cheesecake trifle with wild blueberry compote and a poppyseed meringue.
  • The curd was smooth and creamy and it had quite the zing, but overall it was a bit on the sweet side for me.
  • I love the poppyseed meringue though and there was a nice play on textures, but I wouldn’t mind more crunchy bits.

The spices and rubs are also available to go, so they make great souvenirs.

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