Chambar – Dine Out Vancouver 2012
It’s difficult to believe that our first experience at Chambar was at Dine out Vancouver 2011. We were so enamored by the succulent mussels that we had that night that we often thought about coming back. The only thing that kept us away for so long was the location (we try to stay away from going into downtown at night when we don’t have to).
We knew that we wanted to try Chambar again when DOV came again so we booked an early visit. It’s a good thing that we made reservations because the place was packed as soon as they opened the doors at 5pm. Usually, we get seated in the front, but this time, we were led to the back of the restaurant where we were seated at a large round booth with a tall red leather button couch.
We tried the Charred Venison Carpaccio which was a little tangy from the white soy and red wine reduction vinaigrette. The venison is slightly more gamey than the kind of meat that we get at Japanese restaurants for their beef tataki. I could have done without the soba noodle salad – I don’t think it really added anything to this appy dish.
We also tried the Roasted Celeriac & Morel soup. Presentation was definitely on the menu here as our waiter brought out the large soup bowls and carefully poured out the soup at the table (similar to how The Boathouse served their Whiskey Crab Soup). The soup was nice and creamy and contained thinly shaved apple slices that gave it an interesting tart bite.
Despite having shortrib just the night before, I decided to try the tender Chambar Ale Braised Shortrib served with a barley risotto. They must use a lot of butter because the risotto was very creamy.
Of course, one of the reasons why we wanted to come back was because of the mussels so we couldn’t resist ordering the Congolaise Mussels served in a delicious and slightly spicy tomato coconut cream sauce. The broth wasn’t very spicy at first, but had a cumulative effect and got spicier as you drank more of it. Still, it was very good… almost wish they gave us a large straw so we could just slurp it right out of the bowl.
Some of our friends ordered the Crispy Arctic Char but I think the shortrib and the mussels was a better choice.
Dessert actually tasted better than it sounded. The Lemon Curd, Toasted Meringue and Shortbread was kind of like a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. The meringue initially melted in my mouth but turned a bit sticky.
The Salted Chocolate Caramel Bar was pretty good (not as good as the dessert that we had at The Hart House) but it was difficult to eat. The sticky caramel made it almost impossible to break off a piece of the bar without a lot of hard work. Plus, on more than on occasion, we almost sent the whole bar flying off the plate attempting to break off a piece.
The food was pretty good (especially the mussels) but I think I prefer the non-Dine Out Vancouver nights because it seemed a bit rushed when we were there. On the plus side, the food did come out rather quickly – but I suppose that’s to be expected when they only have to 4 different entrées to prep for. Service, as was the dress code of all the waiters, was sharp and professional and we had 4 water refills within the hour and a half that we were there.
Recently, we found ourselves in the area after a disasterous dinner at nearby Wild Rice and stopped by Chambar right afterwards. I would really recommend coming back here during a non-DOV night to avoid the (even more so) hectic atmosphere.
Food: 4 / 5
Service: 4 / 5
562 Beatty Street