Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar: Vancouver

Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar, set in a charming turn-of-the-century heritage building in Vancouver's stylish Yaletown, was the city's first wine bar, and still has an extensive wine list in addition to over delicious 60 wines-by-the-glass, many from B.C.'s top wineries. With executive chef Chris Brisaro at the helm, Brix also serves some of the city's best West Coast cuisine, prepared with subtle French and Asian accents, and using only the freshest local ingredients. The restaurant's high beamed ceilings, original exposed brick walls, romantic candle-lit lighting, chandeliers, vintage mirrors, crisp linens, crystal tableware and beautiful glass-covered courtyard patio, makes Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar one of the jewels of the city — and also one of the most popular.

Started by owners David Hannay and Patrick Mercer over twelve years ago, Brix's elegant dinner menu features a wide range of seafood, game, meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes with seasonally-inspired chef specials featured each night. Its close proximity to the theatre district makes Brix's early dining pre-theatre menu a popular choice with the city's culture-hounds, as well as late-night dining for Vancouver night hawks who wish to dine into the wee hours of the morning.

Brix's lovely leather bound menu

A beautiful leather bound portfolio highlights Brix's dinner menu which includes Prosciutto Wrapped Qualicum Bay Scallops with barbeque duck fried risotto, scallions, crispy garlic and shallots; Alberta Beef Carpaccio with wild arugula, red onion and grana padano parmesan with a smoked bacon, green peppercorn aioli; Tuna Tartare in a soya ginger marinade with spring onion and sirichi, tobiko, nori and rice cracker; Five Mushroom Risotto - maitake, king oyster, hon shinimi, shitake and oyster mushrooms - with grana podano parmesan, asparagus spears and grape tomatoes; Cinnamon Dusted Quebec Wentzel Duck Breast with pancetta forked red skin potatoes, baby spinach, wild mushroom & tomato ragout in a cracked black pepper blueberry demi-glace.

Brix's fresh baked bread and house churned butter 

A small insert into the leather bound menu highlights Chef Brisaro's special pre-theare menu this evening — a delicious Caprese Salad with Buffalo Mozarella, organic red and yellow tomatoes, sliced red onions and balsamic drizzle; Pan Seared Ling Cod with Tarragon Polenta and a roasted red pepper and tomato coulis, followed by a silky smooth Vanilla Panna Cotta with mango coulis and white chocolate wafer. As a wine selection, we ordered and fabulous Pinot Blanc from Lake Breeze Vineyards in Naramata, which was intensely fruity and aromatic, with crisp apple and citrus aromas that follow onto the palate.

Caprese salad with red and yellow organic tomatoes, sliced red onions and balsamic drizzle

BC ling Cod with Tarragon polenta and red pepper and tomato coulis garnished 
with organic watercress

Vanilla Pannacotta with Mango Coulis and white chocolate

Lake Breeze Vineyards Pinot Blanc

Although the service can be a bit quirky, our waiter-surfer-dude Christopher came alive when we asked about Tofino restaurants, having worked there for a while. He even, very generously, gave us his e-mail address in case we had any further questions or needed suggestions of what to do while we were on the Pacific Rim. Now that's true west coast hospitality, and a heart-warming end to a fabulous meal in one of Vancouver's most beautiful restaurants.