Our server Kristina was a gem! Colloquial, but with a sophisticated edge and endless kindness. She suggested a couple of cocktails for us. JC had the Bubbles and Berries: Finlandia Vodka, fresh raspberries, fresh lemon, Sumac Ridge Sparkling White Wine. Champagne based cocktails are a crap shoot. Generally they'll mask the offensiveness of the $5 bottle of champagne with fruits and syrups and what-have-you, but Notch8 does things right and the result was a delicious, well balanced concoction. I had the Lilloet Daisy Zubrówka: fresh lemon, blueberry syrup and elderflower liqueur served in a tiki mug. It was sweet and absolutely delicious, elderflower is my bae!
The long weekend is owing to BC's newest statutory holiday, Family Day which, to my mind, will be Premier Christy Clark's only positive legacy. You'd be hard pressed to find anything else nice to say about her tenure. From being the only BC Premier to lose her own riding to her trying to sell the rights to mine our natural gas resources to foreign interests... you get the idea, I'm not a fan, but for letting us turn up on a Sunday we salute you. I guess.
The first course was called Roses by the Sea and for good reason. Rose poached shellfish, caviar, rose petal creme fraîche, green apples, rosewater mist. I had to stop Jenn a few times to alert her to the deliciousness of the bite I'd just had. Crab meat with caviar, shrimp with green apple or scallop with rose petal crème fraîche... that wasn't even all the incredible combinations in this one dish!? Amuse bouche... This was only the amuse bouche!? Right then I knew we were in for a good night! It was paired, quite elegantly, with a Kanazawa Sakura rosé. Strawberry notes dominate, but in a good way, not in a 14 year-old's first $5 strawberry wine kind of way.
Stop it Chef Will! Just stop. We came to Notch8 a few weeks ago to highlight their Dine Out Vancouver 2017 menu and Chef Will wowed us with his presentation; a frozen pond inspired oyster dish. Today he came out again, thanked us profusely for our previous post, and presented us with a 62 degree egg, beef tartare, uni and sea buck thorn gelee all served in a glass, smoked-filled globe. Stop it Will! It came with nori chips, they themselves would have been absolutely incredible in their own, and the tartare was hands down, no question, the best I've ever had! The egg, once pierced, oozed into the raw beef and formed a cacophony of savoury flavours. I mouthgasmed.
Reeling from first two dishes Chef Will brought out Notch's Savory Tart: foie gras, duck confit, sous vide quail egg, candied hazelnut and brandy apricot compote. This is not the slimy, bitter liver I was forced to sit at the table, as a young boy, until I ate it all. This is foie gras, fat liver. I know that translation isn't going to inspire a ton of food lust, but paired with a Meyer Family Pinot the two combined perfectly not unlike the Sedin twins or peanut butter and jelly or oxygen and human life. I would gladly choose to eat nothing else for the rest of my life regardless of the nutritional value. That's all I have to say, go get some!
To Share and to Savor: dry aged beef strip loin, cognac jus, black truffle, gold leaf butter and marrow roasted potatoes. Jenn called it the "best steak I've ever had". An inch thick, aged striploin bloody as can be and as delicious as any striploin I've ever had! I'll acquiesce to the fact that the mashed potatoes were definitely top five of my life. Bone marrow anything is delicious and this was the first time that flavour had been infused into mashed potatoes and it was triumphant!! This platter itself would have been enough for 3-4 people. The fact that it's just one of many dishes on this Valentine's Day menu at Notch8 shows the caliber of cuisine they're determined to push out. As previously mentioned we attended Notch for Dine Out. Unequivocally it was our favourite of the Dine Out festival and it will be a go-to for the rest of our lives. It's simply that good!
And now to discuss the Chocolate Cave. About halfway into the grand ballroom that is Notch8 you smell it... it's not what the Rock is cooking it's chocolate. Maybe someone ordered something at a table nearby I thought. NO. It's an entire room at the back of the restaurant where the walls and every offering is chocolate. CHOCOLATE! I had to waddle down the steps due to over consumption, but there was still room for a chocolate chip cookie, red velvet cake, banana flambé, chocolate peanut brittle and truffles... omg you get it, they rolled us home! Luckily we live a 2 minute walk and no dogs had desecrated the sidewalk so we arrived at our condo clean and satisfied. When I lay in my bed I'm blessed to enjoy a beautiful view of Hotel Vancouver's stunning architecture and knowing Notch is contained within those walls makes me smile. And hungry, it also makes me hungry! Do yourself a favour and pay them a visit!