The Marinaside area of Vancouver is one of the most breathtaking communities in the city! The yachts, the seawall, the posh restaurants and the ultra luxury condos and townhouses. Poshest amongst the eateries is the decadent Provence Marinaside.
Our experience starts, at Wine Director Josh's recommendation, with a nice, light 2016 La Beyssannette Rosé from, perhaps not coincidentally, the Provence region of France. A very pale pink with notes of strawberry and citrus that compliments, but doesn't overpower the vintage. Delicious! Out pops an amuse bouche from Chef Jean-Francis Quagua halfway through our first sips, perfect timing. The baby shrimp salsa pops with a fresh vegetable burst and the shrimp is perfectly cooked and as fresh as if they pulled it from the Pacific Ocean which lies a mere 50 feet from where we sit.
Lobster bisque is good. It's universally accepted. Paired with the 2014 Pinot Gris from the Okanagan's Kettle Valley winery it elevates it even further. The richness of the soup is neutralized perfectly by the acidity in the wine. A bite of lobster with a heavy spoonful of broth and chase it down with a sip of wine. You'll thank me! Emmenthal cheese has just recently come onto my radar, even a foodie misses some things, and it is good. Try melting it with Dijon, shallots and mushrooms then adding Atlantic lobster. It is a revelation. Again the sommelier reached into the Okanagan Valley for his pairing; the 2008 Summerhill Cipes Blanc de Noirs. If I had Josh in my employ I would have him pair my morning Cheerios, wine is life!
There's a reason that lobster is expensive. It's a similar reason that Maseratis are expensive. Demand. The flavour of a good lobster, drenched in molten butter, cannot be easily described. The performance and hand made detailing in a Maserati is likewise difficult to articulate and, as such, the demand is high so the price follows in lockstep. We ordered the Whole Lobster Gratin and Whole Atlantic Lobster and did not, for one second, regret our choices. The gratin offering is paired with the delicious Angels & Cowboys Rosé from Sonoma County and the latter with the eclectic 2014 Reichsrat von Buhl Spatburgunder Rosé Trocken from Germany. When a sommelier drops off a glass of wine and can't explain its bouquet or highlights, especially one as talented as Josh, it will make you curious. The German wine is quite nice, but certainly difficult to put a finger on. It did; however, pair extraordinarily with the lobster and helped propel it into a fine dining category that few eateries in Vancouver match. The Sonoma wine melded with the smoked tomato infused gratin lobster and it was probably my favourite of the two, but, like a doting parent, I hate to play favourites.
Something about rhubarb takes me back to childhood. I remember picking it in our yard as a very small child and washing it like mom had showed me and sprinkling a bit of sugar on it and going to town. Mama's little baby also loved shortcake, shortcake. Provence's strawberry and rhubarb shortcake elicited a gasp as it arrived at our table. The perfect combination of sweet and tart and the shortbread was so fresh and flaky! Paired with my first experience with a late harvest merlot, the Paradise Ranch Merlot Ice Wine from the venerable Okanagan Valley. Delicious! Even if you have just came from dinner you can still spoil yourself with an amazing dessert at Provence! Service is a near perfect 9/10, only to give them something to strive for, and ambience is a perfect 10. Full stop. Treat yourself to one of the best restaurant in vancouver!