Spot Prawns 2016

Spot Prawn Series: Coast by Glowbal Group by Jenn Chan

Coast, Patio

 

Alberni Street, between Burrard and Bute, used to be known as Lil Ginza owing to the upscale, and one time predominantly Japanese, shops and restaurants. Tourists from Europe and Asia still flock to Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Tiffany's, Louis Vuitton and Versace for low priced designer goods (relative to prices in Tokyo anyway).

 

Though no longer Japan-centric it is still a bastion for upscale shops, such as the handful I mentioned, and incredible, world class restaurants. Glowbal Group leads the charge in that department. They own and operate 3 restaurants on Alberni a stone's throw from each other: Coast, Black & Blue and the Italian Kitchen. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Coast one sunny June eve. 

 

$4,800,000. That is what it cost to open Coast. $4.8 million dollars. Cash. Money. Where did all that money go? Take a visit, you'll know within 2 feet of the door; the space is modern, opulent and tasteful! We were seated on the patio, which coincidentally is about 100 feet from the front door to our condo, and greeted by Mr. Michael Moore, a part owner of the Glowbal Group and our official host for the evening. He was gracious enough to stop for a chat and give us the scoop on Coast. He could not have been more accommodating and pleasant and I have since plugged him into all my social media and consider him a friend. He stopped in on us several more times, in between brisk jogs between Coast and Black & Blue presumably to put out fires, metaphorically of course, and his warmth was genuine and his passion for his guests palpable. There's no better feeling as a customer than to feel respected and valued by a business' management. Or is there? 
 

Shortly after Mr. Moore left to perform some managerial duties he assured us we would be well taken care of by our waiter. He did not, however, mention that Executive Chef Mark Greenfield, a culinary ninja, would be at our table a few minutes later to let us know we needn't labour over our menus and that the feast he had planned for us wasn't on it anyway... A better feeling than an attentive management team? Yup!

 

 Coast Decked Caesar

Coast Decked Caesar

 

Our first courses, well after a couple of Coast Decked Caesars which are near perfect 9/10's on the Caesar meter, were a sublime Spot Prawn and Ahi Tuna Ceviche and equally tasty Grilled Spot Prawn and King Crab. Ahhh the Spot Prawn. If you follow our food blog here on JennChanPhotography.com you know we have been indulging in the odd Spot Prawn, but I was not prepared, no even close to prepared, for the combination of Spot Prawns and Ahi Tuna. 

 

Spots Prawns are incredible, Ahi Tuna is marvellous and cooking things with fruit is nothing short of magical. Can someone even give me an explanation about how cooking in the ceviche style works without mentioning magic? I humbly doubt it. This was hands down the best ceviche I had ever had. The ingredients were so fresh I thought I saw a leg move at one point. And it did. It moved in a blur towards the lovely Jenn Chan's mouth. There was no stopping it. Does anyone not like crab? Do you know anyone? I can't think of a single person in my life who doesn't and I just spent 4-5 minutes pondering in hopes of ridiculing them in this forum, but to no avail. And when you're the king of anything that probably means you're really good, right? Or at least that your family stole power somehow generations ago, but that's probably a column for a different publication. King Crab is aptly named. It was delicious and served with a delicious dish of melted butter. You can tell that he met his end mere minutes prior to being presented to us; fresh, fluffy and flavourful! The grilled Spot Prawns were equally as fresh and they compliment each other brilliantly. The ceviche was paired, at our server's recommendation, with a lovely Riesling from Quail's Gate Winery in the gorgeous Okanagan Valley of BC and the King Crab a lovely Chardonnay from the Kendal Jackson Winery in California. We could have left then and still given Coast a glowing review, but we were only getting warmed up!

 

 

 Spot Prawn & Ahi Tuna Cerviché

Spot Prawn & Ahi Tuna Cerviché



Chef Mark popped out to see how we enjoyed our first course and was genuinely appreciative of the adulation we bestowed on him. He is a savvy chef, but also a humble and remarkably nice man. His new wife, herself a manager at Coast, couldn't help but overhear our praise and beamed with pride at her husband. It was a magical moment and speaks to the team Coast has built and its laid back, family-like working environment. 

 

 Grilled Spot Prawns & King Crab

Grilled Spot Prawns & King Crab

Grilled Spot Prawns & King Crab


 

Our main course was a Spot Prawn sashimi platter with beautiful Ahi Tuna, Salmon and Sablefish. It isn't hard to see why Coast regularity wins "Beat Seafood in Vancouver" or some other such award from some publication or another EVERY year. Seriously. Google it. It was paired masterfully with a Sauvignon Blanc from Duckhorn Vineyards in the Napa Valley of California. This wine immediately shot to the top of my list of favourite  Sauvignon Blancs, it is a must-drink! After our sashimi had been consumed the waiter whisked away with the Spot Prawn heads and returned with them deep fried in a nice, light tempura batter. I generally disregard the head, but it was so incredibly crispy and delicious we devoured the whole thing!

 

 

 Spot Prawn Sashimi Platter

Spot Prawn Sashimi Platter

Spot Prawn Sashimi Platter
 Deep Fried Prawn Heads

Deep Fried Prawn Heads

 

We were given no inkling what our dessert was to be so we sipped a lovely Port from the Burrowing Owl Winery in eager anticipation. It arrived with a flair and soon dessert was also a show! A lovely platter with Coast's famous Melting Chocolate Sphere and the equally decadent Coconut Banana Butter Cake. As they pour the molten caramel over the chocolate sphere science happens and it begins to melt and the flavours mingle and cascade down onto the lush vanilla ice cream inside. Close your eyes and visualise that for a moment. All I ask is that you please finish reading this before you go because I know you're going. I know it. Not generally a fan of coconut, but knowing Chef Mark doesn't make bad food I dove into the butter cake. Simply amazing! 

 

 

 Dessert Platter: Melting Chocolate Sphere & Coconut Banana Butter Cake

Dessert Platter: Melting Chocolate Sphere & Coconut Banana Butter Cake

Dessert Platter: Melting Chocolate Sphere & Coconut Banana Butter Cake
Dessert Platter: Melting Chocolate Sphere & Coconut Banana Butter Cake

 

As our dishes were cleared we both agreed this was one of the best meals we had, had in 2016 and wracked our brains and could not come up with too many that rivalled it in our lives. Coast, while not the flagship Glowbal restaurant, is still a jewel, a bright, shiny jewel, in its crown. Go for the seafood, go for the service, go for the wine, but just go! You'll thank me!

 

 

Coast Restaurant
 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Spot Prawn Series: Provence Marinaside by Jenn Chan

Provence Marinaside


The first thing you notice about Provence Marinaside, after you've been able to pull your gaze away from the Quayside Marina and it's wonderfully eclectic waterfront to actually make your way through the grand entryway, is the long, long row of wine taps. The most wine options, by the glass, in Vancouver for sure.  Rumour has it Canada as well. My research to look into comparisons touts it to perhaps have the most in North America; over 140 different wine choices!  If you are a wine lover, as I am, you could spend some considerable time at Provence!

 

Provence Marinaside Spot Prawn Menu
 Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche


To start we indulged in the Grilled Spot Prawns on a bed of arugula and frisée salad, gem tomatoes with a truffle vinaigrette.  It was paired masterfully with an Unsworth Allegro 2014 from the Cowichan Valley and the dish was near perfect.  The spot prawns were fresh to within minutes, the salad was crisp and the ingredients magnificently fresh. We also ordered the Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with avocado and spot prawns which was paired with the Fairview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc from BC's pristine Okanagan Valley. 

 

 Grill Spot Prawns paired with Unsworth Allegro

Grill Spot Prawns paired with Unsworth Allegro

 Yellow Tomato Gazpacho paired with Fairview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho paired with Fairview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc


Our mains arrived and the presentation was incredible! BC Spot Prawn Duo Grilled & Provençal Style with tagliatelle and zucchini ribbons which tossed in extra virgin olive oil.  The Provence sommelier chose a Road 13 Stemwinder, again from the Okanagan Valley, to pair with it.  The tagliatelle was very fresh, we aren't talking pasta from a box here, it was a near perfect 10/10.  Both iterations of the Spot Prawn were amazing and they soon disappeared.  I ordered the Halibut & BC Spot Prawns and the dish arrived with beautiful yellow tomatoes and purple potatoes in a preserved lemon vinaigrette. The Le Vieux Pin Rosé from the Black Sage Bench region of the Okanagan Valley was the pairing and it made the halibut melt in my mouth. The fish was perfectly cooked and the spot prawns incredibly fresh.  I am beginning to think there isn't a dish served at Provence that isn't near perfect.

 

Spot Prawn Entree
 BC Spot Prawn Duo Grilled and Provençal Style

BC Spot Prawn Duo Grilled and Provençal Style

 Halibut and BC Spot Prawns, paired with Le Vieux Pin Rose

Halibut and BC Spot Prawns, paired with Le Vieux Pin Rose



Near bursting, but needing photos of a dessert to complete our mission, our affable waiter talked us into the Lemon Tarte and the Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis. The lemon tarte, my selection, reminded of my dearly departed Granny's lemon meringue pie made from scratch; truly delicious! The clafoutis was a slightly tart, subtly sweet concoction which is worth the price of admission by itself.

All the while we were seated by the window overlooking one of the most beautiful marinas in Vancouver. The star of the marina is a 115-food Hotei; a luxury yacht that once hosted Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Well heeled Yaletowner (Taletownies) pass by on their way to or from their, no doubt, incredible waterfront condo views, people watching is stupendous! The ambience, without even mentioning the incredible, simply devine, food or extensive wine options, is enough to make Provence a must go! So just go!
 

 

 Dessert paired with Quails Gate Late Harvest

Dessert paired with Quails Gate Late Harvest

 Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis

Berry and White Chocolate Clafoutis

 Lemon Tarte

Lemon Tarte


All the while we were seated by the window overlooking one of the most beautiful marinas in Vancouver. The star of the marina is a 115-food Hotei; a luxury yacht that once hosted Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Well heeled Yaletowner (Taletownies) pass by on their way to or from their, no doubt, incredible waterfront condo views, people watching is stupendous! The ambience, without even mentioning the incredible, simply devine, food or extensive wine options, is enough to make Provence a must go! So just go!
 

Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Spot Prawn Series: Boulevard Vancouver by Jenn Chan

Boulevard Vancouver


The Sutton Place Hotel is a luxury property in the heart of Downtown Vancouver. It's common to see NHL players come and go when they're in town to face our Canucks or a swarm of Beliebers clambering to get a look at their idol. It's also home to the opulent Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar.
 

Executive Chef Alex Chen, fresh off of a fruitful career running the culinary program at the Beverly Hills Hotel, made his triumphant return to his native Vancouver in 2012. Since then he has been churning out his seafood-focused menu infused with a distinct West Coast flair.

 

Wine & Caesar


 

Our adventure started with a whimsical amuse bouche; melon espuma with prosciutto. A lovely, chilled creation which signalled the direction of things to come. Followed closely after was a chilled cucumber Gazpacho with poached spot prawns. It is a refreshing, well-balanced appetizer. The spot prawns were amazingly fresh and the Gazpacho tangy and flavourful.

 

 

   Amuse Bouche   - Melon Espuma, Prosciutto, compressed Melon    

Amuse Bouche- Melon Espuma, Prosciutto, compressed Melon

 

   App Feature Soup    - Chilled Cucumber ‘Gazpacho’, Poached Spot Prawn with Crispy Head, Gurnard Sashimi, Pumpernickle Crostini, Caraway Cream, Ikura (Cured Salmon Roe)

App Feature Soup - Chilled Cucumber ‘Gazpacho’, Poached Spot Prawn with Crispy Head, Gurnard Sashimi, Pumpernickle Crostini, Caraway Cream, Ikura (Cured Salmon Roe)

App Feature Soup Chilled Cucumber ‘Gazpacho’, Poached Spot Prawn with Crispy Head, Gurnard Sashimi, Pumpernickle Crostini, Caraway Cream, Ikura (Cured Salmon Roe)


 

Thoroughly anticipating the main course our genuinely vivacious waitress sauntered out of the kitchen holding a pair of masterpieces: the spot prawn feature with lemon and prosciutto butter on a bed of garlicky barley and a bouillabaisse with lobster and rock fish. Simply amazing! A culinary feat!

 

 

   Spot Prawn Feature -    Gratinee of Spot Prawns, Lemon + Prosciutto Butter, Garlicky Barley Grains, Crispy Heads with Lemon Aioli, Asparagus

Spot Prawn Feature - Gratinee of Spot Prawns, Lemon + Prosciutto Butter, Garlicky Barley Grains, Crispy Heads with Lemon Aioli, Asparagus

   Bouillabaisse -    lobster, local rock fish, saffron, rouille, gruyère, olive oil crostini

Bouillabaisse - lobster, local rock fish, saffron, rouille, gruyère, olive oil crostini


 

For dessert we indulged in Boulevard's signature opera bar and rose and rhubarb cake. The opera bar is chocolate ganache with coffee buttercream and hazelnut praline, fantastic! The rose and rhubarb cake, rhubarb currently being in season on the Westcoast, was a surprisingly sweet and tasty treat. When I think rhubarb I think of a sour, tart vegetable growing in the shade beside my childhood home. Throw that notion into the waste bin! Boulevard knows how to do rhubarb! Hands down the best rhubarb anything I have ever eaten and worth a visit on its own.

 

 

  opera bar  - chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream & biscuit, hazelnut praline, chocolate glacage, coffee ice cream

opera bar - chocolate ganache, coffee buttercream & biscuit, hazelnut praline, chocolate glacage, coffee ice cream

  rose & rhubarb cake  - rose white chocolate mousse, rhubarb compote, yogurt sorbet

rose & rhubarb cake - rose white chocolate mousse, rhubarb compote, yogurt sorbet


The dining room is breathtaking, clean and modern and the Gerard Lounge, a Vancouver landmark and winner of numerous hospitality awards, sits alongside with its dark wood and intimate atmosphere. Boulevard is an excellent place to stop in for a drink or try their incredible food!

 

Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Spot Prawn Series: Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour by Jenn Chan

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour

65% of the 2,450 metric tonnes of Spot Prawns harvested annually in BC come from the waters between Vancouver Island and the Vancouver. How lucky are we to live in this great land! Seriously. Just take a moment to appreciate our cultural bounty!
 
Hello Kitty Cocktail & Fat Tug
Spot Prawn Menu
Fresh Spot Prawns


 

Hapa Izakaya in Coal Harbour does an incredible Spot Prawn! Their Spot Prawn menu is straight to the point; a sashimi appetizer and a Spot Prawn Mushiyaki entrée. If you like Spot Prawns and you like sashimi then you can't help but appreciate their incredibly fresh prawns served on ice with lemons and limes accompanied by their heads, deep fried! The prawns were pulled from the water that day and were incredibly sweet. The heads, which I generally disregard, were very tasty in their light tempura batter and deep fried perfectly.

 

 

 

 Spot Prawn Sashimi with Deep Fried Heads

Spot Prawn Sashimi with Deep Fried Heads


 

Before our entrée arrived our feast was brought out for our inspection. Lively and wriggling their freshness was verified by eyewitness account. They are cooked in the traditional Japanese Mushiyaki style, translates to 'steaming cooking' in English and came out cooked perfectly. The mixture of soy, garlic and butter was the perfect compliment and the dish, with, or perhaps in spite of its simplicity, was near perfect.

 

 

 

 Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - PREP

Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - PREP

 Spot Prawn Mushiyaki in Clear Cooking Film to be steamed

Spot Prawn Mushiyaki in Clear Cooking Film to be steamed

 Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - STEAMED

Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - STEAMED

 Ready to be served

Ready to be served

Spot Prawn Mushiyaki
 Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - Ready to Eat!

Spot Prawn Mushiyaki - Ready to Eat!


 

The restaurant is lovely, the location is excellent, a mere stone's throw to the Burrard Inlet and the cruise ship terminal, the wait staff were polite and genuine and the food and drink is reasonably priced and the selection well varied; something for everyone! Do yourself a favour and head down there Rumour has it their Happy Hour, sorry Hapa Hour, is incredible. Could be a good way to dip your toe in the pool!

 

 

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Top Patios in Vancouver Series & Spot Prawn Menu: The Vancouver Fish Company by Jenn Chan

The Vancouver Fish Company

 

I had never been to the Vancouver Fish Company (VFC). If I'm honest I'm not sure that I've ever really noticed VFC. Right as you come into Granville Island the road starts to usher you to the right and becomes a one way. Right as this happens, if you're able to split your focus, you'll see the VFC. The first establishment in the first building on the left.


What a delightful surprise the restaurant and their patio is! You might think, given my description of their location, that they aren't on the water, but you would be wrong! Overlooking a lovely marina, with its centrepiece, a pirate ship moored directly in front, their huge patio gets 6-7 hours of direct sun per day! 

The Vancouver Fish Company
The Vancouver Fish Company
The Vancouver Fish Company Menu

 

Another advantage of their ideal location is the fish merchant docked a stone's throw away. Organic Ocean boasts some of Vancouver's, nay the world's, freshest and best seafood. Our appetizer was our fifth meal which included the glorious Spot Prawn and the season was only a week old. The Maple Walnut Spot Prawns were my favourite iteration to date! Deep fried in a very light batter with genuine Maple Syrup, toasted sesame seeds and fresh walnuts. In practice I avoid the head of the magnificent crustacean. When they're only lightly poached there's goo in there. It's runny and it looks funny, but when you deep fry them and toss them in the succulent ingredients I will eat the head, brains, legs, shells, anything! A complete 10/10! Why are you still reading this? Go! Go!


 

 Maple Walnut Spot Prawns

Maple Walnut Spot Prawns

 

My partner doubled up on the Spot Prawns and chose the Curried Spot Prawn Bisque. She cooed and giggled and eat that plate at a speed that bordered on unladylike, but a genuine compliment to the kitchen! She was quick to state it was her favourite Spot Prawn dish of the season thus far and will still brings it up from time to time. Not being a curry fan I didn't partake, but we will take her word for it? Or should we all try it ourselves? I'll leave that up to you.

 

 

 Curried Spot Prawn Bisque

Curried Spot Prawn Bisque

 

One of the best perks of being a lifestyle blogger is the personal treatment from our culinary heroes. Chef John McManus, formerly the Sous Chef of Stanley Park's uber famous Fish House, was gracious enough to give us some of his time, have a lovely little chat and recommend to me my entrée: the Trio of Fish. Decadent filets of Ahi Tuna, Smoked Sablefish and a lovely Sockeye Salmon resting on a bed of perfectly cooked potatoes. My favourite was the tuna, a close second the sablefish and the salmon, while transcendent, sadly had to take up third place! An absolutely fantastic meal!

 

 

Trio of Fish
Trio of Fish

 

For dessert we ordered the Banoffee Pie, a lovely mixture of fresh bananas, cream and toffee from boiled condensed milk. Simple delicious and worth the trip on its own. Trust me with the ambience, incredible food and reasonable prices you will love the Vancouver Fish Company!


 

 Banofee Pie

Banofee Pie

Word: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan