View? What View?
The Observatory is Vancouver’s highest restaurant. Located 3,700 feet above sea level on Grouse Mountain, The Observatory is known for its view as much as its food. However, for our Dine Out Vancouver night, a cloud had decided to descend on the mountain and destroy any view that may have been there. Visibility was about 50 feet. After that, nothing but white.
Normally, dinner at The Observatory is very expensive. So expensive in fact, the restaurant waives the $29.95 per person Skyride fee if you dine there. Tickets to the ice skating rink, sleigh rides and Grouse Mountain’s Theatre in the Sky are also complimentary with the dinner reservation.
Eleven months of the year, The Observatory is a great second or third date restaurant. During Dine Out Vancouver month, it’s a really great first date restaurant because of all the complimentary perks you get for just $35.00 per person. Hell, the Skyride to the top of the mountain cost $29.95 so dinner really cost you only $5.05. After dinner, you can go on a sleigh ride, take a spin around the outdoor ice rink and then take in a Theatre in the Sky show. Add the cost of all that and you’ll come out ahead! She’ll think you spent you a fortune on her when you’re really a cheap ass! 😀
Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan and Truffles
This was my starter course, Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan and Truffles. It was paired with a glass of Pentage Pinot Noir 2004. I could tell from the first taste, The Observatory was going to be better than Le Gavroche. Even though the chef used more truffle oil than truffles, the soup was to die for and made for a great opening course.
Poached Bosc Pear and Aged Cheddar Salad
This was Sarah’s appetizer. It was made with winter greens, buttermilk cream, maple candied pecans, pear and walnut vinaigrette. The salad was extremely refreshing and surprising sweet and tangy. I didn’t think pears and cheddar can work together but The Observatory pulled it off. It was one of the most creative salads I’ve ever tried.
Grilled Rib Eye Steak
For the main course, I ordered the Grilled Rib Eye Steak with hand-made chips, BÃ©arnaise sauce, button onions, and watercress. The chef paired the steak with a Lake Breeze Cabernet-Merlot 2004 and hit the bull’s-eye! The steak was very tender and the sauce didn’t overpower the flavor of the meat at all. Instead, it served as a balancing ingredient for the wine.
Roasted Arctic Char
Sarah’s main course was the Roasted Arctic Char with olive oil pomme puree, red pepper and basil compote. It was much better than the Wild Salmon with Sauce Vierge she had at Le Gavroche. The Observatory’s fish had more flavor and was even tenderer.
Dark Chocolate Coulant
This dessert really put the exclamation point on a fantastic meal. The presentation and plating was as good as you could get – very imaginative. I had it with a glass of Gehringer Late Harvest Riesling 2005. The pairing was as close to perfect as you’re going to get it. By itself, the Riesling was too sweet. With the dessert, it was a match made in heaven.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Sarah’s dessert was the sticky Toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. Again, very nice plating and presentation. Sarah almost didn’t want to eat it because it look so good. I would have loved to try it with the wine that was paired for it but Sarah didn’t order her dinner with the wine pairing.
Just like the last Dine Out, I was the only person to order dinner with the wine pairing and I’m glad I did. The wines selected for the three-course dinner were extraordinary, and at $28.00, it was almost as expensive as the dinner. However, it was well worth it.
This is the second time we have dined at The Observatory and once again, we came away feeling we got more than our money’s worth – dinner at The Observatory during Dine Out Vancouver is an absolute steal! Maybe it was a Monday and the restaurant didn’t have a full house, or maybe this is how the place always runs, but everything from the foods and wines to the service were top notch.
Dinner for the four of us came to $200.00 with tips. I would have happily paid three times that amount, and during a non Dine Out month, I would. Overall, I rate The Observatory 4.5 out of five stars. It loses the half star because of that view blocking cloud.