Yesterday, in Part I of my Dine Out 2012 Sneak Preview, I wrote about attending the Media Preview for Dine Out Vancouver 2012, where I joined a group of Vancouver reporters and media personalities to sample the Dine Out Menus at two restaurants: Beachside Forno in Ambleside and the new Chinois Restaurant in Yaletown.
Chinois was the second stop in our Dine Out tour, and our group was super excited to try it; for many of us, this was our first chance to sample their stylish, contemporary Chinese cuisine. Owner Peter Girges, the man behind Opus Hotel’s pop-up restaurant 100 Days, opened Chinois in November 2011 because he felt Vancouver (unlike Richmond) lacked a true “destination Chinese restaurant.” Their $28 Dine Out Menu is the perfect chance to see for yourself if Chinois has succeeded. (Spoiler: They definitely have!)
One thing to keep in mind when dining at Chinois: the plates—in particular, the main courses—are huge. They’re made for sharing, and, since you’ll choose one for your Dine Out entree, you should have plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Not bad for $28!
While all three of the Chinois Dine Out starters—a BBQ Sampler, Sweet Corn Soup (with Dungeness crab instead of the traditional chicken), and the Deep Fried Crab Claw (pictured at top)—are winners, I highly recommend the Crab Claw. Not only did it look fantastic—it’s always fun to dig into a beautiful dish—it was crisp, meaty, and the accompanying coleslaw had just the right amount of spice.
For the main course, we were wowed by three huge plates: Jumbo Prawns with candied walnuts and broccoli in a (lightly) spicy cream sauce, Black Pepper Steak Tenderloin with wok-fried onions and mushrooms, and a Spicy Kung Pao Chicken (which is spicy, so be aware). While Kendall Harris of Shaw TV’s The Express (one my dinner companions) adored the Jumbo Shrimp—she made a point to say she’ll be back for the official Dine Out at Chinois—my favourite was the Black Pepper Steak.
Cooked perfectly, incredibly tender, and infused with flavour, the Black Pepper Steak was one of those dishes I just couldn’t get enough of. Man, it’s good!
It’s worth noting, too, that Chinois has a fabulous menu of both original cocktails and non-alcoholic “mocktails.” Delicious and refreshing, the mocktails—including the Lotus Flower (lychee-infused Simple Syrup, fresh-pressed orange juice, and soda)—were developed especially for Chinois by Chambar-alum Wendy McGuinness and Chinois mixologist Jimmy Shelton.
Dine Out Vancouver 2012 runs from January 20 – February 5, 2012.