The “New” Goldfish: Goldfish Seafood & Chops

Yaletown's Goldfish Seafood & Chops. Photo: Dana Lynch

For most Vancouverites, Yaletown’s Goldfish restaurant needs no introduction. Owned by renowned Vancouver restaurateur Bud Kanke and the sister-restaurant of the famous Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House, Goldfish has long been a local favourite, inspiring a loyal following both in Yaletown and across the Lower Mainland. I’ve met people from Burnaby to Delta that travel to Vancouver just to dine at Goldfish.

Still, Goldfish didn’t achieve its accolades and popularity by resting on its laurels. Always dynamic, the restaurant upped the ante last month by renaming itself Goldfish Seafood & Chops (formerly Goldfish Pacific Kitchen) and revitalizing its menu and identity by focusing on strong, clean flavours, simple and perfectly-prepared seafood, and gorgeous meats.

Don’t worry: the beloved Braised Beef Short Ribs are still there—along with other signature dishes—but now you can pair your favourites with an array of new seafood options, from Goldfish’s premium oysters to the famous Joe Fortes Seafood Tower.

Diners enjoy the Goldfish's new Joe Fortes Seafood Tower on the patio. Photo: Dana Lynch

Last night, my partner and I had a chance to experience the “new” Goldfish. With a culinary team led by Scott Pratico, who also helms Joe Fortes, the revitalized Goldfish is buzzing with fresh energy. A brand-new oyster bar has been built in the main dining room, and the lovely, open-air back patio was full of diners indulging in the decadent Joe Fortes Seafood Tower. (One couple, who was there to celebrate a birthday, told me that just one tier of the tower was more food than they could finish—though they loved every bite!)

Wanting to explore a wide-range of dishes, my partner and I opted for a sort of “chef’s choice” five-course meal; we asked General Manager Thomas Beetlestone and our fabulous server Jeff to “surprise us.”  For our first course, Jeff brought us the Ahi Tuna Poke Tower—a mix of ahi tuna, albacore tuna and Hamachi that’s one of Bud Kanke’s favourite dishes—and the new Vodka Cured Sockeye Salmon Pastrami.

Goldfish's new Vodka Cured Sockeye Salmon Pastrami. Photo: Dana Lynch

The Vodka Cured Sockeye Salmon Pastrami epitomizes the new direction of Goldfish’s cuisine: it takes a seafood staple—salmon—and creates a bold, innovative dish full of clean, simple flavours. Arranged like vibrant rose buds around a salad of arugula, creme fraiche, and crunchy potatoes, the salmon is house-cured and finished with a salty pastrami-style rub usually reserved for cured meats. The result is an ideal taste combination: the salt of the salmon works beautifully with the crisp, fresh greens; I loved it!

Steamed Mussels at Goldfish Seafood & Chops. Photo: Dana Lynch

For a middle course, we had the Steamed Mussels. Though mussels have always been on the menu at Goldfish, this standard has been re-invented, too: the sauce’s flavours have been enhanced, with ginger, chili, garlic, coriander, and a splash of sake, and the mussels themselves are cooked quickly and perfectly. Fresh from B.C.’s Sawmill Bay Beach, beautiful cleaned (there wasn’t a trace of grit), and meaty without being chewy, these mussels were the best I’ve had in years!

For our entrees, we tried two of Goldfish’s signature dishes: the Miso Sablefish and the enormously popular Braised Beef Short Ribs.

Goldfish's signature Miso Sablefish. Photo: Dana Lynch

Sablefish has become a standard in Vancouver seafood restaurants, but few versions are as well-loved as Goldfish’s. Marinated for 24 hours in a house-made mixture of miso paste, soy and mirin, the sablefish is deftly cooked to temperature so that the marinade doesn’t tarnish the delicate texture of the fish.

The famous Braised Beef Short Rib at Goldfish Seafood & Chops. Photo: Dana Lynch

Despite having heard tales of Goldfish’s remarkable Braised Beef Short Ribs, I had never tried them before last night. After the first bite I understood exactly why this was the rock-star dish. Braised slowly for five hours until it falls off the bone at the slightest touch of your fork, the short ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender, richly aromatic, and bursting with full flavour and just a hint of sweetness.

Finally, we topped off our meal by sharing the yummy Strawberry Panna Cotta dessert: peanut butter shortbread, strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, and a balsamic reduction.

Goldfish's Strawberry Panna Cotta dessert. Photo: Dana Lynch

Located in the heart of Yaletown’s vibrant dining-and-nightlife district, Goldfish is already well known for its delicious cuisine. It’s new, revitalized menu—with its focus on simple, clean flavours, seafood, and steaks—will certainly win it even more loyal followers.

Try the “new” Goldfish Seafood & Chops for yourself—get there before summer ends so you can sit on the lovely patio— and then come back and tell us what you think. I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we did!

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