Sunday, February 28, 2010
I remember walking along Granville - year after year - wondering about what would become of the historic and vacant Hudson Building at Dunsmuir. The building was finally gutted in 2007 and steak magnate David Aisenstat was able to lease the space in June of that year. He promptly hired Elaine Thorsell of Boti Interiors to begin an $8 million renovation of the space, and the interiors were coated in a mid-century patina of Mahogany and dark velvet. The nine-meter neon sign out along Granville also fits in nicely with the retro Vogue and Orpheum singage, which mark a revival of the city's theatre district that was thriving in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Shore Club is divided between two floors: a casual and lofty lounge on the bottom, and a formal diningroom upstairs. Reflecting Aisenstat's passion for the East Coast steakhouse and the bygone "dining club" era, the lounge specializes in cocktails, but they also have a fine selection of draft beer.
Six of the nine people at our table ordered (surprise, surprise) steak. Our placid waiter recommended the bouillabaisse and the filet-prawns surf n' turf. I decided to opt for the former because it sounded amazing and I wanted to experience something different from The Shore Club's doppelganger, Gotham. I felt bad that the only thing on my mind as the steaks approached was my meal at Gotham a while back. However, all thoughts (and I mean alll) thoughts evaporated as my dish arrived before me. The bouillabaisse was bombastic, and I could barely see everyone's expressions of exasperation over this superstructure of scallops, snow crab and shrimp...standing within a clear saffron broth. The dish also contained mussels, halibut and clams. It was a veritable Casa Batllo of crustaceans!
My dining companions touted the sauteed asparagus, the spicy mushrooms and the salt and vinegar shoestring fries as sides to their steaks. They were not so keen on the steamed broccoli, the mashed potatoes or the tempura onion rings.
While our meal was faultless, I will not be back to The Shore Club's diningroom. I would rather bask in the restaurant's $8 million lounge, watch the game on one of the numerous flatscreens, and then mosey on down to Gastown to eat from one of the city's more innovative, creative kitchens. This plan will also enable me to return home at the end of the night with an extra $30-$50 in my tight little pockets.