Monday, March 24, 2014

Cork & Fin

I had been to Cork & Fin several times over the past two years before dining there recently, but only for their 5:00-6:30pm buck-a-shuck sessions, or a random drink. I really wanted to have a full meal in order to see what the kitchen was capable of, and to see whether the food could stand up to the slick and comfortable ambiance of the space that I had enjoyed in the past while shooting oysters. Valentine's Day seemed to be the perfect excuse to test this Gastown brasserie.

I was impressed from the get-go as our table was ready right upon arrival and we were given a primo spot on the cozy second floor, overlooking the main dining area and oyster bar below. We started our meal with a glass of French bubbly, which whet our appetites for the first course of this Valentine's set menu.

The first dish was a crudo platter consisting of six Kusshis, tuna tartar, cured salmon, and scallop sashimi. All of the seafood was clean tasting, subtle, and elegantly presented.

The second dish was an unusual and harmonious octopus salad. This looked a bit intimidating at first glance because the slices of octopus were abnormally large when recalling salads of a similar ilk; however, this grilled cephalopod was tender, and married perfectly with the roasted tomatoes and greens upon which it rested. 

For the third course, I had the egg yolk ravioli with a butter parmesan sauce and my girlfriend had the arctic char with fennel and blood orange salad. These two dishes were perfect counterpoints to one another: the pasta was rich and soft, while the char and salad were light and palate-cleansing. The portions were also bang on, as this protein-heavy menu meant that we couldn't have handled huge servings of pasta and fish.

The dessert echoed the yin-yang balance that existed between the pasta and char, and presented itself in the form of a flossy pavlova and a luscious pistachio chocolate mousse. On its own, the pavlova would have been too light. And by itself, the mousse would have been too heavy. But together, they were perfect.

This meal, and this 2014 Valentine's eve, could not have been more enjoyable or satisfying. We popped our heads into the kitchen as we were leaving to give our thanks to the chef, Cayley Milne, who is doing an amazing job at Cork & Fin. We will definitely be back.

Keywords: "Cayley Milne chef", "Best Vancouver Seafood", "Cork & Fin review"