I recently had the pleasure of visiting Blue Water Cafe for a special occasion. If you ask locals about good seafood restaurants, Blue Water Cafe inevitably comes up. As with most eateries in Yaletown, you have the choice dining outdoors on the patio or inside the restaurant.
As it was such a gorgeous day in Vancouver, there was no hesitation in choosing where to sit. Although the interior is perfect for a fine dining experience, a summer day in Vancouver calls for enjoying libations and food outside.
Usually when fine dining, you look for three things: 1. Impeccable Food, 2. Unbelievable Service, and 3. Exquisite Ambiance. Within the first few minutes I knew that #2 and #3 would be satisfied. It was time to see if the food would meet the standards, as people highly rave about this place!
First, it’s worth mentioning that our server that day had an excellent ability to deliver despite his coverage of a large amount of tables. When a waiter can do this without seeming frantic or rushed, it really shows they’re a professional. Throughout the night, I felt the service was excellent! Now let’s get to the food, after all, this is a food blog and not a ‘service’ blog.
Bread – 4.5/5
First up was the bread, which came with a delicious yam spread. The bread was a tad dry, but otherwise very good.
Albacore Tuna Carpaccio – 5/5
This appetizer was EXCELLENT! Spice crusted local white tuna, nicoise vegetable salad, with roasted red pepper anchovy vinaigrette. Beautifully presented and flavors all worked well together. Presentation of the dish was just sublime! And despite the combination of many ingredients and extra flavors in this dish, the natural texture and taste of the tuna still shone through. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised. I would recommend this dish without hesitation.
Aka Maguro (Red Tuna Sashimi) – 3.5/5
The red tuna sashimi was good, but that’s it. I think there was something that detracted from the full enjoyment of the tuna and that was the cut. The grain direction of the tuna affects the texture quite a bit. It wasn’t a favorite for me. I found it rather chewy.
Tuna Gomae – 1.5/5
This dish was probably the weakest of the whole night. The lack of freshness in the tuna ruined the dish. On the other hand, the sesame marinade itself was quite nice. To be perfectly honest, any sushi restaurant would easily compete with this dish.
Oysters – 4/5
Fresh oysters have always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Nothing beats a fresh oyster, with the emphasis on fresh! While the menu at Blue Water Cafe had an extensive list of oysters, there were 6 available for order.
Caraquet (from New Brunswick) – rather sweet with a mild finish
Chef’s Creek (from Deep Bay, BC) – salty and sweet
Kumamoto (from Washington, USA) – fatty and rich texture
Kusshi (from Cortez Island, BC) – small oyster with a mild finish
Sawmule (from Bay Read Island, BC) – sweet with a smokey finish. Forgot to snap a photo. Oops!
Shigoku (harvested from Willapa Bay, Washington) – taste of cucumber and salt.
After carefully tasting all 6 oysters, I concluded that the Caraquet was my least favourite. For some reason I don’t enjoy the flavour of wast coast oysters as much as west coast ones. The Shigoku and the Kunamoto were my favorite, both being Washington oysters. I believe for the other oysters, you can get the same oyster taste elsewhere at a cheaper price. Overall, I definitely enjoyed these guys.
Stamina Roll – 3/5
This sushi roll consists of real fresh crab, barbequed eel (unagi), smoked salmon, and a sweet soy glaze. While it sounded very good and I was looking forward to the roll, there was something that reduced the potential of the roll which was the rice. It was really hard packed, which I did not expected. Good sushi has the rice barely held together. I was a little surprised at this.
Beef Sashimi – 5/5
Wow, this dish really surprised me! Amazing beef sashimi at a seafood restaurant? The tenderness of the dish, combined with the garlic chips and yu’kke sauce really made it. The outside was seared perfectly and the inner texture of the beef was just awesome. It was the most memorable dish of the night.
Tsunami (Thinly Sliced Hamachi with Jalapeno, Ginger, and Sesame oil) – 4.5/5
Another excellent dish. The spiciness of pepper was really nice with the sesame oil and the hamachi.
And all this is just leading up to the main courses!
Atlantic Lobster Poached – 5/5
When I heard of the fresh lobster flown in from eastern Canada, I pretty much knew I would get this main for the night. The server recommended out of the choice of boiled, poached, or grilled, that they were the best at making the poached version, so I went for it.
Talk about interesting presentation. The head had nothing in it, and the chef had de-clawed the lobster for serving. The buttery sauce was awesome as was bed of vegetables the lobster was sitting on. Baby potatoes were cooked nicely.
Sable Fish (Miso Sake Glaze, Baby Bok Choy, Edamame, Quinoa, Shiitake Mushrooms, Bonito Dashi with Yuzu) – 5/5
Wow. Bravo. Another excellent main dish. Perfectly cooked fish, and the combination of ingredients was amazing. A great seafood dish must possess this attribute: the additional flavour of any ingredients added must not overpower the natural flavour of the base seafood you are using. This dish accomplishes exactly that.
Onward to the desserts! But wow! What a meal thus far!
Blue Water Cafe is part of a restaurant group that includes the famous Thierry Patisserie Cafe, so it wasn’t a surprise that their dessert menu took a page straight out of Thierry’s.
Chocolate Mousse and Banana – 4/5
Totally forgot to note the name of this dessert. Oops! I’d be interested if Thierry provides this dessert for them.
Warm Dark Cuban Chocolate Cake, Brandy Truffle Center, Vanilla Bean ice cream - 4/5
How does something so simple work so incredibly well? Just a perfectly warm chocolate cake mixed with a perfect scoop of ice cream infused with vanilla bean. There’s nothing to say except it was excellent. The powdered sugar adds aesthetic appeal, but for the dish I felt it wasn’t really necessary.
Scoop of Pistachio Ice Cream – 5/5
Having had pistachio ice cream the other day I was curious to see what Blue Water Cafe’s pistachio tasted like. It wasn’t on the menu as a separate item; rather it was part of another dessert. Our server said it wasn’t an issue to get a scoop of it so we could try it. Surprisingly, it may have been my favorite out of all three desserts.
Thierry Macaroons – 5/5
Well, these takeout macaroons are straight from Thierry, so no surprises there. For anyone who’s been to Thierry, they know these macaroons are definitely up there. This was a nice little snack for take out after.
After Dessert Cappucino – 3/5
Not the greatest cappucino I’ve ever had, that honour probably goes to Thomas Haas, but no where close to the worse. The foam art could have been nicer, but hey, they’re a seafood restaurant, not a coffee bar.
Well there you go. A special meal for a special occasion. Worth the cost.
Overall:Overall, a really solid seafood restaurant, albeit a little pricey.
*Our scoring system is out of 5. With 5 being the highest score.