“Nothing here needs an explanation,” says Owen Knowlton, restaurant and wine director at Vancouver’s West. The inimitable South Granville staple has leveraged itself as a destination for West Coast fine dining, but that doesn’t mean things have to be complicated; as Knowlton notes, executive chef Bobby Milheron is keeping things simple and approachable this season. And tonight, as Milheron’s Summer Prix Fixe menu is served at an exclusive preview dinner, the dishes certainly do speak for themselves.
To start, consider a nippy Royal Rose cocktail: a blend of Lillet rose, hibiscus tea, honey, and sparkling wine. Then it’s on to the first course, a choice between Sawmill Bay oysters; melon gazpacho with prosciutto; asparagus salad; or heirloom tomato salad with black olive, focaccia, and lovage. A member of the waitstaff suggests adding burrata to the tomatoes, and it proves to be the best advice of the evening; the generous helping of soft cheese from Puglia is so creamy, so decadent.
When it comes time for mains, guests can savour a juicy AAA flatiron steak (with option to upgrade to a tenderloin) served alongside creamed corn, new potatoes, and grilled onion, or go for rich, citrus-coloured ricotta squash gnudi, or dig into Coho salmon with chorizo and “green goddess” dressing. Guests have West’s impeccable wine list at their fingertips as well, and dishes are, as is always the case here, paired expertly.
For dessert, the gooey and creamy Guanaja chocolate souffle with added-on vanilla crème anglais is divine, as is the aesthetically-pleasing strawberry shortcake. But it’s the white chocolate cheesecake, served with raspberry gelato on a bed of hazelnut dacquoise, that truly brings summer to life. It’s a completely dynamic and refreshing, albeit indulgent, seasonal treat.
Milheron’s masterful attitude towards food—innovative, but practical when necessary—shines through in this prix fixe. Summer is about harnessing the freshness of B.C. and translating it onto the plate, and chef does so with exceptional skill, precision, and elegance.
Eat and drink your way through life.