Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jackie's Birthday @ Cedar Grove Restaurant in Lynn Valley

It was my youngest sister’s birthday, so obviously she got to pick the venue. She originally suggested a few places in her neighbourhood- but then threw a massive change-up and picked a new restaurant in Lynn Valley near our parent’s place. I don’t think of Lynn Valley as a culinary destination- there are only a handful of options and the selection is pretty limited. I was curious to try out this new kid on the block (part of the library mall area), but had pretty low expectations.
This restaurant opened in May 2010 and I think they are suffering a bit of an identity crisis. The décor and giant screen TV’s give the place a chain-restaurant/pub feel, and there are a few obligatory pub menu items…..but the food deserves a bit better. The menu is packed with delicious sounding dishes with a heavy European influence (venison ragu, red wine and thyme braised short ribs, steak frites, and pan- seared duck breast)- with pub/chain standard dishes that sound like they’ve got a special touch and quality ingredients (woodland mushroom pizza, lamb burger with gorgonzola, roasted beet salad.)

The birthday girl ordered the Larson Vegetarian Burger, a Hemp-hazelnut crusted carrot & cashew burger garnished with a tangy beetroot relish & crumbled goat cheese  ($10.95) with a side of roasted pumpkin soup. She was loving her meal and let me have a bite. This was made in-house and had an awesome crisp on the outside of the patty. The goat cheese and beet root relish were an awesome compliment and the flavours all blended together quite nicely. The pumpkin soup was really thick and creamy, with a subtle flavour.

Her girlfriend Ashley, went for The Karma Bowl with marinated tofu, simmered in a tomato curry sauce, over fragrant basmati rice, garnished w/ Raita & chutney, grilled naan bread ($15.95). Another satisfied customer! She loved this dish because it was fairly mild and she isn’t a big spice fan. I had a bite and found it tasty but pretty bland. If I’m having an Indian dish, I want big flavour and spice.

My mom had The Squealer, pulled pork simmered in our signature BBQ Sauce, then topped with crunchy coleslaw server in a kaiser($10.95) with a side of her favourite…Yam Fries. She was happy with her meal and liked that the coleslaw was on the bun and not too goopy. I had a little bite and it was tasty with a nice tangy sauce.

I must admit, I had a hard time dragging my fork away from my main to sample everyone else’s dishes because it was definitely the star of the table in my opinion. I had the Cashew Carrot Veggie Loaf with tamari-mushroom gravy, roasted fingerling potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables  ($15.95). This plate was a dynamite blend of flavours and textures. The exterior of the loaf was crispy and slightly crunchy, and the inside was smooth and creamy with a rich flavour in every bite. The loaf was served with tender roast green beans, crimini mushrooms, and perfectly crisp and lightly-salted potatoes. A light, yet rich-tasting miso-mushroom gravy topped everything and brought all the flavours together. This tasted like the perfect “fall” meal and I loved every bite.

Our server was a lovely woman with an extremely thick French accent. She was attentive with re-fills, quick to answer any questions we had, and brought Jackie a complimentary birthday dessert- a vanilla berry mousse cake. I hope this place decides to step out of the safety of the pub/chain feel and establish itself as something the neighbourhood doesn’t have: a non-pretentious fine dining eatery with a low key classy atmosphere. Even if it doesn’t, I’ll still come back for that Cashew Carrot Loaf. YUM!

Cedar Grove Restaurant
(778) 340-3282             
North Vancouver
1255 Lynn Valley Road
North Vancouver District, BC

No comments: