Last night was the “Media Preview” for Dine Out 2012, the Vancouver restaurant event where 200+ restaurants offer discount, three-course menus for $18, $28 or $38. (This year’s 10th anniversary Dine Out is packed with foodie events: including Plated and Paired, Dine Academy, Secret Supper Soiree, Act I Eat 1, Street Food City, Salt Pepper, and Brasserie Mystere; read more here.)
At the Preview, representatives from all types of media—journalists, bloggers, TV- and radio personalities—gathered at the Wedgewood Hotel for appetizers before being divided into smaller groups; each group then headed to two different Dine Out restaurants to sample their Dine Out 2012 menus (and report on the food, naturally).
For my group, which included CBC’s Margaret Gallagher and Urban Foodie Anya Levykh, the first restaurant we sampled was West Vancouver’s Beachside Forno, which has an incredible $18 menu you won’t want to miss!
Located on the waterfront in West Vancouver’s Ambleside neighbourhood (just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver), the three-year-old Beachside Forno is stylish, West Coast casual, boasts fabulous views, and has an $18 Dine Out menu that puts to shame many higher-priced restaurants. Dedicated to high-end “comfort food,” Beachside Forno’s hip young Chef Jason Harris has created a menu that highlights the restaurant’s house-made pastas, locally-sourced meats, and delicious flavour combinations.
For starters, the $18 Dine Out Menu offers a choice of Caramelized Onion and Chicken Soup, Fraser Valley Pork Pate, and Wild Greens and Baby Herb Salad. Go with a friend so you can each try the soup and salad. A twist on the classic French onion soup, the Caramelized Onion and Chicken Soup is divinely aromatic and very rich; I loved the onion flan and crispy cheese on top. The salad was fabulous, too, combining roasted pears, pickled shallots, sunflower seeds, and a hint of spice.
But it was definitely the entrees that had the entire group clamouring for more. Dine Out guests get a choice of three outstanding dishes: a House-made Parmesan Gnocchi (which, if you love gnocchi, should not be missed), Salt Spring Mussels and Fries (the mussels are infused with flavour from the house-made chorizo sausage and tomato puttanesca broth; pictured at top), and a Braised Peace Country Lamb Orecchiettei in a meaty, dark “cafe au lait” sauce that was the biggest hit at our table.
These plates may look deceptively simple, but let me assure you: every one of these dishes are so heady and robust, our entire table was eager to lap up the last drop.
Seriously, mussels or lamb orecchiettei and an appetizer and a choice of Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait or Orange Creme Brulee for $18?! This is exactly what Dine Out is about: enticing diners to try something new (like heading to West Van for dinner) while offering incredible value at the same time.
You can book your table for Beachside Forno’s Dine Out Vancouver 2012 today. I promise: this one is absolutely worth the drive!
Look for Dine Out 2012 Sneak Peak, Part II: Chinois’s $28 Menu coming soon!