**Recommendations: Olympic cocktails, Reuben Spring Roll, Tuna Tartare, Mango Ravioli, Martini (ice cream) glass for 2, and I guess the Olympic burger for kicks.
So?! What did you think?! I don’t know what I’m more excited about?!? This official launch for the FIRST EVER Follow Me Foodie webisode, or the size of this Olympic Burger!? Actually, more importantly, what were YOU more excited for? Feel free to leave comments or subscribe to my youtube channel here. Of course, the video doesn’t replace my essay like blog posts, so for more details regarding the food it’s always best to follow up by my posts.
It’s that time of year again! Wait, what time of year? Well, technically there’s no “again” because this is the first time it’s being done. But from February 12 – 28, YEW Restaurant & Bar is bringing back some of the favourite Olympic items offered last year. That’s right! It has already been a year since CANADA WON GOLD FOR MEN AND WOMEN’S HOCKEY, and YEW located in downtown at The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver is reliving the moments by welcoming back the menu they launched especially for the Olympics 2010.
When I think of “hotel restaurant”, it’s not necessarily positive things that come to mind. However, the whole concept of “hotel restaurant” is changing and YEW proves to be doing things differently. A lot of the clientele here are actually locals and the menu features West Coast and Pacific Northwest cuisine.
The Olympic Burger was the particular focus in the video, however it’s not really representable of what YEW does on a regular basis. Nonetheless, only one Asian man named Dennis Pang, and one 6 foot woman as EVER finished this burger… I’m not 6 feet, so it wasn’t me. Good guess though! I got through 3/4 of the burger… but if you’re up for the challenge then you better head over before February 28!
A big thank you to the best camera crew, Justin from Three Sixty Photo and Steve Tan from SteveTan.Net. Professional photos courtesy of Jeff Tan.
On the table:
The Olympic Burger – 3.5/6
1 ½ pound serving of Kobe and Alberta Beef, Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms, Double Smoked Canadian Tyroler Bacon, Tomato Chili Jam and Agassiz Farmhouse Cheddar all nestled between a buttery Brioche Bun $40
It’s MASSIVE first of all. I got through about 3/4 of it on another night. I wasn’t stuffed after, but I had to allow room for dessert and I did already have the appetizers… so I had to pace.
For $40 it’s actually not a bad deal considering it’s made for 4 people, but it would requite sides. Two guys could eat this no problem… with the fries.
Was it the best burger? No. It was actually a very basic burger with typical flavours, but the ingredients were very fresh and high in quality.
It was 1/2 just for novelty and 1/2 an actually good burger.
The hardest part was eating the burger and you had to squish it down to get a little bit of everything in one bite.
There was a lot of beef and the website actually states it’s made with “1 ½ pound serving of Kobe and Alberta Beef”. It was a very char grilled patty so that charred flavour really stood out. The meat was a bit dry and I can’t say it was the most enjoyable part of the burger, and in a way it kind of should be. I would have preferred medium rare though.
I could not taste the wild mushrooms (website says Chanterelles) at all and I probably wouldn’t have known there were mushrooms if I wasn’t told.
The ingredients were fresh, but I also couldn’t taste the Tomato Chili Jam either, especially considering how much meat and bread there was, it was completely overshadowed and not saucy. On the other hand the sharp white cheddar cheese really did stand out.
There were 4 strips of thick cut salty crispy bacon which were perfect. The amount was significant enough to taste and it added to a lot of the flavour along with the patty and cheese. Those were the 3 most dominant ingredients.
The brioche bun is made in house and as much as I love brioche, this was more of brioche loaf than a bun. Therefore the crumb was tighter and it was more dense and crumbly. This is common for brioche loaves and I can understand making a brioche loaf instead of a bun since it had to hold all the ingredients of such an enormous burger. However, in any other burger scenario, I would prefer a softer lighter brioche bun to a brioche loaf.
The ratio of bread and filling was actually very good, but since the brioche and meat were so dense it was hard to finish both so you might end up not eating some of the bread (if your aiming to eat the whole thing, if you’re just doing the 1/4 it’s the right ratio)
Yam Fries – good, crispy and well seasoned.
The following portion of this post is from a previous media dinner I was invited to at YEW Restaurant & Bar. This was not part of the Follow Me Foodie video series. YEW is a restaurant, lounge and bar and they have a killer cocktail and wine list. I actually really like how they offer up bar tapas and dessert tapas, so it a place that caters to all hours of the day.
Peking Duck & Spring Onion Pancake- 2.5/6
With Hoisin dipping sauce $2
If you’re Chinese, or familiar with Peking Duck wraps at Chinese restaurants, most likely you won’t appreciate this because you’ll compare it to versions at Chinese restaurants and this Western version won’t cut it.
Not comparing them to authentic Peking Duck wraps, I think they were okay.
I wasn’t really a fan of the diced Peking duck texture and the bits of fat were all mixed together with the leaner meat and I found I lost the texture of the actual duck itself. The duck flavour just got lost without the texture of it as well.
Overall it was sweet with Hoisin sauce and the pancake was more like an onion tortilla wrap.
Crab Fritters – 4/6
Cilantro & Ginger, Spicy Aioli $3
I could definitely taste the ginger the most and they were very Asian tasting.
I didn’t find it spicy, but it was nice and crispy on the outside.
I could still taste the crab but it was a very creamy, saucy and soft middle in these fritters and I was expecting it to be more like a crab cake, but it wasn’t. It was still good, but don’t expect as much crab as a crab cake or anything.
**Reuben Spring Roll – 4.5/6
Hot mustard & Thousand Isle Dip $4
For something that looked pretty boring, I actually really enjoyed these!
I don’t even order Reuben sandwiches often, but this idea worked in it’s own kind of way.
The braised beef brisket was very tender and soft and it almost tasted cured. It was nice and salty and then it had a little Swiss cheese and Sauerkraut, but those aspects tended to get a bit overpowered. I didn’t mind because the beef itself was very good.
The spring roll was crispy and the Thousand Isle Dip was actually less tangy than a Thousand Island dressing and they put diced celery in it. It was almost a bit sweeter and it went well with the Reuben Spring Roll giving it a sweet tangy contrast to the savoriness.
Lobster Roll – n/a
Basil & Mango, Sweet Chili Sauce $2.50
This was at the far end of the table and I have no idea how I missed it and didn’t even realize I did until now… damn it!
**Tuna Tartare – 5/6
Ahi Tuna Tartare, Yuzu, Elderflower, Black truffle
What the…!!! This one I liked the most and it has to be the one that I can’t find on the menu!
It was very fruity and fresh and I was hit immediately with the truffle first which was great.
I didn’t expect a non-Asian place to do a modern Asian Tuna Tartare so well, but they did a very nice job!
Parmesan Fries – 2/6
I can’t really say I was a fan of these fries and found they lacked Parmesan flavour. I’d go for the yam fries. They should make them Parmesan & Truffle fries! I actually like the Truffle Gremolata Fries from Charles Bar.
I was decently full after almost 3/4 of the Olympic Burger, but I knew dessert was ahead and I was prepared to tackle the menu at full force. Not only did I get my own set of 3 desserts, but I actually asked for a sampling of all of them to report back with better “research”… so I ended up with 5 desserts! On top of this, Olympic Burger champion (Dennis Pang) gave me his trophy which was one of my favourite desserts, the Yew’s Signature dessert: The Homemade Ice Cream Matini Glass for Two… but I was only one!
To be honest, I was more impressed with the presentation of the desserts than the actual desserts themselves. I feel like chef is holding back, or perhaps limited to creating desserts that are “easy to prepare” or supply high volumes. I couldn’t help but to think “hotel dessert” for a few of them because they had a “premade” quality and I just wanted more love. They’re better than your average “hotel desserts” but I missed the fine details and none of them were really taken to their maximum potential or taking to the “fine dining” potential. On the other hand I do love their “dessert tapas” idea and it allows people to really have fun with their last course. Great concept, but desserts could have been more refined, although well presented.
Strawberries, Mango Ravioli, Espresso Pot de Creme
Strawberries – 2/6
Whipped White Chocolate Ganache, Coconut Meringues $3
This reminded me of melted marshmallow cream with strawberry syrup and soft marshmallows.
It was very sweet and the whipped white chocolate ganache was just too much. You didn’t really want to drink it, but you didn’t have anything to dip into it either.
The coconut meringues weren’t very crispy and they tasted like marshmallows.
The strawberry sauce was quite sweet and yet it was the component adding tartness.
**Mango – 4.5/6
Fruit Consommé, Mango Ravioli $3
This was the most unique and most memorable of the desserts so it gets extra points, but for what it is, it could be improved.
It was molecular gastronomy and it reminded me of the tomato soup I had at Taste of BC – see my post here.
If it’s your first time trying this sort of thing, it will blow you away. However if you’ve tried these things before, then it might not have that “wow” factor… although molecular gastronomy always has some sort of “wow” factor.
It was very sweet and the flavour was quite tart and it tastes like passion fruit and mango more so than mango.
I wanted a strong mango flavour and the fruit consomme was almost like fruity sugar syrup, so I wasn’t a fan of that.
The bulb of “mango ravioli” was the highlight. It was like a tiny water balloon and then you squish it in your mouth and out flows this juice of sweet fruity mango juice. It is very sweet and tart though and I would rather have it taste more like fresh mango juice in its pure form. I wonder if that would work though…?
I’d still recommend it, but I think the fruit consomme could use some work. It would be fun to make this into an ice cream float with mango sorbet, the ravioli and some carbonated coconut milk with perhaps some lime zest and mint!
Espresso – 3/6
Espresso Caramel, Pot De Crème $3
If you like pot de creme and you like these ingredients, you will like this. It’s straight forward.
The texture of the pot de creme was great and I could taste equal parts espresso and caramel. It was rather strong with an initial sweetness and bitter finish from the espresso.
I wasn’t really a fan of the texture of the caramel on top and the creamy custard like pot de creme though. I just wanted more of a contrast, so I think something crispy would have been nice.
Espresso Pot de Creme, Lollipop, Creme Brulee with Pineapple Compote
Lollipop – 2/6
Caramelized Chocolate Truffle, Lollipop $3
FYI!! That white part is NOT part of the dessert! I thought it was some liquid drink so I drank it! It was pure sugar and was the “sand” to hold the lollipop stick.
I drank sugar
This looked and sounded better than it tasted. In theory I liked it, but in flavour it was too sweet for me and I wasn’t a fan of the truffle, which was more like a Lindt Ball. It tasted like a Lindt Ball with a very creamy in the middle dipped into marshmallow cream, and then torched so that the middle was creamy and the outside toasted.
I was hoping the meringue part was going to be crispy, but it was all really soft, creamy and overly sweet as a unit.
I would have preferred a darker chocolate or perhaps it should come with a candle so people can toast the meringue themselves so it stays crispy.
Crème Brûlée – 3.5/6
Tahitian Vanilla, Pineapple Compote $3
The texture of the cream brulee was great but there was no crispy brulee topping. It might just have been mine, but the brulee topping was MIA.
The custard was creamy and great in texture, but the vanilla bean seeds were lost so I think the viscosity was too thin to hold the seeds, unless they weren’t used.
The pineapple compote was the most basic pineapple compote and I wish they dressed it up with spices and other flavours.
I liked the idea of the different textures of pineapple, but it almost felt like it was used as garnish rather than being incorporated as part of the creme brulee.
**Martini Glass for 2 – 5/6
I LOVE ice cream, so for me, this is ideal. A giant sundae of 6 home made gourmet ice creams… and all for me! Literally… I gave away maybe a scoop in total… I didn’t finish the entire glass, but I did make a respectable dent.
It used to be more intense with caramelized pineapples, biscotti and homemade marshmallows, but it’s more simplified now.
The ice cream quality is still there and it still tastes great and there’s a ton of variety, so if you like ice cream you’ll like this for sure.
I did love the big pieces of crispy honey comb, but I also missed all the other components it used to come with.
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