Gramercy Grill (Dine Out Vancouver 2013)Posted: 02/03/2013
Following our somewhat unsuccessful experience of Dine Out Vancouver at Catch 122, SB and I joined a larger group of friends for another Dine Out dinner, this time at Gramercy Grill in Kitsilano. We’d never been before, but the menu seemed decent, especially for $28, with a variety of different options. Plus, dinner with a large group is always exciting, and by virtue of our large group, we got to try most of the options on their Dine Out menu.
Their Dine Out menu also includes some smaller items that you can add on, including a Basket of Bread ($3). This includes French baguette and house made cornbread, with whipped butter. Sadly, on our visit, they were out of cornbread (and a lot of other things). The baguette was ordinary and I would personally have liked it to be served a bit warmer. It was good, as far as bread goes, and inexpensive for the amount we received, but nothing extraordinary.
Moving on to their actual Dine Out menu, SB tried the Trio of Oysters, which came with a classic cocktail sauce. I was a bit surprised when he ordered these, as SB isn’t normally a huge fan of oysters. Still, he felt that these oysters were up to par. They tasted authentic and fresh, but didn’t have an overpowering smell, which is the reason I avoid eating raw oysters if I can help it. The cocktail sauce was especially delicious, for some reason, being somewhat tart and spicy. I somehow ended up eating the leftover bread with the cocktail sauce as opposed to the butter.
I, meanwhile, opted for the Triple A Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio, which came with truffle aioli, crispy capers, and grana pardano cheese. The carpaccio itself was smooth, very thin, and melted in my mouth. It was rich and flavourful, and although I don’t normally enjoy capers, I didn’t mind them too much here. Also, there was a bit too much cheese for me, but overall, the dish simply worked. The beef was nicely complemented by the pieces of toasted baguette.
We also tried two salads: the Boccocini and Tomato Salad, and the Golden Beet Salad. The boccocini and tomato salad came with shaved onions, pepper pecorino, a balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil. There wasn’t too much reduction, and the onions were a nice addition to the salad. Overall, this was a successful salad. The golden beet salad, meanwhile, included candied walnuts, goat cheese, and apple cider vinaigrette. There was a predominantly sweet taste to the salad due to the walnuts and the vinaigrette. We liked the goat cheese, though, as it was nice and creamy. Overall, I liked how they chose to serve a variety of different appetizers, with nothing boring like a simple Caesar salad. Their appetizer options were creative and employed a variety of different ingredients.
And moving on to the entrees, David opted to add $4 for the Seared Duck Breast, which accompanied by a balsamic vinegar and orange reduction, parsnip puree, red wine jus, and seasonal vegetables (carrots and bok choy). He felt that the duck had a good amount of fat, and that the meat itself was quite tender. The parsnip puree, meanwhile, was creamy, while the reduction was a tad too sweet. However, he still thoroughly enjoyed his meal, and felt that the dish worked overall.
SB and Darek both decided to add $4 to have the New York Striploin, which was accompanied by green peppercorn cream, sour cream and chives mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. They both ordered it medium rare. Although they both enjoyed their steaks overall, SB and Darek both commented that it could have been more flavourful. I personally thought that the steak was served a bit too cold, and it would have been beneficial to have included some gravy in order to enhance the flavours. The mashed potatoes were quite standard.
Meanwhile, Samson opted for the Veal Milanese, with red pepper, tomato and caper compote, pan fried nugget potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and red wine jus. The veal was very tender and moist. Samson personally felt that it could have been crispier, but that may have been because we took a while to eat. He found the sauce a bit too sour, but Samson was sufficiently impressed by the tenderness of the veal itself to care too much about the sauce.
Moving onto my own dinner…the dish that is officially part of their Dine Out menu is seared arctic char, but they gave us Seared Sablefish instead, as they ran out of arctic char. The fish was accompanied by horseradish and thyme vinaigrette, leeks, crushed nugget potatoes, and the veggies. I felt that the vinaigrette worked with the fish, but overpowered the veggies, especially the choy. The carrots were cooked just right, and were sweet but not overdone. The potatoes had a nice crust and were savoury and delicious. The fish itself, meanwhile, was what I expected from sablefish: buttery smooth and soft. Overall, I was satisfied with my dinner, although the portion size could have been larger.
Because of our large group, we also got to try a lot of their desserts, including the Lemon Tart, with berry coulis and whipped cream. It was nice and tart, with a flaky crust, and the burnt sugar was a nice touch. Personally, I felt that the presentation of the desserts were a bit haphazard, especially the whipped cream, but I suppose we should take into account that they were probably busier than usual due to Dine Out.
Meanwhile, I had my heart set on the Pecan Pie. My next-door neighbour always makes pecan pie and brings it over, so I wanted to see how her version would compare. This pecan pie was accompanied by cardamom caramel sauce and whipped cream. Although this version was tasty, being both savoury and sweet with a nice flaky crust, I couldn’t taste that much difference from my neighbour’s homemade version. I would have liked it if the pie was served a bit warmer. On the plus side, the pecans weren’t overwhelmingly sweet, and the caramel was not too thick.
Next up, we have the Warm Flourless Chocolate Torte, with caramel sauce and whipped cream. It was full of chocolate flavour, but would have been better with more caramel sauce. We liked how it was served warm, with just the right amount of sweetness. In addition to this, we also tried the last dessert option, which was Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee (for an extra $2). It was quite standard creme brulee, enjoyable, but unmemorable.
Overall, I liked our experience at Gramercy Grill. The service wasn’t spectacular, but our waiter was sufficiently informative and polite. The dishes, as a whole, were all well-executed, although the presentation could have been better. However, I did feel that my experience here was remarkably superior to Catch 122. Maybe someday I’ll return for the regular menu…
2685 Arbutus Street