Horizons (Dine Out Vancouver 2013)Posted: 02/15/2013
And moving on to my last Dine Out meal of the year, my family decided to have dinner at Horizons, the occasion being my brother’s birthday. This was our first time at Horizons, and it really struck me how inaccessible the restaurant is, being on top of a mountain. Unless you have a car, there is virtually no way to get there (unless you want to walk up the mountain for quite a bit). The side road leading to the restaurant is also incredibly dark and without any streetlights. I’m sure it’s fine in the daytime, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience at night. If I were to return for a second visit, I would most definitely go for brunch or lunch, especially to enjoy that view.
Horizons chose to serve their regular menu alongside their Dine Out menu, but all four of us ordered Dine Out meals for $28, with the addition of a calamari to share between us. First, we started off with a basket of complementary Bread. I’ve had one too many experiences lately where restaurants serve their bread cold, so I was quite happy when the bread turned out to be nice and warm, with just the right amount of chewiness. It was the perfect way to start off our meal.
For my entree, I chose the Albacore Tuna Tataki. I originally had my eye on the baby spinach and frisee, but I’ve always had a soft spot for tataki. The tuna itself was of average quality, and I personally would have liked it if more of a crust had formed. I enjoyed the accompanying veggies, though, with some lettuce, tomato, and avocado. I’m not sure what the salad was dressed with, but it was surprisingly salty. Despite the salad though, the tuna itself was quite bland and uneventful.
Meanwhile, my mom opted for my first choice, the Baby Spinach and Frisee, with some pear, walnuts, bleu cheese, and honey balsamic vinaigrette. She didn’t have much to say about this, but complained that the cheese was a bit too salty and overpowered the other ingredients. I tried a bit and I quite liked the vinaigrette, which was light and refreshing, and I thought that the addition of the pear and walnuts was a nice touch. Overall, the ingredients seemed fresh, which was a plus.
My dad and brother both ordered the Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, with sourdough croutons on top. I had a couple sips and it tasted quite creamy as expected, but lacked the earthiness that I most enjoy about mushrooms. Still, there was a good amount of mushrooms included, and the croutons added a nice textural contrast. As with many soups, it tasted quite salty about halfway through. Still, I thought this was a decently sized portion.
We also added a Crispy Fried Calamari ($12) to share. It arrived with some cucumber red chili raita for dipping. The calamari was lightly battered and served lukewarm, which I liked because they didn’t taste overly greasy. The seasoning, however, was distributed unevenly, leading to some pieces being very salty while others bordered on bland. The squid itself remained tender without being too chewy. Although this resulted in us not being able to finish our desserts, I would definitely order it on a return visit.
And onward to the entrees! Although I initially wanted the salmon, I ended up with the Pork Tenderloin. The pan roasted pork had been soaked in an organic apple cider chili brine, and was served in an apple bacon demi glace. Accompanying the pork were Yukon gold mashed potatoes and some vegetables. The pork itself was tender but uneventful, but I enjoyed the natural sweetness from the apples. The mashed potatoes were also quite standard, while the veggies were perfectly cooked. Although I enjoyed my meal, it wasn’t anything mind-blowing.
My mom had the BC Sockeye Salmon, which had been my first choice. It was accompanied by tomato basil risotto and charred asparagus. She was unimpressed by her meal, saying that the risotto was undercooked and unpleasantly hard. While the salmon itself had been perfectly grilled, it was overly fishy and would have benefitted from some lemon. Although it came with a spiced lemon emulsion, I found that it just didn’t help to freshen up the flavours like a simple wedge of lemon would have.
My brother and dad, meanwhile, both opted for the New York Steak, eight ounces of char-grilled beef in a red wine demi-glace, with some pepperberry butter, nugget potatoes and seasonal veggies. My dad had it medium while my brother had it medium rare; both were cooked according to their specifications. Both found it to be an average steak, and a bit too salty due to the pepperberry butter. The potatoes, meanwhile, were bland and weren’t very pretty to look at. Still, the portion size was larger than what I expected, considering that it was a Dine Out meal.
There were two desserts available, so of course we ordered two of each, the first being the Cinnamon Poached Pear, which was served alongside warm pecan brioche pudding and butterscotch rum sauce. Of the two desserts, this was our favourite. I personally love both pecans and brioche, so this was a clear winner for me. The brioche was spongey as it should be, while the cinnamon flavour was strong. The poached pear itself was somewhat slimey and took some getting used to, but I liked how the two elements of the dessert complemented each other well. My mom and I both loved this dessert and how it wasn’t overbearingly sweet.
The other dessert was the Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Brulee, with a small piece of housemade biscotti. We had two orders of this, as you can see, but only one actually came with the biscotti. While the initial crust of the creme brulee was too sugary, the inner layer was simply rich and chocolatey. It reminded me of those grocery store chocolate pudding cups I would devour as a child–not that that’s a bad thing. I would have preferred a regular creme brulee though, with maybe some vanilla bean.
To summarize, our meal at Horizons was quite standard for this type of restaurant. Personally, next time, I would prefer a place like The Keg, despite its chain restaurant status. I think that The Keg offers better value for its prices, and has a significantly larger selection than Horizons. Still, it was a decent option for Dine Out.
100 Centennial Way