WOW it’s been a while, hopefully you haven’t forgotten about 604Foodtography!
A week before the Olympics began, I had some of my cousins from Los Angeles come up here for a few days. While the city was bustling and full of excitement, I became a tourist in my own city … not necessarily a bad thing since that meant eating out more!
They had several different requests on places and cuisines to eat. Aside from the Asian choices such as wonton noodles and dim sum, Slow had suggested on going to Araxi in Whistler. She’s a big fan of Hell’s Kitchen and Araxi just so happened to be the featured restaurant in the show’s most recent season.
After walking in, guess who was the first person we saw in the restaurant? Dave Levey! The winner of last’s seasons Hell’s Kitchen. What a coincidence eh?! I felt a little bit sorry for him though as he was at the appetizer station placed footsteps away from the door, constantly getting interrupted by guests while working. He didn’t look too happy there but he smiled for every person who approached him for a picture request. I was surprised that we was stuck at appies though.
Aside from their claim to fame, one interesting fact about the restaurant is that all ingredients are local, taken less than 100km away from the restaurant.
Since fine dining usually has smaller portions, I was looking forward to the bread (or the beavertails stand close by) to help fill me up. Here they combine common butter and olive oil together in the same dish. This was good although the bread was a little stale and would have been better had it been served warm.
Some of us had a glass of wine or beer, but The Penguin and Rye Bread had this: Fentiman’s Traditional Ginger Beer ($5.50). It contains less than .05% alcohol and if anyone is familiar with the dessert, it tastes like the syrup from Chinese boiled ginger milk.
We all started off with the Tastings of Oysters ($21.50 for 5). This consists of 5 different oysters dressed differently with ponzu pearls, trout caviar, cucumber relish, mignonette or dungeness crab meat. I don’t remember much about my cucumber relish but the ponzu pearls were recommended by our server. Rye had this one and said that it was “briny with a kick” from the ponzu pearls. If you choose to get individual oysters, they’re $3.25-$3.75 each.
While this may look like it, this is isn’t sushi. Rather, this is the Dungeness Crab Roll ($18.50). This is dungeness crab is wrapped with avocado, parsnip and yuba roll with a citrus mayonnaise, vanilla oil and parsnip chips. This was one of the dishes I couldn’t keep my eyes off of. These were very good! Very light but would have liked the crab flavour to come out more but other than that, no complaints with this dish.
This plate once had a Prime Beef Carpaccio ($18.50). Pepper crusted carpaccio with fresh horseradish, thinly sliced tongue salad and crostini. Everybody had finished it before I had a chance to take a picture of it. Oops.
I’ve heard people say that Araxi had some of the best scallops in British Columbia. As a province that is known for great seafood, this is quite a statement. Slow and Chris both ordered the Qualicum Beach Scallops ($36.50). They both said that the scallops were good, but the dressing was very rich. The dish also had chorizo sausage and they really enjoyed the chipole crust on them. The scallops themselves were a bit over done as the texture seemed a bit off, but generally they liked it.
This is the BC Prawn Risotto ($18.50). Unfortunately, this dish didn’t have too much in the flavour category. I was surprised at the amount of prawns in it though.
I had the Venison ($36.00). The meat was very tender and it wasn’t a skimpy good portion. Brownie points for that. There are some people that I know that do not enjoy the gamey taste of venison but I don’t mind it so much. While the taste was certainly noticeable here, it didn’t stop me from enjoying this dish.
Dungeness Crab ($18.50). Don’t remember anything about this dish and it doesn’t seem like it’s on the online menu.
Gnocchi, pronounced Nee-okkee, are little potato-like lumps ($28.50). The only way I can explain this is “pillowy” with a cheese like texture. This was devoured pretty quickly. One of the best dishes I tried here.
We got macaroons with the bill! Nice last touch to a meal.
Service for the most part was good, although there were a few instances here and there like taking away a plate that wasn’t finished and a period of time where nobody came to check up on us. When we got there (5:30) the dining room was practically empty but closer to 7:00 it was packed full. We were really fortunate to visit Whistler the same day as the torch! A couple of times during our dinner, some of us had went outside to check out the torch relay and to take a quick picture with the Olympic torch.
Tags: Araxi, Hell's Kitchen, olympics, Whistler