Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I've heard about Rare, I've read about Rare, so I thought it is about time I tried Rare.
Rare has been the talk of town since last year. Its intimate setting and tasting menus enhance the sophistication to the dining scene in Vancouver. They incorporate little details like amuse bouche and palate cleansers into to their menus. Now, some people may think that is just a bit too chichi, but I love being tickled by little bites of culinary delight.

There is also an a la carte menu, but my dear friend Carm and I both opted for the Seasonal Menu, which costs $45. I think it is a reasonable price since we got a total of 6 items out of that menu. I thought the wine pairing ($40) was too expensive, but the accommodating waitress agreed to do a pairing for $25 with less costly pours.

While you are perusing the menu, the wait staff will start you off with an amuse bouche. We got smoked sablefish on an anchovy laced potatoe salad. It was a good start and tempted my tastebuds. Then we got some warm, moist, crusty bread with herb butter. One thing I always judge a restaurant on is by its bread basket. Score if the bread is warm, double score if the bread is warm and the texture is right. When the basket is filled with cold bread, it usually dampens my appetite because if a restaurant does not pay attention to the first thing it serves the guests, what makes me think that they will put that much thought into my food.

Okay, back to business. We then had the Sweet Pea and Mint custard on a buttermilk cracker. The combination was excellent, although the cracker is a tad stale. Then we moved on to the Baja Scallop served with a caper viniagrette and cauliflower puree laced with truffle oil. It was good but not exceptional. Then we moved onto Rabbit Saddle with proscuitto. Carm and I were both not too fond of this dish as it was not that flavorful. We washed that down with a little shot of hibiscus seltzer and moved on to the main entree. We both opted for the duck instead of the halibut. It was delicious. I think the combination with orange rhubarb was used to convey duck l'orange but I prefer the duck by itself. It was tender and tasty. Between the pre-dessert of Earl Grey Tea Sabayon and Deconstructed Lemon Pie, I prefer the Sabayon. It was served with a Fennel Biscotti that is used to scoop up the delicious creamy Sabayon. The combination of the floral Earl Grey and the licorice undertones of fennel was perfect.

Was it a good dining experience? Yes.
Was it exceptionally remarkable? No.

Taste: 7 out of 10
Creativity: 8 out of 10
Apperance: 8.5 out of 10

Rare Restaurant
1355 Hornby Street, Vancouver

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