Yaletown—(January 12, 2016) This year's fifteenth annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is already in full swing with many tempting prix fixe options for you to choose from. Last week, we stopped by the year-old House Special Modern Vietnamese on the second stop of our Tourism Vancouver restaurant tour to sample their three-course $40 set menu paired with Church & State Wines.
To start, the bánh tét traditional Vietnamese festival sticky rice cake (filled with five-spice sausage, pork, mung bean, XO sauce, pickles, Sriracha chutney, and red chili) was delightfully tasty with its assortment of usual flavours and fresh ingredients.
Next, the gỏi bạch chicken pomelo salad (with traditional Hainanese chicken, mint, peanut, chili sauce, scallion ginger sauce, and sticky rice crostini) was my favourite of the starters for its composition of different culinary elements. Every bit of it was delicious and substantial.
Their gỏi bạch tuộc Đà Nẵng octopus two ways (with compressed melon, pickled rind, chargrilled fish sauce octopus, deep fried octopus, and sesame balsamic vinaigrette) was the most adventurous and aesthetically appealing starter option for its mix of fruits, greens, and seafood. It was quite nice chomp on but a little light for my tastes. (A fourth cà rốt heirloom carrot and beet salad vegan option is also available to start.)
For mains, their version of Beef Wellington (with green onion pancake pastry, Sriracha caviar, and phở reduction glaze) was a thick, hearty effort full of well-seasoned and cooked tenderloin beef. It was a solid if safe Asian twist on the classic English dish.
The bowl of canh chua sablefish (with taro stem, marinated sablefish, tomatoes, paddy herbs, chili oil, and canh chua broth) was my pick as a fancy and altogether refreshing take on the traditional staple sour soup. Last, I found the Chicken Kiev (with panko crusted herb stuffed chicken breast, cassava purée, and microgreens) to be the slightly lesser of the three entrée options sampled—a fourth option, the vegan cauliflower steak, is also available—but still decadently satisfying and rich in its meaty contents.
For dessert, the passionfruit custard meringue (with meringue sphere, passionfruit custard, coconut whip cream, smoked paprika graham cracker crumble, yuzu and chrysanthemum gelée) was outstanding and a fine but not too sweet meal capper.
Dine Out (on now until February 5th) is a great opportunity to try the still relatively new House Special and its upscale Vietnamese fusion cuisine for yourself. They offer a solid variety of dishes and flavours both truly authentic and refreshingly unique to its culinary heritage.
More | YVArcade / 2016