Although the Dine Out Vancouver promotion has been officially over for some time now, there seems to be a very small handful of restaurants out there that are still milking that marketing juice (that’s got to be one of the strangest combinations of metaphors I’ve ever used) for all its worth. For my mom’s birthday, she wanted to go take a breathtaking 360 degree view of the city and one of the three ways to do that in this town is at Cloud Nine Revolving Restaurant, located on the top floor of the Empire Landmark Hotel. (There are two other revolving restaurants that I know of.) Cloud Nine extended their Dine Out menu until the end of March: $25 for Sunday to Thursday, $35 on Friday and Saturday. That’s for a three-course meal.
I’ve been to Cloud Nine once before, but that was probably ten years ago. Not much has changed. I still know that you don’t go to Cloud Nine for exceptional food — you’re better off trying Rare Restaurant, Gotham Steakhouse, William Tell, to name a few — you go to Cloud Nine for the view. It takes about 90 minutes for the revolving restaurant to make it one time all the way around.
Anyways, on with the food. For the starter, we had a choice of Tomato Gin Soup topped with chives or a Wild Green Salad drizzled with Balsamic Vinaigrette. I opted for the latter and while the greens themselves were quite good, the vinaigrette was much too overpowering. It was like very strong Italian dressing. I’ve had better salads at Earls.
Along with the soup or salad, they also offered us a huge basket of bread. The picture I have here is only half of what they gave us. Having ten rolls among four people is a bit much, I’d say, although my dad did end up eating five himself.
For the main, you are given three choices: there was Supreme Breast of Chicken stuffed with Spinach, Onion and Feta Cheese; Pan Seared Salmon with Baby Shrimps served with Citrus Beurre Blanc sauce; and Charbroiled Rib-Eye Steak drizzled with a Marsala Jus. My dad and my brother had the steak, while my mom and I had the salmon. No one in my family is a fan of feta so we steered clear of the chicken. The steak, while large, was a fairly thin cut. My dad really enjoyed it though. I found the salmon to be a little overcooked, making it not “flaky.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was “mushy”, but it was certainly softer than it should have been. The baby shrimp and butter sauce were flavorful, but perhaps a bit much. I think I liked the Fish House in Stanley Park better in this respect.
For dessert, you get Orange Cappuccino Cheese Cake with a couple pieces of fruit on the side. Nothing special, but nothing to complain about either.
All in all, Cloud Nine clearly is not the best restaurant in town in terms of service, food quality, presentation, creativity, or anything like that. It’s not the worse either. Where it does win is the fantastic view you can get on a clear night, and when we managed to get a full three-course meal for just $25 a head, I’d say we got a pretty excellent value. Total bill with tax, tips, and an alcoholic beverage for everyone (two for Dad) came to $170.
On a side note, I don’t want to read too much into this, but there appeared to be some racial segregation at Cloud Nine. I didn’t notice it right away, but my brother did. We were seated in a section where all the other tables were Asian folk, and the (male) server assigned to this section was also Asian (probably Chinese). Just adjacent to us was a section where all the tables were Caucasian people, and the server assigned to that section was a middle-aged white woman. My mom suggested that it may be because we were in a tourist-y area and some Asians coming in the restaurant may not speak English. Possibly, but I don’t think I want to go any further with this issue… at least for now.