Of the restaurants that I will be enjoying as part of Dine Out Vancouver, Sip Resto-Lounge is probably the one with the biggest gimmick. The idea is that every item on their menu has been cooked, marinated, or infused with some form of alcohol. Realistically, most of the alcohol burns away in the cooking process, but it’s enough of a gimmick to at least get a few people through the door.
Sip Resto-Lounge is also one of the cheaper Dine Out Vancouver restaurants participating this year, because their three-course menu is only $25, as opposed to the $35 being charged at places like FigMint Restaurant and Lounge. I can’t say for sure, but I think Sip was renovated from a casual burger or grill place, because the open kitchen is right at the front of the restaurant. The only things you’ll find in the back are washrooms and the dishwasher.
On with the food.
Beef Robata and Butter Chicken Drumette Duo: I enjoyed the flavor of the beef tenderloin satays (which were cured with Sapporo beer), as they were reasonably tender and seasoned well. Unfortunately, the butter chicken drumette (served with peach mango liqueur chutney) didn’t taste like authentic butter chicken. There was no curry-like flavor at all.
Blue Crab Cake and Grilled Prawn Duo: The crab cake — seared with Grey Goose L’orange mustard vinaigrette) had almost no crispness to it, falling apart a little too easily, but the fire-grilled prawns were fine. The sauce was nice though.
Pesto Tagliatelle: Although I normally like egg noodles, especially since they’ve been deglazed with Jackson Triggs chardonnay, the pesto flavor was a little over-powering and the pasta was on the drier side of things.
Blackened Sockeye Salmon: You can’t dine at a fine Vancouver restaurant without seeing at least a few salmon offerings. The Hennessey honey-like glaze made for a nice sweetness to both the fish and the rice, but they perhaps should have dialed back on the sweetness by a notch or two.
The Filet: Six ounces of AAA tenderloin, rolled in steak spice, and marinated in Jack Daniels whiskey. I asked for medium rare, but the beef came back a little closer to rare. I was fine with that, because I prefer steak that is slightly undercooked rather than overcooked. Nice and tender.
Triple Chocolate Mousse: Although they say that it was topped with white chocolate, I think all I got was a whole lot of whipped cream. The alcoholic content came from some Bailey’s Irish Cream and I was glad that the sweetness of the chocolate wasn’t overbearing.
Cheesecake Duo: Your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are the same ceramic tea cups as they use for dim sum. These cheesecakes, if you can even call them that, seem like something you’d make at home. They didn’t even pack the crust; the base was more akin to loose bread crumbs.
Sip Resto-Lounge feels much more like a bar or a lounge than it does a restaurant. The tables are very small and we were sitting on bar stools. The food also seems like slightly upper-class bar food with quality to match. I wouldn’t say that I’m displeased with the food or the service, but there’s nothing here that would make me want to come back for more… especially since I can’t taste the alcohol at all.