Nu Restaurant and Lounge served as the last stop on my Dine Out Vancouver 2008 adventure. Located underneath the Granville Street Bridge in the same building as Stonegrill, Nu Restaurant and Lounge definitely had a casual atmosphere about it. The seats were very “loungey”, so to speak, and the portions were nothing like what I’d expect from a higher end restaurant. If you just walk one block down the street, you’ll arrive at C Restaurant, which is much higher class in its presentation.

The portion size was the biggest thing that hit me about Nu. The Caesar salad was quite big, the soup came in a large bowl, and even the entrees were quite a bit bigger than FigMint or even an incredibly casual place like Sip Resto-Lounge. That’s not to say that the quality was poor either, because while it wasn’t the best I’ve had, it’s far from being the worst either.

I partook in their standard $25 Dine Out Vancouver menu, accompanied by the $17 wine pairing. Susanne opted for their special $35 four-course menu, which adheres to the 100 mile standard. This means that all ingredients involved in her dishes were brought in from no further than 100 miles away. This ensures optimal freshness and is more “green”, because there is less shipping involved. Susanne and I were accompanied by our friend Angela.

Classic Caesar Salad: The dressing tasted different than most other Caesar salads that I have had in the past. There weren’t any anchovies, but it almost had that “fishy” taste to it. Toppings included asiago, popcorn pork belly, and buttered croutons.

Pemberton Potato Poutine: This was the first starter for Susanne’s menu and I was quite pleased with the result. The flourless gravy was quite thin, but the sea salt (I think) on the fries provided more than enough flavour. The Qualicum cheese curds were, thankfully, not overbearing either. This is a strangely casual dish for Dine Out Vancouver.

Glenn Valley Farms Butternut Squash Soup: The Tourism Vancouver website mentions shredded duck, but the version served here — which was both Angela’s appetizer and Susanne’s second course — had candied black heart spring salmon bellies instead. The flavour was very subtle, so if you want a more robust soup, this most definitely is not it.

Pan Seared “Larry Albright” Trout: My main course had a very crispy skin and salmon-like meat. The vegetable ratatouille wasn’t as fancy as in the movie, but I did enjoy the Pemberton potato croquette. The size of the fish was bigger than I was expecting.

Maple Hills Chicken: Susanne’s main dish almost seemed like stuffed chicken. Quite tender and accompanied by North Arm Farms root vegetable pave and forest mushroom cream sauce. Again, large portions and a delectable taste.

Braised Lamb Cheeks: Angela’s lamb was not what I was expecting, getting presented more like a stew. I guess that’s what happens when you order your lamb braised. The wild and cultivated mushroom couscous was quite nice.

Matt’s Famous Sticky Toffee and Date Pudding: My favorite kind of dessert is exactly this kind of creation. I’ve said before that I love bread pudding and this sticky toffee pudding is much the same. Despite its dark appearance, the pudding wasn’t too rich. The warm butterscotch really made this dessert a hit. Oh, and that’s whipped cream you see and not vanilla iced cream.

Caribou Apiaries Honey Creme Brulee: The top layer was thin and crispy, while the creamy base was silky smooth. A nice light dessert to top off a wonderful evening.

Although some other online reviews say that Nu Restaurant and Lounge is over-hyped, I was quite pleased with my experience. The seating was definitely on the stranger end of things though, because they felt like they belonged in someone’s lounge or den rather than in a dining room. You could almost fit two of me in one chair.

Total bill for the three of us, including my wine pairing, two cocktails, taxes and tip, came to a very reasonable $145.

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