Dine Out Vancouver: Fraiche RestaurantJanuary 22nd, 2013 by Michael Kwan
Not unlike places like Cloud Nine and The Observatory, one of the biggest selling points for Fraiche Restaurant is its view. Perched up on that mountain, you get a great perspective on the Lion’s Gate Bridge and into the rest of the city. The restaurant itself isn’t that big–maybe 20 or so tables–making for a reasonably intimate dining experience. You might also be interested to know that financial advisor Aaron Koo once worked there as a chef, though I didn’t have a chance to visit while he was there.
For Dine Out Vancouver, Fraiche is offering a $38 prix fixe menu, giving you a few choices for each of the three courses.
Amuse Bouche – We were first treated to a complimentary amuse bouche. Normally, these are on the lighter side of things, but Fraiche went with a crab croquette instead. It was a like a mini deep-fried crab cake.
Poached Lobster Salad – One of the three appetizer choices, this salad actually provided quite a bit of lobster, but it really didn’t feel like there was enough salad to go with it. The compressed melon was decent, but the jalapeno sauce lacked any real kick.
House-Cured Duck – Another appetizer option, the cured duck was similar to a stiff proscuitto, except as duck. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Chinese “lap may” in flavor and consistency. It was quite salty, as was the dollop of foie gras mousse on top. The blood orange niblets were made out to look like caviar. Given the higher level of saltiness, I felt this dish either needed more brioche or more salad to balance it out.
Roasted Sablefish – This was my main. The fish, while delicate and flaky, didn’t have much complexity in terms of flavor. It was one-dimensional in that it was just a little salty. I did like the brandade dumplings, which reminded me of a chewy gnocchi.
Grilled Loin of Lamb – This was Susanne’s main. The portion size was on the smaller side and I felt the lamb was just a little overcooked for my tastes. Much like the duck, this was also on the saltier side of things. The tomato relish was quite nice though.
Mascarpone and Fruit – One of the two dessert options, the frozen marscapone had a consistency somewhere between cheesecake and ice cream. I would have preferred if they simply stacked the marscapone on the cookie crust, but that’s a matter of presentation. The accompanying fruit jelly had an intense flavor, but it didn’t completely overpower the marscapone.
White and Dark Chocolate – And this was the other dessert option. The dark chocolate came in liquid form, on the right, and was poured over the delicate puffs of white chocolate, which almost had a marshmallow-like consistency to them.
All said, dinner for four–including a couple of drinks, taxes and gratuity–came to $210. While the food wasn’t that bad (albeit somewhat over-seasoned in a one-dimensional kind of way), I feel that there is much better food to be had in this city at the same kind of price point. You really are paying for the view, but Fraiche is still much better than Cloud Nine.
I have one more restaurant on my list for Dine Out Vancouver 2013, so keep an eye out for my review of Le Parisien to follow in the next couple of weeks.