Back in the very early days of Dine Out Vancouver, before we became parents and took on a mortgage, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to make five or six (or more) reservations over the course of the two-week festival. These days, we’ve become much more selective. After trying some seal tataki and elk medallions at Edible Canada in Granville Island, we made our way down to Riverway Clubhouse for our second and final stop on this year’s Dine Out Vancouver culinary journey.
Yes, Riverway Clubhouse is “just” the dining room attached to Riverway Golf Course and it’s a popular wedding venue with its vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams. There’s a sort of casual elegance about the space; larger tables get the white tablecloth treatment, but smaller tables for two to four guests are just the regular bare wood. It’s like going to the Keg if the Keg had a driving range attached to it.
Our meal started with a couple of complimentary breadsticks, accompanied by a creamy tomato dipping sauce. Pretty tasty, actually.
Pan seared rare ahi tuna, rainbow seaweed, mesclun greens, black sesame crouton, lychee vinaigrette
Susanne decided to take the seafood approach to her dinner, starting with this generous serving of ahi tuna. There were about a half dozen or so thick slices of tuna in there, making for a surprisingly substantial appetizer. Meaty and fresh. The seaweed in the salad added a great textural element; it didn’t have the same vinegary flavor as most other seaweed salads you may have had at Japanese restaurants.
Brome Lake duck confit slider, braised red cabbage, arugula, chive aioli, shoestring fries, Himalayan salt
Whereas Susanne opted for the surf, I stuck to the turf. I didn’t even read the full description when I ordered this, so I was a little surprised when a slider and fries showed up at the table. This is not at all like the duck confit you’d normally find at a traditional French bistro. The duck was very tender and went well with the mini bun, but I didn’t like how the blueberry sauce crept up underneath, making for a slightly soggy lower bun.
Sablefish & Lobster
Miso marinated sablefish with nori aioli, roasted lobster tail with ponzu glaze, sautéed kale, sweet potato purée
With the miso marinade and the nori aioli, the sablefish was really like having a big piece of cooked sushi (without the rice). The nori seaweed aroma really comes through, even if you don’t actually see it. The fish was cooked wonderfully and broke off in moist, succulent flakes. Truly satisfying. I could eat a big bowl of this with some rice.
Certified Angus New York Steak
Charbroiled 12 oz. AAA steak, hand-picked seasonal vegetables, roasted garlic yukon gold mash, Yorkshire pudding, cognac jus
My main course continued down the “turf” path. It was decidedly the less creative option, to be sure, aside from the somewhat odd decision to include a Yorkshire pudding. I usually only get that with prime rib and not a New York strip. The extra “chunk” hanging off the end of the steak perhaps showed a slight lack of finesse, but it’s not like I would have wanted to forego the “bonus” meat anyhow.
As far as largely standard issue steak dinners go, this one was perfectly adequate. The mashed potatoes were creamy and the protein had a good char to it. The little bits of garlic on top were also a nice touch, though the steak — which I ordered medium rare — arrived probably a little closer to medium, but not so much so as to warrant sending back to the kitchen.
New York cheesecake, rose crystal; Blue cheese gelato, Belgian waffle; Camembert cheese, fennel & mint crystals
Life is far too short to be limited to a single dessert, don’t you think? The New York cheesecake was a natural progression from the New York steak for me and the blue cheese in the blue cheese gelato was definitely a step or two above subtle. That balanced well with the sweetness of the housemade Belgian waffle. I especially enjoyed the wedge of Camembert cheese, as the fennel added a whole new dynamic of complexity to each bite.
Hot chocolate, pumpkin spice crystals; Hazelnut chocolate gelato, Belgian waffle; Dark chocolate tart
Seeing how we haven’t really indulged in the Hot Chocolate Festival this year, this chocolate trio was a welcome finale to our dinner too. The gelato is naturally reminiscent of great Ferrero Rocher and while the little espresso-sized cup is listed as “hot chocolate,” it was really more like a Mexican drinking chocolate (sans the spice). Addie enjoyed the drinking chocolate so much, our server offered her a second cup on the house. That’s service with a smile!
All said, we were quite pleased with our meal. Service was exceptional and everything was reasonably prepared to our satisfaction. There’s just enough originality here to capture our interest. We’ll surely be back again soon. Dinner during Dine Out Vancouver 2018 was $40 per person. With a couple of drinks, taxes and gratuity, the total bill came to just under $120.
Riverway Clubhouse is located at 9001 Bill Fox Way in Burnaby, just south of Marine Way and Byrne Road. Like its Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse counterpart, it offers periodic three-course menu specials for about $25. Check the official Food Burnaby website for the latest information.