I still remember when Blacktail just opened in Vancouver as Blacktail Florist and looking at the preview of the menu. Back then, I was already amazed at the creativity of the menu items and introduction of Scandinavian flavours but was deeply disappointed when it didn't fare so well with the crowd. Fast forward a few months and they were rebranded as Blacktail Restaurant + Lounge with a whole new modern concept which has proven to be successful. Such exciting food has to be shared with exciting people which is why I recommended Blacktail to J when he was deciding on where to host his birthday dinner this year - and I'm glad I did.
butternut squash soup
4/5 - As the server pours the soup into the empty black bowl, you are then able to see how insanely creamy this soup is. Strong but not overbearing, the tastes of squash creates an overall delightful and hearty bowl of soup.
4/5 - Accompanied with a slightly cooked egg yolk, these fresh greens are a nice start to any meal. A unique feature of this salad is the thinly sliced and roasted bread pieces which add a nice texture to the dish and is also very visually appealing.
albacore tuna crudo
albacore tuna loin, cured pork belly, tonnato sauce @17
5/5 - This was by far my favourite dish of the night as it is not just beautiful but incredibly delicious. Pieces of soft and smooth albacore tuna are mixed with pieces of fatty pork belly and topped with fish flakes and mini veggies. Underneath is a tonnato sace (mayo, olive oil, tuna, and a bit of acid combined) which provides another layer of flavour to the dish. The server described this dish as fish two ways and meat two ways which I think is a brilliant addition to an already amazing dish.
pacific oysters (1/2 dozen)
circulated at 60C, horseradish, cucumber mignonette @16.5
5/5 - VERY fresh oysters which are presented on a hunk of sea salt and topped with a slight spice of horseradish and further freshness of the cucumber foam.
rangeland bison tartare
spelt cracker, spinach puree, truffle aioli @17
5/5 - I'll be honest but I was a bit iffy when I saw how lumpy and gooey the tartare looked but I'm definitely glad I tried a bite before saying anymore. The bison itself wasn't gooey or mushy at all, in fact, the tartare tasted very fresh and the natural robust flavours of the bison really stood out. I really loved the spinach puree which was combined with the meat to add depth as well as the dense but light spelt cracker which added a layer of texture to the dish.
72 hour short rib
scalloped potato pave, vegetable resin, brussels sprouts @28
4.5/5 - You're probably thinking "72 hours? A 72 hour short rib??" and to that I say yes, this is indeed a 72 hour short rib and it's crazy good. The texture, as you may assume, is something I have never tasted in a piece of meat before - it's incredibly soft, tender, cooked fully, and actually melts in your mouth. The experience is almost surreal. The potato pave is smooth enough to be mistaken for a cake and the brussels sprouts are nice and crunchy to balance out the textures. My only concern for this dish was that the meat itself lacked flavour and there wasn't enough sauce to make up for it. Maybe I should asked for a bit of salt.
yarrow meadows duck breast
parsnip, lentils, mountain huckleberry @28
I didn't actually taste any of this for myself but I just thought I'd provide a picture for reference.
Same as above although as I watched my friend eat this, I could tell that the lamb itself was very tender, soft, and fatty.
5/5 - Okay I know I said that the albacore tuna crudo was my favourite but how could I forget about dessert aka. my favourite part of eating. The desserts at Blacktail aren't on the menu and change regularly so bear with me as I try to remember all the ingredients here. The chocolate terrine was creamy and definitely chocolate-y but the sorbet was really what stole the show. I've never had plum sorbet before and now it's already my favourite sorbet in the city. It's all paired with frozen peaches, red wine jellies, and crumble on the bottom. It's all so incredibly satisfying and not too sweet.
5/5 - This dessert isn't as elegant looking as the terrine but it is definitely more fun and visually stimulating as this deconstructed s'mores dessert is appropriately plated to look like a campfire. The roasted marshmallow, aka. the fire pit stones, are gooey and toasted slightly on the top. The graham cracker crumble, aka. the ash, is layered on top with raspberry sauce and other cracker bits for colour. And finally on top are the crunchy chocolate "logs" arranged in typical tipi formation for maximum heat production (just kidding). Anyway, as crazy as it may all sound or look, this combination tastes like nostalgia and definitely doubles for me as comfort food.
Oh did I mention that we got a deal for three desserts at the price of two? I'm guessing that their birthday present to us but that's pretty sweet.
All in all, we had a delightful meal but I would like to point out a few things so that other people can be aware of them.
- If you're reserving for a party of 8 or more, you'll be asked for your credit card information as there is a $20/head charge for no-shows or cancellations under 48 hours.
- The lounge area downstairs may be used for dining if upstairs is full and although it's quite empty as the beginning of dinner, don't expect it to stay that way - we had more than a few rowdy drinkers that made it quite difficult to enjoy most of our meal and conversation.
- The decor downstairs is much plainer than that of upstairs and their paintings on the wall are actually mounted by adhesive...not nails, which is also why one nearly fell on my head (thank goodness for friends with fast reflexes).
- The plates here are small (regardless of what size is listed) so I recommend either ordering many plates to share or to order two plates per person.
That all said, I really enjoyed the food here and I'm in awe at how creative yet tasty it all is.
R E V I E W.
+ food quality: 9.5/10
+ service: 9/10
+ price/affordability: 8/10
+ atmosphere: 8.5/10
+ overall: 9/10