Earlier this month, I headed downtown to the Hyatt Regency Vancouver to preview the new VANEATS dining pass at the beautiful MOSAIC Bar & Grille. Along with my good friend Sean Neild, I was able to try all six dishes by the prodigious Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich. Having previewed the past 20 or so VANEATS passes, I can confidently say this is the best package to date. Aptly named ‘Art of Taste’, I can only hope my photos below do justice to the remarkable beauty of these dishes.
Art of Taste is a 3-Item Dining Pass for $22 available between March 13th – July 13th, 2013.
A. Your choice of appetizer:
“Local Seasonal Spring Salad”, fava beans, house made sheeps milk ricotto, citrus and mustard dressing
“Warm a la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon”, avocado terrine, maple matured sherry bourbon oak vinegar
B. Your choice of entrée:
“24 Hour Braised Spring Creek Short Ribs”, roasted root vegetables, garlic, tarragon jus
“Grilled Long Line Caught BC Ling Cod”, baby bok choy, shiitake mushroom, dashi broth
C. Your choice of dessert:
“Mosaic Chocolate Cake”, signature triple layer cake
“Banana Split”, caramelized banana, vanilla ice cream, almond brittle, chocolate sauce
To start off the evening, diners will have a choice between the Local Seasonal Spring Salad or the Warm a la Minute Smoked Skuna Bay Salmon. As we were able to order two different sets, Sean and I ended up splitting all of the 6 dishes fairly evenly. The spring salad was refreshingly crisp and simple, tempting us with thoughts of an optimistic season to come. As an appetizer, the salad is light but portioned quite generously. For many, this starter will be ideal considering the heavier nature of the subsequent entrée and dessert.
Much to the chagrin of my mother, I have never been much of a salad person so the second appetizer had my interest. With a truly artistic plating arrangement, this smoked salmon dish will definitely be a surprise for many. Texturally unique, the salmon is beautifully prepared with a very appetizing base flavour profile. Paired with a incredibly smooth avocado terrine, the creaminess of the terrine compliments the salmon beautifully. Along with being visually breath-taking, this starter definitely whets the appetite for what is to come.
When we first arrived at MOSAIC around 5:30pm, my friend Sean had one very earnest request. Regardless of what dishes went to who, he wanted the lion’s share of the 24 Hour Braised Spring Creek Short Ribs. As I had just had ribs the day before, I acquiesced and went with the BC Ling Cod. Being a very generous guy, Sean let me try a bit of his ribs and I am so grateful because they were simply sublime. The meat was extremely tender and retained the richness of the garlic and tarragon jus. Unfortunately, very few places in Vancouver do braised short ribs well but Chef Thomas should be very proud of this MOSAIC offering.
As Sean happily munched away on his ribs, I gazed with wonder at my beautiful cod dish. Arguably the most photogenic plate of the evening, I definitely felt a bit of remorse as I gouged at the tender fillet with my fork. That feeling was quickly forgotten after taking my first bite as this dish was truly amazing. The dashi broth is poured onto the dish right at the table so the fragrance of the interaction hits you right away. My BC Ling Cod was cooked perfectly and flaked off beautifully with each insistent prod of my utensil. Pairing nicely with the shiitake mushrooms, I was in love with this gorgeous dish from start to finish. Without hesitation, I would definitely order this entrée on a return visit.
For dessert, Sean went with the Banana Split. To be honest, I cannot even remember the last time I had a Banana Split so this dessert option definitely brought back fond memories from my childhood. Although we were both quite full at the end of the evening, Sean definitely appreciated the use of rich vanilla bean ice cream and caramelized bananas. The use of fresh fruit and crushed pistachios definitely made the entire bowl quite luxurious, especially with the whipped cream and genuine chocolate sauce.
As a colleague had raved about the MOSAIC chocolate cake to me earlier in the day, I was definitely looking forward to this indulgent slice of dessert. After my first few forkfuls, I definitely was not disappointed. The cake is so rich but not excessively sweet which I appreciated. Although it is called a 1/4 cut, I shudder to imagine what the full 4/4 serving is. For me, this slice of chocolate cake was the perfect end to an amazing meal. I will add as a helpful tip that if you go to MOSAIC on your birthday, the kitchen will send out an entire 4/4 slice cake for free!
In addition to ‘Art of Taste’ package above, Sean and I were very lucky to be treated to complimentary cocktails and several other dishes from the menu. To avoid confusion, I have placed these dishes here at the bottom simply for reader interest. Please do not mistake anything below this line break as part of the above VANEATS package.
The very first dish we tried was actually the above beef carpaccio with fried chives, capers and a 64 degree chicken egg yolk. This starter looked great and tasted phenomenal as the thin cuts of beef were velvety soft and delicious. The egg yolk was a wonderfully creamy, custard-like consistency and spread across the carpaccio beautifully.
The pork jowl marinated in galbi sauce with peas, carrots, edible flowers and lotus root chips was definitely a surprise for me. With an obvious Asian flair, the fatty tenderness of the pork was perfect for the Korean marinade and definitely reminded me of my time in Seoul. I told Chef Thomas that he should be very proud of this dish as any Korean chef would be proud to serve it in his or her kitchen. A nice surprise for the evening and just another testament to Chef Thomas’ versatility and skill with putting together flavour profiles.
The grilled Skuna Bay Salmon with crushed peas was a great dish to try as it utilizes the same cut of salmon from the above smoked salmon dish. Although the base platform is the same, this dish is completely different in both texture and experience. Grilled perfectly, the gorgeous cut of salmon is crisped nicely and presents itself very competently in both density and impact as a fillet. Although I am not the biggest fan of fish, every single salmon or cod dish at Mosaic really is enticing and worthy of a try.
As I said at the start of this preview, I was very impressed by this package and am not shy about praising it where it is due. Hopefully I was able to articulate just how great an experience I had through my words and photos. If you enjoyed the write-up, definitely check out the VANEATS.ca MOSAIC video above to learn more about this pass. If you have heard enough and just want to eat, the ‘Art of Taste’ pass is currently on sale so head over to VANEATS.ca to buy your pass today!