Last night the fiance and I went to the Hart House Restaurant at Deer Lake in Burnaby for his birthday dinner. We were certainly not disappointed!
The restaurant itself is a heritage building that has been converted into a lovely restaurant and event facility. The view overlooks Deer Lake and every table has a sense of intimacy, but not in a snooty overpowering way. The restaurant describes itself as casually elegant, and I think that hits the mark. We would have been comfortable in nice jeans and a shirt or a suit and dress-it wouldn't have mattered.
Our waiter inspired both of us to think career change-the affianced has decided that he wants to be a cool waiter when he turns 50 and endeavour to the heights of ours. He was knowledgeable, relaxed, attentive, funny and not at all overbearing. Added amazingly to the dining experience.
We started with a bottle of Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir. Yummy. A little overrated for the price, but it was still a lovely wine and went perfectly with our meals! Our waiter even complimented our choice (although the compliment definitely added to his tip...hmmm...he WAS a good waiter!)
I started with the beef carpaccio with arugula, truffle dressing and caper berries. The affianced started with the dungeness crab cakes with thai dressing. YUM on both accounts. The carpaccio melted in my mouth and the saltiness and tanginess of the dressing and caper berries really added to the flavour of the meat. The crab cakes were perfectly done and the sauce was yummy cocoanutty goodness.
For the mains, the boy had the rack of lamb which I am told was good. I don't eat lamb because it tastes like goat to me and I grew up on a goat farm (yup...a farm girl. Explains SO MUCH!). I had the wild mushroom risotto. I was tempted by the Roast tenderloin, but I love risotto and wanted to try theirs and do NOT regret my choice. It went beautifully with the wine, it was creamy, cheesy and magnificent with a lovely assortment of wild mushrooms that weren't at all overwhelming.
The desserts however were not as amazing as the meal. They were fine, but the rest of the food was so spectacular, it would have been hard to beat. The boy had a warm chocolate caramel pecan brownie with vanilla ice cream and candied pecans. It was fine-the pecans rocked, but the rest was okay. I had the dessert trio-chocolate hazelnut mousse cake (good), creme caramel (okay, THAT was amazing...yum yum yum) and a coconut chocolate cake (meh). In future, I think I will stick with the creamy desserts from the Hart House. We finished off our meal with a lovely coffee, left a fabulous tip for our waiter and headed off into the raining, dismal evening.
Four enthusiastic thumbs up for the Hart House! We look forward to returning in the nicer weather for brunch on the patio.