Tasting Notes | Chefs Table at Kensington Riverside Inn

By Shivana Maharaj
February 20, 2010

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Chefs Table: The New Chef

Chefs table was alive with a full house on Saturday February 20 for CSL’s dinner with new Executive chef Jeff Park.  Formerly a chef at Araxi in Whistler, Park’s seamless transition is proof of his talent ( as a side note, according to Matire’d Ich Diocee, Araxi will be the restaurant tenure for Hell’s Kitchen season 6 winner). Rather than opt for the chefs tasting, we go for a la carte.

Amuse Bouche- Caramelized Ontion tartlette

Extremely buttery shortcrust pastry, filled with sweet, and amber coloured caramelized onions, with a small dollup of goats cheese and flecks of spring onion. Delightful, yet very rich. Accompanied by a nice Fantinel Prosecco, from Veneto, Italy.

Appetizer: Albacore Tuna Goma Ae

The albacore tuna is well seasoned (though a tad salty)- the fragrance of nutty seame oil with the soy and sake sauce accompanies the bright red tuna crusted with sesame seeds, very well.  Served with baby spinach, (the texture is very similar to pohole ferns used in Polynesian cuisine). We love the lotus root chips, which are a nice textural contrast to the silkiness of the tuna.

Appetizer: Ricotta Gnocchi

Served in a beautiful porcelain cup, the gnocchi are silky, tender and melt in the mouth.  A veloute like sauce of shimeji mushrooms, goat cheese and grana padano accompanies the soft pasta, while the most luxurious perfume of earthy truffle oil and smoked salmon caviar fill the air.

Appetizer: Pan Seared Sea Scallop

Our large seared scallops served with lentils are sweet, with a little acidity from the maple and mustard vinaigrette. The tender lentils with truffle butter are al dente and mild. Accompanying our appetizers were a selection of soft, yet crisp house made bread- everything from sourdough to oilve focaccia.

Soft Shell Crab

The soft shell crab – a spectacular presentation is crisp, light and simple.  This is served with a sauce gribiche (a light mayonnaise cold egg sauce). Its a marvel to watch Park and his team (which this evening includes hotel Arts Group Executive chef Duncan Ly) work in tandem to plate this appetizer.  The celery root fries stacked like a game of jenga neatly sit in opposition to the diced ratatouille (eggplant and red peppers).

Rack of Spring Lamb

The rack of lamb (famously cooked sous vide) and seared on the outside is butter soft.  The blue cheese polenta- full of intense bright acidity and earthiness from the cheese make a perfect bed for the white onion puree- sweet buttery and tangy all in one bite.  This is paired (by Diocee) with and jl giguiere, matchbook, syrah from dunnigan hills, California.

Yukon Arctic Char

The arctic char- a meaty fish, is accompanied with tender, delicate gnocchi, tomato pesto and beautiful manila clams- cooked perfectly.  The gnocchi with the sundried tomato pesto are a lovely accompaniment to one another. This is paired with Fattoria di magliano, pagliatura, vermentino, Ttuscany.

Pan Roasted Pickerel

We were happy to see more and more restaurant moving toward sustainable fishing choices, and such is the case with the Alberta pickerel.  Seared slightly on the outside the fish is mild and delicate.  Sweet peppers, patty pan squash and Yukon potato croquettes (crispy (with a cornmeal crust?) with a buttery and smooth consistency) round off this dish.

Dessert: Unbaked Vanilla scented cheesecake

Usually, unbaked cheesecake rests in the shadow of its baked variety, however this incarnation, including caramelized apples with shortbread crumble and cinnamon swirl is a mix between apple pie and cheesecake; and a surprisingly fragrant and light version.

Dessert: Valrhona Chocolate Fondant

A version of molten chocolate cake, served with meringue bits and sorbet is a very rich, dark chocolate mouthful of a warm oozing chocolate center and spongy, light exterior. I have indulged in my fair share of molten chocolate cakes, and this is a very rich variation.

Dessert: House spun frozen Creams and Sorbets

Neopolitan trio- strawberry, vanilla bean and chocolate, served with langues de chat (again with vanilla bean).

Chefs Table
1126 Memorial Drive Northwest

See more from our photoshoot at Kensington Riverside Inn in the Spring 2010 issue of City Style and Living magazine.