Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mar 3rd - Figmint Restaurant, Vancouver

I caught up with my friend J for dinner. She is a mommy of two and a successful engineer so we do not see each other very much. She used to work downtown and meeting up was a tad easier. Now, she started a new job in Burnaby so logistics are everything. We needed to find a place south of False Creek and has parking. She chose Figmint from a few options I threw in. She offered up Crave. I wish we had chosen it.

I have eaten at Figmint before. It was not memorable and I have a crazy memory for food. It is the lobby of south of central hotel. What does that mean? Well, that is overpriced for the quality is a given is generally a rule of thumb for hotel restaurants from my perspective. I wasn't sure if their kitchen also serves the room service. That would have been good to know.

One of the reasons, I selected Figmint from the choices was that they had a Prix Fixe on offer on their website. It wasn't a spectacular deal but it was a bit of a saving. Well, it was the first thing I asked when I was seated. They had said they discontinued it. I said that it was still currently on the website and though apologetic, nothing else was on offer. If this was a shop and there was still a sale posted, they would be held to honour it. They did not feel compelled to. Warning bell.

Warning bell #2, their wine list had handwriting all over it. It looked like an inventory check. It looked sleek but underneath all that blush and mascara, Figmint was a Monet up close. The cocktail list was a motley collection of some of the oddest concoctions I have seen on one menu. Gin, Lemon Juice, Grape Fruit Juice and Grenadine!?!? Gin and Icewine, Apple Juice?!?

We both ordered the salmon. Pan-Roasted Salmon with Black Olive Polenta, Globe Artichokes on a Spiced Eggplant Purée with Basil Barigoule Sauce. As you know, I am a sucker for Polenta. This was not the dish to order if you like and make polenta. The description above is exactly as it is written on the menu. Where in this description would you gleen that it is a deep fried bar that closely resembled a frozen fish stick in appearance, texture and flavour? Disappointing. The Salmon was slightly undercooked. I like it pink in the middle but this was very nearly sashimi. The seared skin on top was soggy and only barely browned. The artichokes and tomatoes on top of the polenta 'fishstick' were nice, firm, well cooked. The eggplant puree was tasty but it was but a schmear under the salmon. There was a superfluous foam sauce on top. Gary Rhodes, one of my favourite British chefs, has a penchant for foam sauce but I just don't get it. So unsatisfying and in this case, unneeded.

The dessert menu looked fabulous and we both opted for chocolate. J did because she loves chocolate. I did because I thought it was the safest option given the polenta stick disappointment. On the menu, the dessert read: Chocolate Trio - Dark Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Mousse and White Chocolate Tapioca. We both hesitated because of the Tapioca. I do not enjoy the texture of tapioca. Ironically and luckily, we were not served Tapioca, though not told in advance, par for this course. We were served a White Chocolate Mini Panna Cotta. It was lucky because, it was gorgeous. It was like eating a beautiful white chocolate by the spoon only lighter and more silky. The Mousse was wonderful, rich, nice texture though the portion was rather modest. The Brownie was the least exciting and that is saying something. I mean how can you go wrong with a brownie? Well, it was dry and too thin so too much crust. Brownies should be nearly fudge in the middle. This was nearly a cookie. The fresh cream on top did brighten it up though. Dessert was certainly the highlight of the meal.

Cost: $$-$$ (drinks were expensive with a limited wine by glass selection)
Ambience: Modern yet shallow
Location: Across form City Hall and near Skytrain
Staff: Unattentive, though friendly and not sympathetic about unhonoured website offer

Figmint Restaurant
500 West 12th Ave @ Cambie St
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 1M2

FigMint on Urbanspoon

I do not plan a return visit in the near future and next time will call ahead to verify website promises.

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