At night we were heading out for a meal to meet a friend from home that we hadn't seen for a few years who is now living in Vancouver. We had spent quite a bit of time trying to decide where to eat before we left as we wanted to have a nice meal out but something that wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg. Whilst looking at a few restaurants I realised that Taste of Yaletown 2010 had just started which meant we could take advantage of eating at a lovely restaurant in Yaletown and have a 3 course meal for between $25 and $45. As it turned out both of the restaurants we had been considering were taking part in this so we booked a table at the Hamilton Street Grill.
The table was booked for 8pm and when we arrived the restaurant was completely full with a lively atmosphere to walk into. We all opted for the $35 menu and ended up pretty much ordering the same meal! To start I ordered the west coast mussels which were served in a chipotle cream sauce with house cured bacon and a cilantro (coriander) lime pistou and my sister and friend had the goats cheese salad with pickled beets and vanilla white balsamic vinaigrette. Both dishes were lovely and the perfect sized portion, however I didn't detect any coriander/cilantro or lime and think it may have been forgotten (since you can't really miss the taste of coriander!!). Similarly the goats cheese and beetroot salad had no hint of vanilla but was delicious regardless. Presentation was nothing special for the salad but they did use both yellow and red beetroot which I always think looks beautiful. Normally I like to choose a different meal from everyone else so we can try a few things but this time since we only had a couple of choices we all opted for the steak. That being said since Hamilton Street Grill is a steakhouse it seemed to make sense to pick something that they are known for and therefore should cook perfectly. They did just that and all of our steaks were perfect. Served with a red wine shallot demi glace and a compound herb butter all three were melt in your mouth. The steaks were served on creamy mashed potatoes with carrots and green beans which were lovely and crisp – just as they should be. We were all so full after our main course that we had to wait a while before we could even consider dessert. Thankfully our waitress was fantastic and we were told to relax, take our time and enjoy ourselves which was really appreciated since there is nothing worse than being made to feel rushed when you are in a restaurant. When we were finally ready we all rather boringly opted for yet again the same dessert, despite having a choice of five! The vanilla bean creme brulee won us all over as it seemed the lightest of the options, however as a good creme brulee should be it was rich, velvety smooth and thick with plenty of vanilla. I was reassured to see that the vanilla specks had all congregated on the bottom of the ramekin as this was exactly what had happened to me last time I made my creme brulee!! The sugar was scorched perfectly – not overdone as it sometimes can be leading to a dark bitter taste. My only criticism was that it was a rather large portion and so I was only able to eat half of it (that plus the fact I had already had mussels and a large steak!) but that really isn't a criticism, more of a disappointment that I had to waste some of it since it was so good!! For the three courses we each paid $35 (not including taxes and 15% tip) which was fantastic value for money, the only negative was the cost of the wine which was $40 a bottle but that seems to be standard now for a meal out. I would definitely go back to the Hamilton Street Grill with or without Taste of Yaletown, however having never been before, it was the perfect way to try out a new restaurant and see what it is like as there is nothing worse than going somewhere new and leaving disappointed. Taste of Yaletown runs until October 30th and is definitely worth taking advantage of it. For a full list of participating restaurants and their menus visit http://yaletowninfo.com/