A couple of Fridays back, a group of six of our friends decided to try out a new restaurant for dinner, and I managed to get us some last minute reservations at Latitude restaurant on Main Street after doing some checking around. I had heard a few things from some friends about it, and thought it would be a good place to go to that wasn’t within my walking distance bubble.
Once we’d settled in, most of us decided to go straight for some Sangria (they only serve it by the glass as they don’t have pitchers), which contained a lot of fruit – even gooseberries! We had already started on some wine before leaving for dinner, and may have also slipped in a shot or two of butter creme and vodka, so this seemed to be the natural thing to do at the time. I managed to get by with only one glass, while others then moved on to vodka sodas, champagne, and other similar libations. Now that I think back, I’m wondering how loud and obnoxious we were that night. 🙂 Maybe that’s why it took a bit of time and cajoling to take our order at the beginning…
At this point, the meal turned into a bit of a free for all, and everyone basically started throwing out choices of what to order. We went with quite a few different options and all just dug in once everything started to arrive. However, based on what was brought out, I was very content!
The Mussels were a great start to the meal. They were plump and juicy and very fresh, and were made in a smoked chili and lime coconut broth, and served with a grilled flat bread. I’m pretty sure I was guilty of being the person that had the most shells leftover on my plate by the time the bowl was emptied.
The Smashed beet salad, with spinach, goat cheese, spiced chickpea and garlic chip crumble, topped with a preserved lemon shallot vinaigrette came shortly thereafter. I’ve been kind of obsessed with eating beets lately, be them the golden or red varieties, and just love how they go so well with goat cheese. Fantastic!
I also really enjoyed the Qualicum Bay Scallops, with fried white corn arepitas, fresh cut guacamole, and chive oil. Nice and refreshing!
Next up was the Argentinian Parillo Plate, consisting of duck chorizo, Peace River lamb chop and pork tenderloin, mint chile jam, salsa criola, and sweet pepper apple relish. A definite meat-lovers delight!
For our mains, a few of us shared different options, while others decided to skip this portion of the meal after eating all of our smaller appetizer plates earlier on (or really, during the most substantial part of the dinner).
The Bison Flank Steak came with chimichurri sauce, sauteed cherry tomatoes, and queso smashed new potatos and was quite delicious. Tender and served at the perfect temperature, I really enjoyed the bite that I tried (I think my hands must have been shaking in excitement as I was taking the picture – sorry for the blurriness ;)).
However, I did prefer the Beef Short Ribs out of the red meat dishes that we had that evening. These were braised with amber ale and pasilla, with a hominy (corn without the germ), sweet pepper and white bean succotash. As one friend put it – “those are the best damn short ribs I think I’ve ever had!” I’m not sure I entirely agree, as I’ve had some other really great ones as well (think Lupo), but these did go over very well with everyone that night.
I chose the vegetarian option – the Polenta, with roasted winter squash, grilled fennel, organic oyster mushroom and fresh onion saute, and caramelized onion. Again, I love mushrooms, so this turned out to be fantastic – so much so that I didn’t even miss having meat in my dish!
My brother went with the traditional Paella, which is something I haven’t tried since my next door Spanish neighbour from a past house I lived in made some for all of the roommates during one party. I was scared that I wouldn’t be satisfied with any others after that. This version had a smoky tomato arborio rice stew, juicy striped prawns, sizable mussels, some other local fish (I didn’t ask what specifically), and hot smoked duck sausage. Again, it was quite good, but it couldn’t beat the home-cooked I’ve had before.
The last of the main dishes that I tried included the Chicken Breast (it’s extremely rare for me to order chicken at a restaurant). This came with double smoked bacon, and was served with a delicious sweet pea risotto and preserved lemon gremolata. The meat was moist and tender.
After being nearly stuffed to the brim, instead of having the Cheese Plate as one of our appetizers, someone ordered it for dessert, with a glass of port. This was served with three types of cheese, including Manchego, a ‘Mt. Pleasant’ Bleu Claire and Le 1608. Also part of the dish, there were slices of peppered pear, a gooseberry compote, and baguette and crisps.
We also ordered a couple of other desserts (okay, so maybe I was the one that did), one of which was the Coconut and Sour Cherry Rice Pudding. I wasn’t too entranced with this choice, but did like the gooseberry compote and candied coconut that came with it (who doesn’t like gooseberries?)! It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that exciting either, and probably not my preferred type of food.
Last of all, I tasted (and ate most of) the Pastel de Tres Leches. Just the description itself was enough to make my mouth water – spongecake drenched with three milks, maple Chantilly, and and crushed pecan praline. Based on the satisfactory sounds everyone at the table was making, I’m pretty sure this won the dessert contest for the night. It was quite sweet, but I didn’t find anything to be too overpowering, so it almost felt like having a light treat after our meal (although I’m sure it was quite rich in reality).
Overall, I’d have to say that I really enjoyed our dinner that night at Latitude on Main. It was a pleasant surprise in terms of how much I liked the dishes consistently throughout the evening, and would definitely come back again with friends. The food is sourced and grown organically and locally within BC as well, which is another great thing about this restaurant. Since the dining area is somewhat small, I would recommend reservations for most nights, especially on weekends.