FOR A COASTAL CITY, Vancouver’s lack of serious Western seafood restaurants (no such shortage in the local Asian community) has always been a weird anomaly. A better-than-average hotel dining scene is another. Then along came Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in The Sutton Place Hotel to combine the best of all worlds with a proudly Asian dream team. A memorable winter tasting menu included “B.C. coastal terroir” — a refined medley of sea urchin and dashi custard, miso-butter-crusted honey mussels, and foraged bull kelp in a shellfish nage. It was the dish that clinched the 2020 Canadian Culinary Championships for executive chef Roger Ma, who was assisted by junior sous-chef Daniel Kim (2018 winner of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship). Call ahead and you can pre-order clay-baked salmon, wrapped in seaweed and served tableside (note: it’s expensive). With that dish, Alex Chen, executive chef of signature restaurants for Sutton Place, vanquished Hugh Acheson on the inaugural season of Iron Chef Canada. Yes, the same Alex Chen who led Team Canada to a top-10 finish at the 2013 Bocuse d’Or. In summer, go for the elaborate seafood boil. The immaculate (and great-value) seafood tower is perfect any time of year. As are the new, theatrical “For the Table” experiences designed for sharing.
Photos: Leila Kwok