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No. 31

Wild Blue

CHEF ALEX CHEN WAS (AND STILL IS) PERFECTLY HAPPY at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, the highly acclaimed downtown Vancouver restaurant (No. 22 on our list this year) where he’s been chef since its 2014 launch. But when he was given the opportunity to lead the kitchen at a newly acquired space in Whistler — in collaboration with the ostensibly retired Toptable Group founder Jack Evrensel and veteran restaurant director Neil Henderson — it was too golden an opportunity to pass up. Now in its second year, Wild Blue’s dining room is a pointedly luxurious environment, its dark wood panelling and dim lighting evoking the golden age of steak houses. Chen and his executive chef Derek Bendig aim to make each plate a showcase for the abundance of the Pacific Northwest, with an emphasis on seafood. High rollers can avail themselves of local (Northern Divine) or Kristal caviar and multi-tier seafood towers. There is also a luxuriously rich lobster bisque with brandy cream; stellar linguine alle vongole made with geoduck and littleneck clams; and Pacific striped bass in pork dashi. Grilled meats run the luxurious gamut from Provimi veal to A5 wagyu. Kathryn Woods’ award-winning wine list offers more than two dozen by-the-glass selections, including some great B.C. pours under $20.

Stands apart for service, presentation and atmosphere — one to remember. Vikram Vij
he short-rib grilled cheese sandwich, exclusive to the Après (3–5 p.m.) and Late Night (10 p.m.–midnight) menus.

Photography by Leila Kwok

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