Last night, Mr. Dashing and I decided to go out for dinner. In itself, not a big deal, but dinner out together usually means more than one stop. We like to restaurant hop, which allows us to try out a few different restaurants and atmospheres throughout the evening, Sort of like bar hopping, but much swankier.

We decide to take the train downtown, since we agreed there would most likely be bubbles and neither of us wanted to drive. Besides, parking in Vancouver costa a small fortune.

We started at Ensemble, which is the focus of this posting. Ensemble is the brain child of Top Chef Canada winner Dale Mackay. We sat at the bar and swapped stories with the bartender and sipped on muddled cocktails. With these we enjoyed a honey beet salad, as well as buffalo mozzarella with watermelon and balsamic reduction. Oh, and crab cakes. All three plates were very good and nicely executed, but it was the cheese / melon / balsamic that really stood out for us. The sweetness of the watermelon off set with the tang of the balsamic was a little bit of bliss. The buffalo mozzarella helped ensure each bite was something different; some smooth with just a hint of sweetness, others creaminess with the bite of the balsamic.

There is a mixture of lounge-y bar atmosphere alongside sit down dining; giving the room an overall warmth. Or maybe it’s just because it’s a small room on the corner of Thurlow and Haro. Or that Mr. Dashing was rather amorous and flirty. Either way, it was a great way to start off our evening, and we intend to return soon to try more of Chef Mackay’s dishes.

Afterwards, we went to Coast for oysters and bubbles (well, Mr. Dashing had the oysters, we both had the bubbles), then to Gyoza King for ….gyoza, ebi mayo and sake, to Cin Cin for dessert and more bubbles. Finally, a little stop in at Thierry for macarons before heading home.

So $300.00 lighter, the evening was a big success. Until I broke one of the heels on my favourite pair of boots on the way home. First world problems, I know.
Looking forward to our next night out.

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