After learning earlier in the week while having dinner at downtownfood that they were about to launch their spring menu the following week, I decided to go for an impromptu lunch with my friend so that I could try some of the lunch menu items before they get replaced. I was particularly interested in trying the Sichuan noodle dish with the hot and numbing chicken since I LOVE spicy food.
We started off with a complimentary treat from Chef Darren MacLean. It consisted of ahi tuna in a ponzu sauce with shredded daikon and topped with garlic chips, wasabi peas, togarashi, and caviar. This was like a play on tuna tataki except in this case the tuna was not seared. As always, it was delicious and I loved the presentation.
For an appetizer, we shared an order of the Brant Lake Wagyu Beef Short Rib Tempura ($14). The tempura short rib “lollipops” were served with a red anticucho sauce for dipping along with a side salad of green apple, pickled ginger, arugula and ponzu. The short rib “lollipops” were flavourful and delicious and went nicely with the dipping sauce. My favourite part of the dish was actually the salad. It was perfectly balanced in terms of flavour and texture.
For our main, both my friend and I had Sichuan Noodles ($15), which consisted of Sichuan marinated and grilled chicken thighs served with chilled soba noodles tossed in a sweet aromatic soy sauce and chili oil and finished with a scallion ginger salsa and tahini. I specifically asked our server to tell the chef to make our orders as spicy as he saw fit as both my friend and I love spice and can really handle the heat. The chicken was nicely spiced and had a good amount of heat but was not over the top spicy. I wouldn’t say that it was tongue numbing although I could feel the tingly effects of the Sichuan peppercorn a little on my tongue. To kick it up a notch, I was actually nibbling on the Thai chilies. The chicken was nicely balanced with the cool soba noodles. The varying flavours and textures of the various components worked well together to form a well-composed dish. I really liked the scallion ginger salsa which provided a nice contrast to the chicken and the noodles. Overall, this was a tasty dish and I would order it again.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and so had to skip dessert. I was really hoping to have the Chocolate Marquis again as I loved it on my previous visit a couple of days earlier. Alas, I’ll have to go back to downtownfood again soon to satisfy my sweet tooth.
628 8th Ave SW