Lunch at YEW in the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

Arctic Char

This will be my first restaurant review on here. I will do my best to paint an accurate picture of what each place we visit is like. And also rate them on their food quality, ingenuity, ambiance, service and value.

Jenny surprised me today for my birthday by taking me to YEW @ the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver for lunch. This was my first time visiting this upscale dining room. I have to say, I was very surprised at my first glance into this West Coast restaurant. It is enormous inside, and probably has one of the highest ceilings for a restaurant in all of Vancouver, especially for a place that only offers one floor of dining space. The entire space is beautifully decorated and offers a very contemporary design and feel. I was immediately reminded of Coast on Alberni St, which has a similar design, being a very open concept kitchen and bar area. But YEW is very well lit in the day with lots of natural light pouring in. During lunch, it gets very busy as most business people in the district come down for a bite. This also adds to the overall “professional” and upscale feeling of the space.

Arctic Char

Service at YEW is very good, the staff are all very attentive and it is apparent that they care about the overall guest experience. Right at the door we were greeted by a friendly hostess. We were about 30 min early and they were still serving brunch, but we had come for lunch at 11:30. She took my jacket and kindly let us sit at our table and decide which menu we would prefer to order from. After snapping a few quick shots of the restaurant, Jenny and I ordered two sparkling Mimosas. These were slightly expensive, $16 each. Then we ordered a Shrimp & Lobster chowder to start. We split this in two bowls, it was $13. The portion size was a good size. The chowder was very creamy and velvety, but with little to dig for inside. I felt like it was mostly just cream with a few pieces of seafood here and there. The server also brought us out two different types of scones, one jalepeno and one herb scone. They were a good size and freshly baked. Very nice for a free starter!

Jenny ordered the Sablefish, which was served with a pear and parsnip puree, buttered napa cabbage and pear compote. Sablefish is probably one of my favourite types of fish. It is a smooth and silky fish, with a very subtle but deep flavour. The sablefish on this dish was no exception. It was pan fried and had the same great textures. But I found that the fish was slightly under-seasoned, and the accompaniments could have been improved. Any type of white fish needs something to compliment its natural plain flavour. I found that with pears and napa cabbage, there just wasn’t enough of a contrast to distinguish any one part of the dish. It had unity in its “lack-of” flavour. This dish was $33.

What I ordered though really disappointed me. I had the Arctic Char, paired with lentils, celery root, and an arugula salad with pecans. Every part of this dish was just not what I had expected. It tasted like a bad home cooked meal where the chef had to work with sparse leftover ingredients, and had little experience cooking fish. The fish itself tasted like it had been deep fried, with a hard crust on the outside, and dry on the inside and terribly under-seasoned. The lentils were plainly cooked and had cubes of what I believe was taro, along with celery roots, which is basically the tips and leaves of everyday celery. This was a bland and uninspiring combination, not to mention the arugula and pecan salad as well. This was certainly not worth the $25 price tag. But, this is where the service was able to make up for the detrimental food. When the gentleman server came over to ask how our food was tasting, I let him know that it was a little bland, but was not pushing to get something else. He kindly offered to remake my dish, or to get something else instead. I respectfully declined as I did not feel like waiting around on my birthday for a whole other dish to get made from scratch. A few minutes later another young girl came over, whom I believe may have been a manager. She wanted to know what I felt about the dish. I let her know the same thing. Five minutes after, she came back with a freshly cooked piece of steelhead salmon. She said the chef wanted me to try this instead. I was very impressed not only by the exceptional service and the desire to make sure I left happy, but also this salmon was one of the juiciest and most beautifully cooked pieces of salmon that I have ever eaten. I was quite happy with that on its own. Still think that they should revise the dish I had originally ordered though. Could be making much better use of their Char.

Overall we had a pleasant experience at YEW, and would return to give them another chance. 

Quality – 3 of 5

Ingenuity – 2 of 5

Ambiance – 4.5 of 5

Service – 4 of 5

Value – 3 of 5

YEW seafood + bar on Urbanspoon

Visit YEW to see their menu

2 comments on “Lunch at YEW in the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

  1. Cathy Chan says:

    Unbelievable review, SO detailed & well executed, Nathan … Think you’ve got yourself another career, as a ‘Food Writer/Critic’ …

  2. ted says:

    Great review Nathan. I thought you were going to give a hard 5of5 for the service due to how the restaurant reacted to your dish. Hard man to please!

    Btw happy birthday man. Every year I wish I can be with you guys. Cheers!

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