Because of each of our careers, neither I nor Jenny could spend Feb 14th together, so we decided to do it on the Saturday right after instead. This also gave us the option to go with their very well known and complex a la carte menu.
Owned and operated by husband and wife Ernst Dorfler and Gerry Sayer, Five Sails is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s as you can feel that their passion for food and a great dining experience connect seamlessly throughout your visit. Five Sails has been consistently recognized with the AAA five diamond designation since 1990, making it a legend in the Vancouver food scene. Since their re-launch in 2007, Five Sails has been updated with a new exciting design put together by David Hepworth from Situ Design. Their stunning views over Coal Harbour and Stanley Park really make for a memorable Valentine’s evening.
For the food, we started with two of their signature appetizers,
Because we were there early in the evening, we were also presented with a delightful amuse-bouche of fresh hamachi tuna, as well as a tasting of butternut squash soup. The hamachi was fresh and had been coated in a light dressing, but I felt the temperature of the fish could have been slightly colder. The soup however was delicious in all respects, the sweet, rich flavour of the squash was uplifted by just the right amount of salt.
The first appetizer we ordered was the tasting of chilled seafood, which was made up of dungeness crab, BC balik salmon, and atlantic lobster. The crab was tossed in a light citrus and covered with a fresh slice of avocado. I found this very nice and refreshing to eat, the crab was very fresh. The Balik salmon had an incredibly unique flavour and texture, it was topped with a sturgeon caviar. The lobster however, was fresh and cooked quite nicely, but I found that the radish and apple salad was quite overwhelming and even a flavour as strong as lobster got lost in a sweet ‘pickled’ taste.
The next dish was the “Schlutzkrapfen” Austrian-style ravioli. We got the half sized order to start with 5 raviolis. Every component of this dish was so beautifully cooked and put together. It was made with spinach, herbs and ricotta cheese, and a hazelnut brown butter.
For our main courses, we had the fresh catch, which was 1/2 Atlantic lobster, caramelized weathervane scallop, the daily catch(seabream), lemongrass sauce perfumed with coconut glazed baby vegetables. It was very aromatic with the lemon grass. Tasting it reminded me of the thai coconut curry dish that I’ve made many times. This is a nice warm brothy dish that gets quite rich in its flavours. Also the scallops were made so delicately
The Sablefish was one of the ‘must try’ items on the menu. It is really a good portion size as well especially since a lot of places don’t give you the amount you’d like. It is simply prepared with a wahoo truffle sauce and sautéed shimeji mushrooms. The fish is seared nicely first and you can tell it was marinated well because the flavour runs deep into such a thick cut of fish. I would eat this again and again!
The last item for our mains was the Honey Glazed Breast of Duck. This is also a guest favourite at Five Sails. It’s served with a pan seared foie gras, caramelized fruit and hazelnuts, red kurri squash purée, chestnut gnocchi and a port wine sauce. This is quite a complex dish with many components to it, but somehow each item on this plate really compliments the one beside it very well. The foie gras with the duck was just beautiful. And the duck breast was, even though it was very thick cuts, still very moist and easy to eat. The squash purée made a nice accompaniment for a good bite of everything.
Even though we were expecting only small portions after seeing the appetizers, we were surprisingly full after the large entrées. But of course, there was still room for a decadent dessert. We went for the luxe lemon mille-feuilles, which is layers of crisp phyllo pastry, chilled lemon cream and lemon parfait, topped with pearls of orange “caviar”. This was a really delicious dessert and there was a berry compote or sauce at the bottom which added some much needed tartness to a sweet yet not too sweet dessert.
The last dessert was the chocolate banana tango. Excuse me for not having the description here, it was new to the menu I believe and I didn’t get down all the ingredients, but it was really quite nice though, the inside was bananas with what might have been a chilled cream filling.
Overall we had a very pleasant experience at Five Sails. There was a bit of a delay for our food though and we waited almost an hour for our entrées to arrive. Apparently many walk-ins came at their opening that they hadn’t expected so they were backed up in the kitchen. The owner did come over and check frequently that we were still doing alright. The food and the atmosphere made it tolerable that we had to wait. It wasn’t a very big concern. In total, it came to just under $200 for 3 people. It wasn’t too much more than I had expected. For the quality of food and the service, I think it was definitely worth the money.
Quality – 5 of 5
Ingenuity – 5 of 5
Atmosphere – 5 of 5
Service – 4.5 of 5
Value – 4.5 of 5
Overall – 4.8 of 5