Most memorable meals out in 2011 - Ensemble

It's been a while since the last entry, but over the next few weeks I am posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Just to recap...I wrote about a very memorable meal at Vij's, a delicious nuevo latino meal at Cobre, the nine-course tasting heaven experienced at C, and the outstanding Neapolitan pizza at Nicli Antica Pizzeria.

Ensemble – We're hardcore Top Chef fans (it’s one of the few shows on TV that we actually follow) and have not missed an episode since the show first started back in 2006. When the Canadian version aired we were pulling for local chef Dale MacKay who appeared to be a strong contestant from the get go. He went on to win Top Chef Canada, and has since opened two of his own restaurants in Vancouver: Ensemble (which I am talking about today), and the more comfort food/pub-style Ensemble Tap (which we have yet to try, but will definately be catching a Canucks game there in the near future).

Chantelle and I dined at Ensemble with a friend, and between the three of us we go to try a good handful of items on the menu. The price points and portion sizes really allows for sharing, which in my opinion always makes for a fun dining experience.

We tried two salads, the Cornmeal crusted scallops, the Beef shin and fritz, the Sweet and sour eggplant, the Pulled pork sandwich (Top Chef), the Black cod with pork Thai broth (Top Chef), and to finish, the Strawberry pavlova (Top Chef)(and one of Mark McEwan's personal favorites lol)

The thing that I loved most about the meal was the originality. None of the dishes were particularily "unusual" per se, but I didn't feel like they were anything that I've had before, which is definately a compliment. (Okay fine, a pulled pork sandwich is pretty standard fare, but serving it with watermelon and a fried pickle is genius). The dishes were modern and all executed to perfection. Chef Dale MacKay is clearly creating his food, his way, which is exciting to see and a breath of fresh air.

Ensemble - Sweet and sour eggplant

Ensemble - Pulled pork sandwich with fried pickle and watermelon

On top of great food, a truely memorable meal should include great service...and it was just that. We loved the friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. It's great to see a restaurant in this loaction thriving again. If you haven't gone...go! There are some dishes that I am still eager to try, so a visit back in 2012 is high on my list.

Let us know what you think of Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay's restaurant Ensemble in the comments below...

Mark  – (January 19, 2012 at 8:59 AM)  

It was amazing! It was a dish Dale presented on Top Chef, and was amazing enough to win him that challenge.

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