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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 7 months ago

Background on Vancouver Restaurants


As part of my trip to Vancouver (partially to watch its international fireworks competition), I did much research via chowhound, Vancouver Magazine's restaurant awards, Fodor's discussion boards, and other web sites on good restaurants within the city.


Context for this Particular Restaurant


From my reading, I saw Vij's received much hype and buzz for its innovative reinterpretation of Indian cuisine. Since this place sounded unique, I knew I had to go.



I arrived early, not long past 6:00pm, hoping that, like West, I'd be able to get a seat, if not at a table then at least at the bar. I was wrong. They told me that they didn't serve food at the bar and I'd have to wait an hour and a half to two hours for a table.


I decided to wait, realizing that if the estimate was right, I'd still be able to eat at a reasonable pace and make it to the fireworks. I cooled my heels in a nice local bookstore chain, Chapters.


Vij's Review


Vij's, with its unusual Indian dishes, succeeded in the interestingness scale but failed in the goodness scale.


After returning from Chapters, I still had to wait a little for my table. (The estimate was roughly correct.) While looking at they menu, they gave me a complimentary side of fries. These were really salty and substantially sub-par. And what kind of Indian(-inspired) restaurant serves fries?!


Once seated, for an appetizer I had "sauteed rapini and spinach with paneer and roasted cashews."


I could see what inspired this: it's like saag paneer but with rapini instead of some spinach, and with nuts, just because many Indian dishes use pureed nuts as thickeners.


I had no problem with the crumbly paneer, but the taste of the mustard greens was simply way too strong for this dish.


The naan that came with the appetizer was fairly good quality, though occasionally burnt in places.


"Lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry" was my entree.


In the sauce also sat a few sliced potatoes and mustard greens.


The sauce was okay; it simply tasted strongly of cream -- so strongly, it was actually overwhelming. I wrote in my notes, "oy! It'll kill me."


The quite fragrant basmati rice was tasty. Still, I couldn't even deal with the sauce when diluted with rice.


The best feature of the meal was the chutney that came with the naan. A mint mango chutney, it was very good, cool and refreshing, yet hot, spicy, and exciting.


With dinner, I drank a Merrydale cider. Served in a tall, seductive glass, it was more bitter than normal ciders, similar in sharpness to real ginger ale. It didn't excite me at all.


The decor definitely aimed for the hip crowd:


Service was good. My server was friendly but efficient, and having warm plates when being served warm food was a nice touch.


The total was C$54 with tax (including liquor tax) and tip; C$43 not including the alcohol.

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