For this edition of Dine Out Vancouver, there are 6 restaurants that are plant-based and offer vegan Dine Out menus. We have been to all of them in the past but hope to revisit 4 during the course of the festival. Last evening, we had the privilege of visiting Chi and were treated to a wonderful vegan meal at the hands of some very nice and attentive people in a delightful space! Have I given to much away already?
Chi is located on 4th Avenue, just west of Cypress. We chose to take transit which was pretty uncomplicated (one bus and a short walk from Burrard Station). We arrived 6 minutes late but they had not given away our table (just kidding. of course, they hadn't)! Being late is still unacceptable but you never quite know with transit!
The complimentary puffy bread, straight out of the fryer and dip, a soubise with cassava if I am remembering correctly, was so good that we briefly considered just ordering more and making that our meal! The soubise, which is basically an onion sauce, was rich and slightly sweet.
Their DOV deal is an appetizer, main and dessert for $45 and there are enough choices that we could go back a second time and not repeat. We decided to start with Spicy Truffle Wontons. These were not overly spicy nor truffly but we enjoyed them. The dipping sauce leaned toward the vinegary and we like that. They were delicate and 'meaty'.
The appetizer that really made us sigh was the Smoked Eggplant. I don't see it on the DOV site menu for Chi so they must have subbed this but we are not sorry. It was smokey and rich and topped with possibly cashews and garlic. Either way, this was complex and wonderful!
We recall that when we last visited Chi, we had their Tumeric Fish and this was a similar type of fish dish (sorry, a familiar type of phish dish). Advertised as Seitan, Chi herself gave away the secret which I neither remember precisely nor could I recreate at home. Suffice it to say that this is a seitan and tofu mix complete with a seaweed skin that contributed to the ocean taste. There was a sweet caramelized onion sauce which was outstanding and actually caramelized to the point of being sticky! Amazing! Served with coconut rice (this was an adder) and some greens, I was astounded but Mharie was less impressed. She kind of loves her real dried fish so this might have missed the mark from her standpoint.
We also had the Laab which is a Laotion dish here recreated with crumbled tofu. Cooked with lots of typical S.E. Asian herbs and served as a lettuce wrap, this was a home run also.
Mharie had no trouble deciding on dessert as she loves tapioca. Serve it with banana, coconut and peanuts and again, you have a winner!
We also had the Pear Poached in Red Wine with Coconut Ice Cream and this too was a showstopper. The pear was nicely firm while the sauce was rich and we love coconut ice cream so this was another happy taste of dessert.
We kind of thought of Chi as a more casual restaurant. The truth is that the last time we came, it was for lunch, and we had a 'chicken' burger and fries, which was great. This time though, we got a real appreciation of what this kitchen can do and they definitely have moved into the top few vegan restaurants in Vancouver in our minds. As mentioned, the staff were very attentive but nothing approaching too familiar. Definitely visit them for DOV or at any time!
Food 5 out of 5
Vegan options 5 out of 5
Comfort 5 out of 5
Service 5 out of 5
Value 5 out of 5
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