Hawksworth and L’Abbatoir make en Route’s best list
VANCOUVER — I would have demanded a recount if Vancouver’s Hawksworth restaurant wasn’t on this year’s en Route magazine’s annual Best New Restaurants list, released today.
But it was and it took second spot in the magazine’s 10th annual Top 10 list.
“A seamless fusion of Asian, European and West Coast elements, the cuisine reflects its city with subtlety rather than shock value,” wrote the judge and writer, Sarah Musgrave. “Seared scallops with homemade XO sauce wear a pork-crackling fascinator sprinkled with togarashi powder. Sticky, sultry, finger-licking veal sweetbreads – fried in bacon fat and maple syrup, c’mon! – are everything you knew you loved about chicken wings and didn’t know you loved about kholrabi and kumquats. Slow-cooked halibut is cloaked in almost-translucent chorizo, duck bathes in Chinese five-spice broth. For dessert, cream of calamansi, the tiny Asian citrus, comes with Italian and French meringue.” It omitted to mention, however, the extremely good post-recession value one finds at this haute restaurant.
L’Abattoir was another Vancouver restaurant on the list and sits in third spot. Chef Lee Cooper’s French-accented West Coast food was called “breathtakingly original,” mentioning the Dungeness crab and chickpea toast in a toasted brioche cylinder with crab custard and pickled carrots. “Each dish is a who’da thunk it, like juggling cubes of Aperol (Jell-O shots) surrounding a foie gras terrine, or crisped, Szechuan-spiced dumplings (oxtail egg rolls!) alongside exquisitely seared scallops, Asian pear and charred daikon,” writes Musgrave.
St. John’s restaurant, Raymonds took top spot. It’s chef Jeremy Charles’ second win. In 2007, he was chef at Atlantica, another Newfoundland restaurant when it took top spot in the en Route.
Eligible restaurants opened after July, 2010. Musgrave toured the country visiting restaurants recommended by food writers or critics in various cities.
The results are online at www.enrouteaircanada.com. They’ll also be published in the magazine, out Nov. 1, along with a restaurant trends report.