I apologize for not posting in… *gulp*… weeks. It was reading break, and this time around I actually had a lot of reading. That being said, I’m here now. Nobody panic.
Disclaimer: this is a long one. Be forewarned!
Last week was also Valentines Day. To be honest, I’m not one for the holiday. I think (know?) it was created by Hallmark in cahoots with Hershey’s to sell cards and kisses. So, I stuck it to the man and refused to go out on Valentines Day! ….we went out on the 13th instead. That’ll show ’em.
All kidding aside, I do like to go out once in a while for a nice dinner. After a little research we settled on Nightingale – a new, modern concept ‘Canadian cuisine’ restaurant that focusses on share plates and ‘social dishes’. The man behind it all is David Hawksworth, a critically acclaimed chef that first opened the very successful Hawksworth’s restaurant. Let’s just say, Hawksworth’s was out of our price range, and even if we could afford it, we wouldn’t have the clothes (or class) for it.
Nightingale was one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.
My boyfriend and I made last minute reservations for 6:30 on February the 13th. We were told over the phone that they did have one table available, but asked if it was okay that it was a table in the lounge, where we would sit side-by-side and watch the action in the kitchen. We’re not picky so of course we said yes!
To say the decor is ‘cool’ would be an understatement. You walk in through double doors to be greeted by a friendly, casually-dressed host team. The dining room had tall ceilings, and a bar stretched from floor to ceiling – and I love a good bar. I can’t comment much more on the decor because it wouldn’t do it justice!
We were lead upstairs to our seats. It was better than we expected, actually, considering the ‘warning’ we were given on the phone. We sat in a booth seat sunken into the wall. It was more private than the average table, and it was right in front of the open-concept kitchen, like they said. It was also very hot, which was the only trade-off.
We were quickly greeted by not 1 server, but 2 servers and the expeditor (all at separate times, of course) who seemed to know what he was doing well enough to perhaps be someone that works in the kitchen as well? I can’t attest to this but we definitely felt looked after. The server advised us to order at least 3-4 plates to share amongst ourselves to get the full experience. We ordered some cocktails – which were delicious, might I add – and 3 items from the menu to start.
First to come to the table was the Butternut squash tortelloni with sage brown butter, pumpkin seed, and goat gouda.
This is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while. (For $17 for 6 tortellonis, it better be good.) The sauce was salty, but the creaminess of the pasta filling cut it for a perfect marriage of carby goodness.
Next we had the Roasted cauliflower with sunflower seeds and green harissa. Not sure what Harissa is but it was pretty damn good, whatever it was. I understand why they said to share because both these dishes were very rich while being a bit ‘one note’, so I think I would have been disappointed if I got this to myself and was the only thing I had. That being said, I definitely recommend this as part of the vegetable section, if you’re the type of person that conforms to eating vegetables. We were between this and the grilled broccolini, and thanks to our seats we were able to see the grilled broccolini go out and knew we made the right choice. (It was a pile of green).
Last for dinner we got a pizza, upon the servers recommendation. It felt kind of strange to order a pizza when going out for a nice dinner but we took the advice and didn’t regret it! We opted for the Pork ‘nduja sausage, kale, roasted eggplant, fior di latte pizza whilst simultaneously avoiding having to attempt to pronounce ‘nduja. I let my boyfriend take the lead on that one. It was a proper Neapolitan style crust, which I can definitely appreciate. For $17, it was pretty standard. I think next time I wouldn’t get a pizza – it was delicious, but we saw a plethora of amazing options than were more unique, IMHO.
By this point, we were completely stuffed. So we ordered dessert, because that’s the kind of people that we are.
You know when you eat something and and start laughing because that’s how good it is? The Salted caramel pot de creme did that for me. If you go here…. get this. ‘Nuff said.
Here’s a photo of something we saw and didn’t order but deserves to be seen because IT’S ON FIRE.
It’s done! We did it! If you made it this far, kudos. Reward yourself for reading my ramble by going to this restaurant, you deserve it!
TLDR: We went to Nightingale for not-not-Valentine’s day and it was good and the ambiance was cool and the servers were great and the food was delicious and I saw fire.
Nightingale by David Hawksworth is located at 1017 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC