Review, BLACK + BLUE Restaurant

Opened this fall, BLACK + BLUE is the seventh restaurant in Vancouver’s Glowbal Restaurant Group. Proprietors Emad and Shannon Bosa Yacoub have clearly developed a working recipe for success, as their properties seem to be packed most nights. The new spot focuses on, as the name signals, steak. (For those not in the know, the resto’s tagline is intentionally less subtle: “The golden age of steak.”)

The room itself is magnificent. Entering off Alberni Street, where the group’s Coast and Italian Kitchen are also housed, diners can choose from a variety of seating areas in this 240-seat, three-level space. BOX Interior Design brings details such as the custom lighting installation over the central bar, velvet and leather furnishings and a Himalayan rock salt wall where the meats are on display. Sit bar-side and sip on a classic cocktail, or ride the glass elevator up to the private rooms on the third floor. A roof-top garden will open next spring.

Executive Chef Dennis Peckham joined the group as the Executive Chef of COAST in April following stints at the French Laundry and Charlie Trotter’s. Chef de Cuisine Jason Labahn mastered steaks at Fix at Bellagio and Brand at Monte Carlo. The team knows its meat and crafted the menu based on the classic Chicago steakhouse, with modern twists. In-house aged beef from a variety of different purveyors is served up with tableside Caesar salads and flambés. Dining here is theatre and the crowd well worth watching.

For appetizers, the stuffed mushrooms are the best we’ve had. These large portobellos are chock full of Dungeness crab and decadent Béarnaise sauce. The steak tartare is pure perfection, topped with a quail’s egg and fried capers and served with a blue cheese crostini. The French onion soup comes bubbling hot and is a beyond-generous portion. The Louie salad is a delight of romaine lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, egg and avocado (add lobster or crab to make a meal).

But you’ve come for the steak, and you’ve got some choices to make. The Double RR Ranch USDA prime 60 oz Tomahawk is for the very hungry, as is the 32 oz Reserve Angus bone-in rib eye. Those who want to keep it Canadian will choose the PEI Blue Ribbon cattle selections: beef tenderloin, New York strip, bone-in rib eye and Porterhouse. There are also beer-drinking, massaged cattle, including the Snake River Wagyu, that can be cut to order.

All is not lost for seafood lovers (it’s a modern steakhouse). Salmon, sablefish, Lobster Thermidor and tuna, and plenty of sides, round out the meal options. There is mac and cheese, and it’s superb; so too the creamed corn with hints of jalapeno, the Brussel sprouts and the signature cheese bread.

If you’ve managed to get through your meal with room for dessert, don’t miss the butter cake with crème Chantilly and caramel sauce, or the chocolate soufflé. Better yet, order the Crepes Suzette, prepared tableside with Cointreau and whipped cream. As we said: Dining here is theatre, and you’ve got the best seats in the house.

Image courtesy of  Morgan Sommerville. 

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