Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

Chef Alex Chen is imaginative, inventive, and masterfully skilled. 

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, the highly-anticipated new restaurant located at the iconic Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver, has recently passed its 6-month mark as of last weekend. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night service seven days a week, the 290-seat restaurant — which features a private dining room, lounge, seated oyster bar and wrap-around outdoor patio — offers a distinctive combination of simplicity, fun, European ambiance and exceptional hospitality in a bistro-inspired social setting.

With a signature recipe that blends a respect for the past with a celebration of the modern, Executive Chef Alex Chen’s seafood-focused menu artfully combines casual West Coast cuisine with creative nods to his international influences, all while taking advantage of the local bounty available from nearby farms, fisheries and ranches. Chen, who has already unveiled his lunch and dinner menus, will also put his unique stamp on the Boulevard breakfast and weekend brunch menus this fall.

“I love using the best in-season ingredients,” says Chen, whose plates feature simple presentation, exceptional texture and clean, concise flavours. “I focus on enhancing the taste while respecting the integrity of the product, and I never forget that the simplest things are also frequently the hardest to achieve.”

Chen has built a blue-chip team in the back of house, with Chef de Cuisine Roger Maand Pastry Chef Jason Pitschke on board to help lead a kitchen staff of 30.

Boulevard’s noteworthy wine list — featuring labels sourced both locally and from the major winemaking regions of the globe — reflects Wine Director Lisa Haley’s passion for showcasing varietals with a biodynamic, organic and sustainable focus, as well as champagne and sparkling wine selections that complement Boulevard’s seafood-centred dishes. Behind the wood, Bar Manager Justin Taylor and his team shake up an inspired concoction comprising equal parts high-quality local craft spirits, house-made syrups and infusions and a dash of flair.

Along with Haley and Taylor, Boulevard boasts one of Vancouver’s premier front of house teams, with Steve Edwards taking the reins as Director of Operations, and Brian Hopkins assuming the role of Maître d’. Robert “Oyster Bob” Skinner also steps into the post of Oyster Specialist and will preside nightly over the restaurant’s expansive oyster bar, which boasts a dozen seats and a fresh-daily selection of oysters.

“Our team is steadfast in its goal: to deliver the type of ambiance, hospitality and cuisine that speaks to who we are and where we’re located,” says Edwards. “At Boulevard, we pride ourselves on having a contemporary feel grounded in classic technique, an easy approachability and a spirit of service combined with exceptional cuisine.”

In décor, Boulevard represents a crossroads between a traditional European bistro — with Parisian-inspired domed awnings, topiaries in patio planters, pergolas and tonal shades of black and cream — and a more contemporary bespoke design philosophy that embraces local works of art, mercury mirrors, up-cycled and refurbished chandeliers and subtle accents of bronze and gold. Imported Calcutta marble from Italy forms the bar tops, while concrete and limestone tiles from France will feature prominently on the wrap-around patio.

The detail, technique and thought that goes into each dish is exquisite.  The color combinations each dish offers is beautiful to look at. 
You may recognize some of the local oyster names like Shikoku and Kumamoto’s which have been notorious by Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington for their luscious taste profiles. 
We could seriously sit here and eat these oysters all day. Even though we’re oyster purists, the house made mignonette sauce gives it a lovely balance to the briny, somewhat creamy oysters.
The amuse bouche is a work of art. Squid ink rice cracker with a fresh uni, pickled radish, slices of pear and topped with salmon roe. Words can’t describe the amazement of this dish. You’ll just need to come and try it for yourself. 
Crispy chicken wings – These are seriously some of the best wings we’ve ever eaten. The crunch, caramelization of the fish sauce and the sweet and sour tang will have you chewing all the way to the bone. Chef Alex Chen takes his childhood favorite (Phnom Penh, a Cambodian-Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver) chicken wings and puts his elegant touch to it which includes a 24 hour marinade.
Octopus a la plancha – octopus is smoked potato, arugula, marcona almond, romesco sauce. The spice notes of this dish compliments nicely with the braised octopus. 
Beef carpaccio – snake river farm wagyu, smoked mayo, young lettuce, parmesan crackling

For another 10 days (January 16th – February 1st, 2015), guests can experience a 3-course dinner for $38 as part of the DINE OUT VANCOUVER Festival hosted by Tourism Vancouver. Take a look at the menu and make your reservations in advance before it fills up. 

Written by Charles Koh

Founded EatSeattle, and has continued to use his expertise as editor-in-chief to guide the website’s growth over the last five years. Koh’s experience focuses on digital marketing and social media, and has been a part of several companies, some of which he created, specializing in both areas over the course of his career. Koh was previously with Google and Zagat where he helped expand and grow communities worldwide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *