A mini celebration at Hawksworth (David Hawksworth being one of the finest chefs in YVR; he made West the restaurant it is and, for better or worse, it probably never will rise again to the heights he carried it to back in the day). As a restaurant, with it’s three tangential but not coordinated rooms, mish-mash table locations, including one nestled in a corner adjacent to the toilets, the glitz and glam of one room, the clubby air with Serge Mouille fixtures in another, it’s like “design wars” on some suitably brash wannabe HGTV designer contest. The service, uneven, from stuffy formal to Vancouver casual, and the crowd a mix of couture and “west coast couldn’t care less.” But above it all, literally, the food.
Oh, and the wine. We drank by the glass. Why? Because Hawksworth has (what appeared from a distance to be the) Cruvinet system (or a facsimile of) which ensures you won’t get a bad glass, no matter when the bottle was opened. And it is a higher than expected and wonderfully selected wine by the glass selection on offer.
Among our vino by the glass pics: A NZ sauv bl (Ned’s, astringently grassy and superb with oily fish and easily available at the government stores), an Argentine Malbec (Altos, deep and alluring), a CA cab sauv (Truchard, pricey, and not particularly my cup of tea), a Portuguese white (Encruzado, not a good sipper but perfect with scallops), a quite good port (Taylor’s 20 year old) and a more than decent Sauternes (Partarrieu, pretty common as “the” Sauternes in YVR restaurants but not a lick above what you would see on a menu in London).
All that said though, the star of the night was unequivocally the Napa Starmont Chardonnay, which was inimitably California chard, yet struck a perfect balance of oak and citrus, had a long, elegant finish, and was the nectar I would like to have by the case in my cellar. At $19 a glass at Hawksworth ($39 a bottle at the liquor outlet), it is unfortunately not in my wheelhouse. But I give it five stars for a bottle of new world plonk. To say nothing of the five star food.
Price: Pricey, at home ($40) or out ($19 a glass…).
Market Liquidity: Like a gracious host.