Chef Alex Chen’s Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar: A Feast Fit For A FoodieAug.13.2014
The Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, rumoured to soon take title as one of Vancouver‘s best restaurants, hosted a lavish VIP launch party this past Thursday. As one of the most anticipated openings of the year, the alluring white oak-floored and antique-chandeliered venue was packed with the who’s who of the city’s food scene. Sampling ranged from colossal prawns on stylized ice tiers to signature cocktail creations of Tealeaves ICON, Mixologist Justin Taylor. The succulent party was a huge success, offering a ‘feast for the senses’ of foodies, bloggers and industry titans alike. What a beautiful way for Chef Alex Chen to celebrate his journey home!
· Chef Alex’s Return to Canada ·
With his return, Chef Alex brings back to Vancouver a wealth of experience in the culinary arts, including the honour of competing as Canada’s sole representative at the revered Bocuse d’Or international culinary competition in France and his coveted position as Executive Chef at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.
Bringing some American influence to the north with him, the restaurant design can hardly be considered to be in classic Vancouver style. Rather, the spacious and enticing bar, expansive seating area and lavish décor is reminiscent of cutting-edge, New York gastronome locations. The interior suggests a subtle harmony of the classic, with patterned ceiling moldings while domed awnings blend beautifully with modern, sleek accents.
· A Talented Team ·
Alex Chen and his incredibly skilled team put together a flavour explosion for the guests, ranging from their immense collection of exquisite local and imported cheeses from around the world, to a mouth-watering array of tantalising chocolates and irresistible truffles. Of course, the Earl Grey Caramel Chartreuse was one of the not-to-be-missed highlights of the impressive dessert table.
· Delectable Hors D’Oeuvres With the Bounty of the Sea ·
With a focus on seafood, there was a multitude of ice-baths overflowing with the tastes of local oysters and prawns, shrimp ceviche and delicately smoked, generously cut, sockeye salmon with capers on a bed of savoury potato pancakes. As if the stationary food feasts were not enough for the guests’ delight, servers artfully wove through the multiple champagne and wine bars and the 300+ person crowd, carrying delicately assembled hors d’oeuvres such as albacore tuna spring rolls, creamy risotto balls and mini duck breast towers.
Reaching the bar, we were unable to choose. For the launch of the location, Justin Taylor created two cocktails: the Boulevardier, an Amaro and black walnut bitters creation, and the Professor Suzuki, with thyme infused vodka with cranberry liqueur. Like any great foodie, we threw caution to the wind and decided to try both, which luckily turned out to be the right decision.
· Tealeaves Icons ·
We were delighted to be able to enjoy the evening with so many influential Tealeaves ICONs such as Chef Alex Chen himself, Chef Dan Olson of Railtown Café & Catering (formerly of Los Angeles’ famed Hotel Bel Air) and Justin Taylor. Justin comes to The Boulevard from the Four Seasons Vancouver Hotel where he served as the Head Bartender at YEW Seafood + Bar for seven years. In his new role as bar manager he will be continuing to entice taste buds with his seductive conceptions.
· Top 3 Must Have Experiences at the Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar ·
2) The Professor Suzuki, made by Justin Taylor himself: Named after Vancouver’s own David Suzuki, this earth-friendly cocktail is sourced completely from British Columbia. We loved the delicate marriage of flavors in the herbal thyme infused vodka, livened up with fruity cranberry liqueur. Such a refreshing and subtly sweet cocktail.
3) The Seafood Tower: Though we didn’t have the pleasure of experiencing the entire seafood tower for four, it was so talked about that we have to make our return to try it. This now legendary seafood tower includes wild sidestripe shrimp ceviche, albacore tuna poke, Read Island mussel escabèche, Dungeness crab Louie, snow crab legs and local oysters.