After fellow foodie friends posted about their experience to this amazing restaurant just an hour and half away from Vancouver (plus a short ferry ride), I knew I had to dine there some time. In fact, it was featured in 2011 by New York Times as “10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride” and again in 2013 as “The Top 10 Food Lover’s Hotels in The United States“. I’m pretty certain it would be rated on the Michelin guide, except they don’t do Michelin ratings in Washington state. The chef is Blaine Wetzel, who has worked at Noma, #1 on the World’s Top 50 restaurant.
When the opportunity arose a couple months ago to make a reservation at the restaurant for this past long weekend, our friends invited 6 of us to join as well – you can say it’s been a good 2 months worth of anticipation! The tasting menu consisted of 4 main dishes and roughly 10 “snacks”, and a few “dessert” dishes. The price is $150 per person, $60 extra for wine pairing, and $40 extra for juice pairing (or you can do half-half). I personally had the juice pairing which were very different than what you would make yourself at home with the same ingredients (Sorrel, Cucumber, Carrot, Currant, Elderflower). I would probably have opted for the half-half if I didn’t have to drive afterwards.
Most of the ingredients are sourced locally right on the island, with a lot of the vegetables being planted right behind the Inn. It’s always interesting to see very simple ingredients being used as enhancements for these dishes, but without them, it would taste completely different. They also had their own smoke house, which they used to smoke and prepare a lot of the meat and seafood.
The service was excellent and fast, although if you are thinking of splitting the bill in different ways, you may encounter some delays in the end. The meal itself would not be complete without foodies taking a lot of photos of the dishes itself – which were often decorated very beautifully + precisely. Sorry, photos do not convey the smell and taste of the food!
Definitely reserve many months in advance, and enjoy the rest of the island before your meal, especially if the weather turns out great!