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ew on the region’s restaurant scene, Chef/Owner Steve Dodd of bisque [307 -b 14th and Cliffe, (250) 3348564,] has put together an intriguing menu offering “continental cuisine with a west coast flair.” AAA steaks, lamb, seafood, in-house made pasta “and....don't forget the bisque.” Dodd’s focus is on on offering a “quiet, classical dining experience.” Other new food venues in the area include: Sushi Kobo Take Out [1773 Comox Ave, Comox, (250) 339-3222], Osaka Sushi [6-450 Ryan Rd, Courtenay, (250) 703-0146], and Pholien Noodle House [11-468 29th St, Courtenay, (250) 338-8868]. A late addition: St. Elmo's Bar and Grill now inhabits #42720 Cliffe Ave.[formerly home to Rockfish Sushi]. One of my favourite protein stops, Yummies & Gyros Café [279 Puntledge Road, Courtenay (250) 338-2299] will soon be serving fruit bars and gelato. Zizi Café [441B Cliffe Avenue, (250) 3341661] is now open late with expanded seating, and offers "tajine style" dishes - lemon chicken with Moroccan rice and traditional vegetable stew over cous cous - as well as many fun side additions and fresh baked desserts. At Atlas Café [250-6th Street, Courtenay 250.338.9838] Chef Jon Frazier, who grew up in Royston-area, continues to evolve the menu. He prepares Atlas classics with consistency and brings his flair to the most recent menu changes, including updates to the pastas and quesadillas. Chef/Owner Mark Duncan notes that Courtenay stalwart Union Street Grill & Grotto [477-5th Street, (250)897-0081] has just introduced a Grill menu with “a new elegant look, lots of new items, and an expanded winelist.” Fridays are still hopping with live music and tapas; brunch is happening on Saturdays and Sundays. The roster of events at Beyond the Kitchen Door [274B 5th St, Courtenay, (250) 3384404] is—once again—impressive. Featured events include Sooke Harbour House chefs Darcy Ladret, and David Larsen's “Winter Warm Up Meal.“ The Leeward’s Chef du Cuisine Andrew Stigant explores the diversity of West Coast flavours. Michael Kono demonstrates the fine art of sushi. Yoon Kim of Thyme on the Ocean presents a Korean “extravaganza.” Jim Lalic takes us to shores of Greece for a traditional Greek Easter feast. And Executive Chef Karen Barnaby (The Fish House in Stanley Park) presents her latest recipe compilation, Shellfish. FMI call BTKD (250) 338-4404. Looking east towards Comox, good reports by diners indicate that the crew at Avenue Bistro [2064 Comox Avenue, (250) 890-9200] is finding its feet. The menu continues to evolve with a greater assortment of choices (meat and vegetarian) and the use of more local ingredients. Brunch is served Saturday and Sundays. Warm up in front of the wood fire and have


lunch (pizza by the slice and panninis on house bread, served with soup du jour) or take away... Tuesday through Saturdays at Wild Flour Organic Artisan Bakery 221A Church Street in Comox [250-890-0017,]. To the west... in Cumberland, previous experience tells me she’s right when Chef Nicola Cunha at The Great Escape [2744 Dunsmuir Street,, (250) 336-8831] says that we’ll “love the beautiful Qualicum Bay scallops seared with a lime jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar) glaze over braised greens.” South of town, Harbour View Bistro [5575 S. Island Hwy, Union Bay (250) 335-3277] keeps a very low profile, but word of mouth tells of high quality fine dining experiences. Gourmet five-course dinners (March 6th and April 3rd), complimented by featured wines, are the seasonal news at Kingfisher Inn & Spa [4330 Island Highway, Courtenay, (800) 663-7929]. Don’t forget Easter Sunday Brunch on March 24th! Further south, in Coombs, Kiki Spice [266 Alberni Hwy, (250) 927-5454] has expanded to include Sunday brunches, as well as its unique dining experience on alternate Fridays through the Spring. Dinners feature set menus with geographico-ethnic themes. To view up & coming menus go to Reservations only. ReaL FooD [152 Morison Ave, (250) 2480003] is a small eat-in & take-out restaurant in Parksville offering a wider selection of both meat & vegetarian dishes. “We are in the business of making people feel better & bringing people together to enjoy life more,” say owners Dallas & Tracy Collis. I had one of my best meals ever last year at The Landing West Coast Grill in Parksville [(250)468-2400]. The architect of that meal, Chef Rich Atkins, has moved on to other challenges, along with Manager Nick Brandstatter. While I wish Nick and Rich all the best I’m going to miss them. And, I’m looking forward to what Atilla Cimsit (formerly of Tigh Na Mara) will do as Director of Food and Beverages. To the north, in Campbell River Michelle Yasinski has launched a "Specialty Foods Cooks" series of classes at Cheddar & Co. [1090A Shoppers Row (250) 830-0244] on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The classes are filling fast (some already sold out) and she’s taking wait lists for additional classes until garden season starts. Chef Instructor Chris Hansen at Campbell River’s North Island College campus [1635 South Dogwood St, Campbell River 250.923.9745] is excited about a new apprenticeship model that helps students complete accreditation in a reasonable time frame. “It’s the only program in BC that currently offers this innovative format,” says Hansen. With a combination of hands-on training at NIC and industry experience, it also allows students to "earn while you learn”. —Hans Peter Meyer MARCH | APRIL 2008


EAT Magazine | Issue 12-02  
EAT Magazine | Issue 12-02  

Celebrating the Food & Wine of British Columbia