Home Tasting Room has a new fall menu, with a focus on sharing the dishes, just like you would at home. I love the fact that the prices for the dishes are reasonable, and the food is still really good. We had a 5:30 reservation on a Saturday night so that we could see a play at 7:30 over at Arts Common. Having parked in the Telus Convention Centre parkade, Home Tasting Room is a perfect distance away from the theatre and the parkade and Jay didn’t complain about having to walk too far.
When we arrived there was only one other table with people at it, and oddly, we were seated right beside them. After we ordered, another table came in and they were seated right beside us. Jay pointed it out first, but once I noticed it bugged me too. Another couple came in and they were seated in the same vicinity. They actually asked to be moved and were then seated away from the group of us. I honestly don’t understand why hosts clump people together when there’s lots of room in the restaurant. I’d rather not have to hear other conversations if I don’t have to.
For wine I ordered a bottle of the Pioneer Cab Sav from California for $55… but it turned out they were out of it. So, I ordered the Mayu Reserva Carmenere from Chile. Mmmm, it was yummy. Jay even thought it was delish. It got even better as the bottled aired.
We ordered the Korean Spiced Beef Tartar as an appy. In the past I’ve had the bison tartar here and it was amazing, so I figured that for Jay’s first attempt at tartar, this place would probably do it justice. The dish came with 6 pieces of bread slathered with a Korean aioli. Mmmmm… Right off the bat we asked for more bread, because you’d really have to pile the tartar high on the bread to eat it all with just 3 pieces of bread each.
We tried one of the dinner dishes intended for sharing – the Hoisan & Guajilo Braised Brisket. It came with a few pretty good sized chunks of brisket, 2 buttermilk biscuits cut in half and buttered, and homemade kimchi. It also came with 2 sauces – a hoisan sauce and a creamy Korean sauce. For $35 we were impressed with the dish. It was pretty filling for two. The brisket was melt in your mouth tender and seasoned well. The biscuits were warm and yummy, but dense and filling. The kimchi would have been awesome, had it not been super salty – the kind of salty that burns the mouth. I let our server know about the kimchi.
We had time, so we both went for dessert. The feature creme brûlée was vanilla, and that’s what Jay ordered. It was pretty good with a perfect crisp on the top. I ordered the strawberry shortcake. Honestly, the strawberry shortcake was good, but not at all what I expected; it was heavy and dense. In experience, the cake part of a shortcake is typically light and fluffy, but this was more like a dense and heavy cookie. What would normally be a light whipped cream was a rich and heavy cream (perhaps, I should have realized that a mascarpone mousse wouldn’t be light). I think I would have liked it better if I wasn’t expecting something different.
Home Tasting Room is still one of my favourite places on Stephen Ave – I enjoy the feeling of the restaurant, the open kitchen, the good service, and the good food.