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The Marine Drive eatery makes a case for destination status.
I live on the North Shore and hands down the biggest downside of living there is that if I’m looking for elevated cuisine, I’m generally looking at crossing a bridge (or two) and then dropping the price of a cocktail on parking. All these names: St. Lawrence, Mak N Ming, Savio Volpe (to name a few) are enticing, but I wouldn’t know because, after a long day, they’re just too far.Enter Terroir Kitchen in West Vancouver. It’s the first solo project of chef Faizal Kassam, whose CV has taken him to “over-the-bridge” stalwarts as Cibo and Uva, Hawksworth, Bacchus and Bin 941.The menu is broadly “Mediterranean” and for the most part Kassam keeps it simple and steady. Dishes like grilled octopus ($19)—lightly charred and plated with fennel and artichoke salad, capers and an eggplant nero—show Kassam’s deft touch. The octopus is tender and juicy with none of the telltale rubberiness that shows up at the first hint of overcooking. Charred octopus plated with fennel and artichoke salad and eggplant nero.The steak tartare ($20) is close to successful. It’s served with potato crumble, sunchokes, black truffle and bone marrow custard—a lot of elements for a dish that normally revels in classic simplicity. The first three ingredients give a very welcome crunch to the dish; the custard, however, is one jenga block too many.But when served as a main, the bone marrow ($20), fares better. It’s partnered with an apple and parsley salad to cut through the richness and two slices of nicely grilled focaccia for indulgent slathering. It’s a nice take on a French bistro staple. Bone Marrow served with fennel and apple salad and grilled focaccia.So are the Downtowners and Westsiders suddenly going to start braving the Lion’s Gate? Only time will tell. Terroir’s strength lies in not overreaching—at its heart it’s a neighbourhood spot for those looking for well-executed takes on established dishes, but for the time being it’s a venture that those of us on the North Shore get to keep for ourselves.
2232 Marine Drive, West Vancouverterroirkitchen.com