I like to live spontaneously. Yes, I’m the type to wake up in the morning and randomly decide I want to go run the seawall or hike the Grouse Grind. Planning things too far in advance is not really my thing. Most of the meals you see here were probably done out of a whim, with little preparation and foresight. As such, there came a day when I ended up running in Stanley Park before ending up at Italian Kitchen for dinner with a friend. Funny story: I decided that my running attire would not be suitable for the establishment, so I ended up changing in the backseat of my parked car on Alberni. I always find changing in my car strange, as my windows aren’t tinted, and people can thus directly see me baring it all. Is this an act of supposed public indecency? I’m not overly adept with Vancouver’s bylaws, so you may have to inform me. I’d hate to continue breaking the law in my backseat in such a way. In any case, we were able to score a table for 2 with no wait on a weekday night. Hurray.
Distinctive at Italian Kitchen is their long, 60 ft. white marble bar and open kitchen, where one can spy upon the chefs hard at work. As it was a fine dining establishment of sorts, the lighting was low and the background noise was loud. Extremely loud. This made for some shouted conversations and, even worse, some sketchy photography. If you want to bring your sweetie here (again, the subject of one’s sweeting), this would probably be ideal, as you have an excuse to not talk to them in real life and continue Tweeting them instead.
I’ve always heard that running and alcohol don’t mix, but clearly I don’t always choose to heed this warning. As such, we ordered a pitcher of white sangria to start off. It contained a variety of citrus fruits lending a more dynamic taste to the subtler white wine.
To kick things off, we were given an amuse bouche of some kind of risotto sampler. In terms of flavour, there wasn’t too much, although I suppose that was the purpose. It was somewhat creamy, yet light and refreshing all the same.
I think I’m cursed with the whole ordering thing, as my dining companion always ends up ordering the dish that I find myself eying initially. In this case, he snatched up the rigatoni vitello, which included veal cheeks, spinach, red wine jus, and roasted garlic. While the pasta was of the more generic variety, it was still apparently enjoyable, particularly because of the soft, well-cooked veal.
I ended up going for the risotto of the day. As it tends to contain a plethora of different ingredients, the price is listed as market price, While I honestly can’t remember all of the components in the dish, lamb was definitely the source of protein here. The risotto was cooked al dente, providing an adequate resistance to chew amongst all of the sauce involved. This was contrasted with the lamb, which was prepared, like the veal, to be relatively soft. The sauce itself was particularly creamy, although it was a bit on the saltier side. The sour cream and green onions splattered on top did help with this, however.
I should say that out of all the Glowbal Group restaurants, I find Italian Kitchen to be the most favourable. Perhaps it was just the virgin effect, as it had the honour of being the first that I crossed off from the chain, or the memories of the various visits I paid to the restaurant before I started blogging. No, I really cannot attest to its authenticity, as I am clearly not Italian, nor have I ever paid a visit to the boot-shaped country. Regardless, I still find the fare to be flavourful, satisfying and, generally, at a reasonable price. Although the service was a little distant, the meal was still enjoyable, even if the various restaurant-goers did happen to catch a glimpse of my unmentionables in my vehicle.
Conclusion: Andy ate a lot.
1037 Alberni St.