Joe Fortes Dine Out Vancouver Menu-8

Dine Out Vancouver is back for 17 days of deliciousness around the city. For the past 18 years, Vancouver restaurants have celebrated food and drink by offering diners a choice of prix fixe menus (at $25, $35 or $45), as well as Dine and Stay packages (with special hotel rates).

This city-wide festival is known for promoting locally-sourced, regional ingredients, BC VQA wines and our local culinary talent. Out of the over 300 restaurants, where does one begin?

You can go online and select restaurants by your fave local haunts, by price, cuisine or neighbourhood. The site also includes boxes to tick off for breakfast/brunch, lunch, dinner, vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

We’ve been in the mood for a classic lately, so when Joe Fortes invited us in to taste this year’s three-course menu, we had no trouble setting a date to indulge in a Dine Out experience there. The award-winning Joe Fortes is well planted along the busy Robson Street corridor and has attracted locals and tourists alike for three decades. If you’re in the mood for a hearty steak or fabulous seafood, look no further.

Joe Fortes Vancouver Dine Out menu

The $45 tasting menu offers a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts. The place was hopping on the first weekend night of the festival as we were led to a reserved booth with a view of the action (the expansive restaurant is on two floors with an oyster bar centerpiece and a pianist performing nightly on the landing midway up the grand staircase).

Kusshi, Joe's Gold, Gem oysters on the half shell

Joe’s got a good selection of BC, Premium West coast and East coast oysters on the half shell (served with classic cocktail sauce, horseradish, spicy ponzu and lemon). I’ve recently been introduced to eating oysters wth a simple squeeze of fresh lime, so my wish was granted and a few slices were soon added to our plate. We selected a few Kusshi, Joe’s Gold and Gem oysters for a good variety of salinity, size and texture.

Rather than list a wine by each course as is the norm at many restaurants doing Dine Out, wine pairing suggestions are offered by waitstaff; Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards wines feature on this Dine Out menu as well.

As a solid red wine drinker these days, I am happy with a suggested Willamette Valley Pinot Noir by David Hill and go with that for both oysters and main course.

This wine is a lighter-bodied pinot that works with Joe’s irresistible lobster oil and basket of warm bread. Bring a big appetite: portions here are generous!

New England clam chowder, cream, bacon, thyme

My big bowl of New England clam chowder comes stocked with bits of seafood, small chunks of potato and bits of bacon, which don’t interfere with the chowder’s flavour or texture. In fact, they seamlessly blend in.

Albacore Tuna Crudo, avocado cream, pickled cucumber, citrus, ginger vinaigrette

As I sprinkle in a couple of oyster crackers into my chowder, my husband’s enjoying a plate of Albacore tuna crudo with a fresh seasoning of pickled cucumber and ginger vinaigrette. It’s just enough to work up his appetite of New York steak, served with lovely spinach-enhanced mashed potatoes, yummy golden beets and roasted mushrooms in a homemade steak sauce.

New York Steak, spinach mashed potatoes, golden beets, roasted mushrooms

My Steelhead trout is delicious all on its own, but added to the delight is a creamy bed of lobster bisque risotto with bits of roasted corn cooked in. This is a decadent duo, one that I hope makes a comeback!

Steelhead Trout, lobster bisque risotto, roasted corn, French beans

Many seafood choices display an Ocean Wise logo beside them; we’re happy to support restaurants that proudly adhere to purchasing sustainable seafood.

Chocolate raspberry truffle tart, preserved berry coulis, whipped cream

We order a chocolate raspberry truffle tart with preserved berry coulis and a Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée with a cookies and cream biscotti made in-house. Hands down winner is the brûlée. That crackle leads to a creamy, not-too-sweet custard that when dipped with the biscotti makes me forget about the associated looming calorie build-up.

Tahitian vanilla Creme Brûlée, cookies & cream biscotti

This one’s worth it, we agree. I’d go as far to say that I wish all crème brûlées lived up to this standard. Pairs very nicely with a glass of Jackson Triggs 2018 Reserve Select Riesling too.

You’ve got until February 2 to enjoy this well-rounded feast of a meal.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House is located at 777 Thurlow Street off Robson in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

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