Kirk McLean in the house
Back in January we tried out McLean’s Restaurant in Gastown for a lazy Saturday brunch (read the full blog post here). We were so impressed that we decided to invite our aunt and uncle from New Westminister to come and check the place out for lunch with us. We went on a Friday and did have a reservation which gave us a seat by the window but the restaurant was only about half full. On this visit Kirk himself was on-site; first enjoying lunch at the bar and then going over some paperwork at a corner table.
Food & Wine
We were once again impressed with both the menu and the food. The lunch menu served from 11:30 to 3:00 Monday to Friday contains Oysters, Mussels, Appetizers (including 2 soups and 4 salads), Paninis, and a good selection of mains (including pastas, meat and fish). The soup de jour was Butternut Squash. We decided on four different options which was great so that we could get a chance to have a look at what we might want to order on our next visit. The Warm Spinach Salad had a very generously sized tiger prawns (2) and Qualicum beach scallops (2) with pancetta and wild mushrooms. A great serving size for lunch with the seafood cooked perfectly. The Spaghettini Bolognese consisted of very good pasta (not sure if it is made in house) covered in meat sauce that did contain quite a few mushrooms (which Jeff promptly picked out and Tara ate). The Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli was served in a delicious white wine cream sauce topped with sun dried tomatoes. Definitely not a low calorie item but so good. Both pasta dishes were good sized lunch portions. The Gnocchi was a good consistency, not too heavy (again not sure if it is made in house) and had a great sauce. How can you go wrong with a four cheese sauce made of stilton, pecorino, grana padano and applewood smoked cheddar with a bit of truffle oil to top it off. With two visits and six dishes sampled we can say that the food is very good here. There is also an interesting wine list with reasonable markup.
If there is one black cloud in the McLean’s experience it was the service. Likely because the restaurant has not yet seen the busy days that it has hoped for there was only one server on shift and it appeared that she may have been making some of her own cocktails? Our table ordered two pints which were served right away but the two accompanying cocktails took a very long time. We were not in a rush which is a good thing as the server’s visits to the table we few and far between.
After lunch we went to check out the attached deli which operates Monday to Friday from 11 to 5 and Saturdays from noon to 5pm. The décor was not very impressive but it was again the menu and the food that we could see being served that made us consider it for our ‘to do lunch list’.
You can read our other Dining in Vancouver blogs here.