The Four Seasons Hotel’s YEW Restaurant + bar is switching things up. While it has always focused on West Coast fare driven by local ingredients, it’s now specializing in fish and seafood in particular. According to a news release, almost 70 percent of customers were ordering seafood anyway, so the change made sense.
The restaurant launched its new concept yesterday (September 7). Executive chef Ned Bell is at the helm of the kitchen, after brief periods at the Waldorf Hotel and the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. I love how the dinner menu is organized. It lists the starters by category: Raw Fish (like ahi tartare); Shellfish (such as lobster poutine); Fin Fish (i.e. halibut), and Not Fish (um, salad).
Mains are similarly sorted into categories of Steamed Fish, Roasted Fish, Turf + Fish, and Not Fish. Helps narrow down the menu choices to what you feel like, right?
Starters range from $9 to $14 and mains $24 to $38. Mains include crab with squid-ink linguine, pork belly and octopus with clams, and roasted rainbow trout. There’s also a raw bar that features freshly shucked oysters, salmon carpaccio, and ceviche.
The restaurant participates in the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program.
Even if you don’t get down, you might want to check out its new seven-part video series called YEW Tube (very clever). It shows the inner workings of Yew and actually offers some good cooking tips. Bell stars in the first installment, showing how to prepare one of the restaurant’s halibut dishes. Executive sous chef Craig Dryhurst’s video on how to filet a salmon is also interesting. (He says it's “fairly simple” but you've got to go in there with confidence.)
Here, Bell makes pan-fried halibut with baby bok choy and crimini mushrooms. The best part is how he bathes the fish in butter around the six-minute mark. Aaaah …
Follow Carolyn Ali on Twitter at twitter.com/carolynali