Table Scraps 

Bistro's bottomless ocean


Growing up on the ocean on Vancouver Island, there was never a shortage of seafood around.

My family would drop crab traps off the back of the sailboat, troll for salmon, and I remember my sister and I peeling prawns by the pounds in front of the television for what felt like hours.

The seafood counter at the grocery store was obsolete in the wake of an ocean for a front yard.

Living in mountain-ridden Whistler is a bit of a different story.

It’s a long cast to Squamish and the cost of seafood is not overly appealing compared to my free salt-water corner store.

However, last September a wonderful alternative arose – one that even has my dad from the island wanting to come visit this undersea treasure.

After a three-month hiatus, the Seafood Barbecue at the Four Season’s Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Lounge is back with everything a seafood fan could ask for.

Buffet is not an accurate term for this seafood extravaganza. Everything is Four Seasons quality, and I mean everything, right down to the unique interchanging salads and dozens of desserts — the bailey-infused crème brulee (flavours changing every week), the white chocolate mousse, the to-die-for banana trifle — okay I am getting carried away. Let’s start at the beginning.

Don’t pass by the bistro’s legendary seafood chowder; the buttery cream-based soup with still-slightly crisp seasonal vegetables has won numerous accolades in foodie magazines.

Follow with chilled crab legs, oysters and prawns with different sauces to compliment.

The salads change weekly, but are always fresh and unique, creatively moving beyond the standard mixed greens — although an option.

Tread carefully with the baked potatoes and other hot side dishes to save room for Pacific salmon, Atlantic lobster and even Alberta beef served hot off the outside grill.

Again, everything is Four Season’s four-star quality and you can revisit the grill as much as your waistline will allow. Don’t forget to save room for dessert. The little goat cheese cheesecakes are worth the one less lobster tail.

The bistro hosts the Seafood Barbecue every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. for only $52.80 per person and they won’t make you peel shrimp in the back.

Don’t let the idea of dining at the Four Season’s intimidate you. Jeans are welcome — I suggest a pair with stretch for the barbecue.

After dinner, take time to digest the experience and take advantage of one of the fire pits or outdoor fireplaces to enjoy a brandy or espresso.

Wicked time

Does anybody else remember the Wicked Wheel? The former Mount Currie restaurant that floated away with the floods? The tucked away, reasonably-priced, grab-a-group-of your-friends-and-go kind of place with brown paper tablecloths?

The sun-dried tomato drizzled with a balsamic reduction thin crust pizza is still a vivid memory for my taste buds.

Three years later, the local hangout is rising from the flood debris and is opening the doors to casual dining at the Old Busterino’s site in Pemberton.

All of your Wicked Wheel favourites will be back, owner and chef Phil Dunbar promises: the stuffed chicken breast, the smoked salmon pizza baked in a stone-surface oven.

Dunbar is shifting from Wicked Wheel’s previous barn-like identity to a more rustic Italian-theme: rich woods and earth-tone colours. A bar with seating will be added as well as a front row view to kitchen theatrics.

"There are some trade offs," Dunbar said of the location change. "That place had a charm of being out in the middle of nowhere. This will be a good location for us."

Dunbar ran the Wicked Wheel for seven years before the 2003 floods closed the restaurant down. The former Araxi, Thai One On and Monks chef then left Pemberton for the Lower Mainland where he taught an aboriginal culinary arts program at the Surrey Aboriginal Centre for two years.

The cozy bistro, set to open within the next month, will start out by serving dinner with ambition to expand to après and lunch in the future.

Aptly named after the expression of someone just coming off blue-bird-sky day of powder, it’s wicked the Wheel is back.


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