We were extended an invite by Danica at dvinewrites to sample some of r.tl / Regional Tasting Lounges' offerings and happily accepted.
Regional Tasting Lounge (r.tl) is the product of sommelier Alain Canuel, mixologist Matt Martin, and Chef Darryl Crumb. The premise behind their restaurant is that the menu is renewed every three months, and that with every change, different regions are featured. Currently they are serving up South American and local British Columbian flavours, and their $28 Dine Out menu reflects that. Their Dine Out menu may be found here and includes a number of options (including three vegetarian starters and a portobello main for vegetarians) from their smoked duck starter to a glazed salmon or bacon wrapped chicken breast.
We arrived fashionably late (some of my friends may change the "fashionably" to "annoyingly" but meh.) and were greated by Alain. Raul of hummingbird604 (who just celebrated his 4th blogoversary yesterday! Congratulations!) and Candice of Albach Photography were already present and sipping cocktails. One notable one was their house sangria. It was beautifully presented in a wine tumbler and had fresh blueberries, raspberries, blood oranges, and other citrus fruit in a serving. They pack a punch too (as I soon found out). Delicious and not cloying at all. As we chatted a bit, various servers offered us samples of their prawn ceviche, served atop a cilantro corn salsa, and hor d'oevre portions of their organic quinoa salad.
r.tl has a great wine list - last summer we visited La Stella winery in Oliver and sampled some of their Vivace, a pinot grigio. I loved it and bought a bottle, so when the server rattled off a number of wines last night, I stopped her after she said "La Stella Pino Grigio". It is a light, crisp tasting white, summery and perfect for sipping. It paired well with the quinoa salad and the prawn ceviche / corn salsa.
By the time the trio of venison sliders made its way out, I was oblivious to food (sangria will do that to you) but M got his mitts one topped with blue cheese and bacon. It was a very bold option. M thought it was on the greasy side, I appreciated the creamy, full bodied blue cheese and the crisp salty bacon. Aside from the blue cheese version, there was one topped with foie gras and tomato, and one with sauteed mushroom and cheddar.
Overall, r.tls hospitality was great, and I love that their menu is refreshed seasonally. It gives diners a chance to expand their palates. The cocktail menu is as imaginative as their food menu; and I appreciate their extensive, ever changing wine list that is offered by the glass, as well as the by the flight.
The best part? We live by the skytrain. With the Canada Line Yaletown station mere steps away from r.tl, it makes it that much closer. Was it coincidence that we took the skytrain to r.tl on earth day? I think not.
I foresee us visiting r.tl this spring and summer...good food, great wine, delicious drinks. Oh, and the masterminds behind r.tl, easy on the eyes as well. ;)
1130 Mainland Street