Let’s Go For Dinner: r.tl – CLOSED

Update Aug 3, 2013: This restaurant is now closed.

It has been a while since I’ve been to r.tl.  I was first introduced to this restaurant when they held a foodie night early last year.  I had a good impression of the place but never got the chance to go back until now, as my good cousin came to visit from Hong Kong, Pretty Sis and I took her out for dinner in Yaletown.  Also since the introduction of the Canada Line, it’s much more convenient for me to get down there as I don’t have to worry about parking.

And as the title suggests, this is also a “Let’s Go For Dinner” participating restaurant.  If you don’t already know what this is, basically you can get gift certificates to certain restaurants for 50% off.  With a shameless plug…please use my referral code RAF315892 if you decide to sign up!  We’ll both get some goodies!

As mentioned before, they change up their menu approximately every 3 months (but I haven’t been keeping track for obvious reasons).  For this visit, they are featuring Basque (BQ), Morocco (MC) and B.C. (BC).

Regional Tasting Lounge: House made Moroccan Spiced Bread

Not sure if they serve bread at the beginning of the meal since we ordered a bread from the menu.  This is the House made Moroccan Spiced Bread ($6).  Weird thing was, the name clearly suggests Moroccan but the menu says it’s BC style.  Perhaps it’s a typo.

Anyways this was served with a caraway & cardamom butter.  It was very fragrant and the cardamom aroma suggests a sweet taste to the butter but it was just a mild sweetness.  In fact, I wasn’t sure if I was just imagining it or it was in fact sweet-ish.  Nonetheless it was very good.

The bread itself was also spiced and made perfectly.  It was served warm and the crust was lightly crisp which is perfect for me as I normally do not eat the crust of the bread served at these types of restaurants since I find them too hard.  But again, this was perfect, the insides were soft and fluffy.  However I suggest that you eat this up while it’s warm since it get kind of chewy and tougher as it cools.

Regional Tasting Lounge: Spikes served pintxos style

The menu also offers a 3-course $25 menu.  And the way you choose is that some of the dishes are numbered 1, 2, and 3.  You pick one of each number and that makes up your 3-course menu.  We ended up doing 2 of those and then picking 2 more items.

Above was a 1st course of the $25 menu.  They are basically skewers but is decribed as “Spikes served pintxos style (BQ)” (normally $3.50 each, which is pretty expensive but it’s Yaletown…).  They have 6 choices and we picked the Lamb Sirloin in a lime mint confit.

The meat was very juicy and tender.  The lime mint, however, was not very evident.  I did wish we had more though.

Regional Tasting Lounge: Bacalhau fritters

The other 1st course was the Bacalhau fritters (BQ) (normally $8) which is something we had before at Foodie night, only that time it was considered Portuguese style.  It is a deep-fried salt cod, potato and onion mash served with a pretty spicy piri piri sauce.

It was better this time for me, but I’m not sure why.  However we did comment on how dark it looked, almost as if it’s burnt (but it wasn’t, probably just old oil or dark spices).

Regional Tasting Lounge: Pan Seared Flat Iron Steak

Then begins our 2nd course.  PS chose the Pan Seared Flat Iron Steak (BQ) (normally $13).  It comes medium-rare which is just the way we like it.  Served with chimichurri butter, caramelized shallot, and roasted new potato, each slice was very tender and flavorful.  I didn’t really care for the basalmic vinegar reduction though as it takes away from the flavor of the meat itself, but the pesto-like chimichurri was excellent.

Regional Tasting Lounge: Berkshire Pork Belly

And the other 2nd course was something I’ve wanted to try since I first laid eyes on it- the Berkshire Pork Belly (BC) (normally $13).  It did look a little different from the first time I saw it but it has more-or-less the same condiments of hibiscus cabbage, braeburn apple & cipollini onions.

It is exactly as you expected…an extremely fatty piece of Chinese BBQ pork!  The skin was crispy just like the Chinese-style. The cabbage and apple was sourish which I think works to cut the greasiness of the belly, and it does just that.

We’re glad we shared this or else we would’ve been too “saturated” to eat the other stuff.  It was good though, but don’t eat this before a cholesterol test.

Regional Tasting Lounge: Oak Barrel House Smoked Magret Duck

The Oak Barrel House Smoked Magret Duck (BC) ($13) was one of the extra dishes we ordered.  It came with baby leaf salad, pomegranate vinaigrette and caramelized walnuts.  We didn’t expect it to be so thinly sliced.  The smoky flavor made it taste more like ham to me actually, so if I were to do a do-over, would not order this.  It really wasn’t that special.

The slices were very thin.

Regional Tasting Lounge: Dungeness Crab & Shrimp Cakes

The other dish was the Dungeness Crab & Shrimp Cakes (BC) ($15) topped with
pear
, jicama & frisée salad with citrus vinaigrette.  Our party commented that it actually tasted more like the filling of Vietnamese spring rolls.  I guess that means we didn’t really taste crab or shrimp in it.  But those are mild tasting meats in general so it’s expected.  They were a nice crisp though and that’s about all I have to say about them.

Regional Tasting Lounge: House Made Saffron Gelato

So finally dessert time!  These were part of the 3-course menu obviously.

First up was the House Made Saffron Gelato (MC) (normally $8) which came with a nice, crispy pistachio brittle.

I honestly have no idea what saffron tastes like, so I can’t tell how much saffron is used here.  It didn’t have any distinct taste to it but it was creamy and not too sweet.  Would I recommend it?  Probably, since the other choice left (aside from the s’mores and lava cake) was an Apple Crumble and really, that doesn’t sound very interesting.

Regional Tasting Lounge: House Made Smores

Regional Tasting Lounge: House Made Smores

The House Made Smores (BC) (normally $8) was my choice, and I didn’t think it would be presented that way.  The menu describes it as graham cracker, marshmallows & callebaut chocolate, so I guess it is coated with crushed graham crackers.

I do like homemade marshmallows though.  The square/rectangular shape of it always seems to bring it a sort of sophistication.

The chocolate tasted like dark chocolate.  Overall I enjoyed it since who doesn’t love marshmallows right?  It’s fluffy and soft and sweet.

So all in all I do think it was a good dinner.  The LGFD deal made it even better.

R.Tl on Urbanspoon

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