Hot Sheet – October 2014
Hot Spot – Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar – The Sutton Place Hotel 845 Burrard Street
The Sutton Place Hotel has long been a top downtown spot but the restaurant, formerly known as Fleuri has been in need of a makeover for some time. That time arrived this summer with the opening of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
This tastefully appointed restaurant (which also contains a cozy lounge with bar and tall tables) is far from “old school” stuffy and yet not pretentiously “hip”. It’s a perfect setting for breakfast, lunch, dinner or after work drinks. Part of the makeover was finding the right chef; someone who’s innovative and creative, but also knows our city and its West Coast flair. That’s when Alex Chen came into the picture. The former Vancouverite – who spent the first 13 years of his life in Malaysia – returned home after six years at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge.
“As a Chef you set up to do a certain amount of style,” Chef Chen tells us, “but you also have to listen to what’s around you: the clientele and growing up here I’ve always been around seafood.”
Chen brings other influences into his creations which include those childhood years in Malaysia. “As a Chef through your training, through your travel, your childhood; those favourite dishes, if you cook with your heart, those things will always be an influential part of the process.”
What Chef Chen also brings to this scenario is the philosophy of inclusion with a desire not to alienate and that clearly comes across in the menu. We enjoyed the Shrimp Ceviche as well the Beef Carpaccio but were pleasantly surprised that, (a) wings were also available and (b) they were superb. Of course, the oysters met our high expectations as did the mouthwatering Summer Vegetable Risotto, but we didn’t expect to be trying and enjoying the Signature Burger. We’d also recommend the Spaghetti alle Vongole with Sawmill Bay clams, Wild White shrimp; Fresno chile, San Marsano tomato, and the Roasted Sablefish with gai lan flan, beech mushrooms, coconut rice and lemon grass vinaigrette. As for the wine, all selections chosen by the very capable Wine Director Lisa Haley were a perfect companion to everything sampled.
Hot Sound – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga ‘Cheek to Cheek’
The 88 year old living jazz legend Tony Bennett teams up with pop superstar Lady Gaga for a brand new album of jazz standards. Among the 18 tracks are timeless classics such as ‘Anything Goes’, ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ and ‘The Lady is a Tramp.
The collaboration of these two musical dynamos; albeit of rather disparate styles, blend together seamlessly on this tasteful revisit of the standards and is certain to become a gem for the generations.
First appearing on the charts in 1952, it was a decade later when Bennett’s signature tune, ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ was released, becoming the first of a number of multi-platinum albums he would enjoy.
Gaga – who will appear with the jazz legend New Year’s Eve at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas – has said, “I can’t wait kick off 2015 cheek to cheek with the legendary Mr. Tony Bennett. New Year’s celebrations are about cherishing families and friendship and the future – three things this man has taught me much about.”
‘Cheek to Cheek’ debuted at Number One on both the Billboard Top 200 and Jazz charts upon release and is available in stores now.
Hot Flick – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).
Michael Keaton – who spent most of the 1980’s making us laugh until the role of Batman came into his life – stars in what is one of the best movies of the year. This black comedy centres on a washed up actor (Keaton) known primarily for his portrayal of an iconic film superhero named Birdman. These blockbusters were made twenty years ago (sound familiar to Keaton’s Batman?). His only chance for survival and relevancy in the present time is to launch a Broadway comeback. The only things standing in his way other than his own ego: a troubled script which he wrote; draining finances; an estranged daughter (Emma Stone); a deranged method actor (Edward Norton); an unbalanced lawyer (Zach Galifianakis); and his melodramatic co-stars (Naomi Watts & Andrea Riseborough). Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has delivered a dizzyingly fast-paced and emotionally daring film which seems to stop only long enough for the characters to reveal parts of themselves and catch their breath. ‘Birdman’ is an amazing accomplishment and Michael Keaton will certainly be in contention for Best Actor come Academy Awards time.
Hot Retro – Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series
Hailed by critics as a cultural touchstone for a generation, all 45 wildly entertaining and wacky episodes are contained in this eight disc Blu-ray box set from www.shoutfactory.com
Amassing an amazing 22 Emmy Awards during its five seasons that aired between 1986 and 1991, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, created by, and starring Paul Reubens as the childlike fictional character captured a special place in the hearts and minds of viewers young and old.