Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton St (Yaletown)
Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4
I wanted to like Blue Water. I really did. The Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar, from all appearances, was everything i wanted to like. They are in a nice space that isnt too pretentious and has a lot of energy. They serve environmentally sustainable seafood. The service was immaculate. Decent wine program. They even recognize the Japanese approach to seafood, and brought in Itamae Yoshihiro formerly of Yoshi’s on Denman to serve two very different styles of West Coast seafood. I really wanted to love it, and yet, i didnt.
Upon walking into Blue Water, we were immediately greeted by a friendly hostess. We had showed up early so we could have a seat at the bar, and take it all in. Our bartender was busy – prepping drinks for tables, and other bar patrons, but took the time to let us know he’d be right with us. Through the course of our time there, he was friendly, efficient, helpful, and engaging.
Besides the really tasty (and free) bread sticks that are available at the bar, we wanted to sample some oysters. While we were handed an oyster menu with 12 or 14 choices, listed, they typically only bring in 6 to ensure maximum freshness. We sampled these extensively, and while not all were to our tastes, they were all very fresh. We did find a couple that we loved, and ordered several more of those!
Once seated for the meal, there was palpable excitement at the table. A couple of people decided to order the tower of power – the Blue Water Cafe Tower. Three levels of seafood on ice. All fresh. The most notable was the jellyfish, which was a positive eyeopening experience for many people.
I stuck with slightly more traditional offerings. It being fall, shellfish, uni, and tuna are all in season. Local BC Uni – creamy and fantastic, like a touch of the ocean.
Toro Sashimi. Fresh, fatty, goodness. Pretty affordable, at 17.50 for 7 pieces.
Pacific Rim Seafood Soup.Light broth with poached seafood. First real miss of the day. Fresh – yes. Boring? Yes. Uninspired? Definitely.
Two people tried to order White Sturgeon, but they were sold out. So one opted for Big Eye Tuna. Fresh – yes. Boring? Yes. Uninspired? Yes.
Sablefish was a big hit with many diners.
The Pastry chef did a phenomenal job of serving up some inspired creations. I actually liked this better than Diva at the Met.
Blueberry Almond Tart.
I’d be remiss if i didnt mention the wine list – which had a diverse, excellently chosen selection of wine.
Overall, I tried my best to enjoy it – and really, Blue Water Cafe tried their best to create a great experience for me. However, in the end, it didnt work for me. Service was great. Food was fresh. But the best parts really were the offerings from the Raw Bar. My dining companions felt it was one of the best seafood meals they’ve ever had, but rightly or wrongly, it didnt even come close for myself. That inspiring “ooooh” you get when you have fresh, tasty seafood just didnt trigger. Instead, i ended up with a very pricey meal where i enjoyed the oysters and the sashimi. Eating at Blue Water Cafe is an experience, and I encourage everyone to give it a shot at least once. I just know i wouldnt spend my hard earned dining dollars there again. And that’s telling enough.