Where the Bites Are!
First up, 25 dining destinations that have been traveling under the radar, for one reason or another (listed alphabetically); compare and contrast to last year's 10 which follow. Plus: mini-reviews for 60 of the top restaurants in Vancouver.
2005: 25 UNDER THE RADAR
Pearl on the Rock
Chef Ian Reynolds' ambitious, seafood-laden menus have grabbed local attention at this southern belle that tolls for me. It's time Pearl gained wider attention. A dozen oyster selections from the raw bar include local Pearl Bay, Chef's Creek, Royal Miyagi and Kusshi varieties ($2.50 to $3 per piece) to coolly begin an evening of indigenously-wrought flavour. You'll find further evidence of locality in squid and boar spring rolls ($13) with two hot sauces; albacore sashimi bites ($4); garlicky steamed honey mussels ($13); and "scrumpy" sablefish with pulled pork ($24). Panhandle halibut with hoisin crust ($25) features steamed noodles, snap peas, baby bok choy and ponzu sauce. But Reynolds wanders more widely, and for the most part successfully: a frog legs starter ($14) combines a cake of green peas with dried sungold tomato laced with saffron. His signature flourish of whole roasted loup de mer ($57 for two) is understudied with date risotto, lemon balm and burnt onion. Five course tasting menus are $60; paired wine supplement $40.-J.M. > 14955 Marine Dr., White Rock., 604-542-1064.