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Milestones – Summer Chef Tasting Menu

Big exciting changes have been happening with Milestones and they showcased their new summer chef tasting menu curated by Chef Jason Rosso to a variety of food bloggers including myself.
We all gathered at Milestones Crossroads on Cambie Street for a sampling of what Milestones has to offer this summer. Chef Rosso plans to introduce a new chef tasting menu every season so keep an eye out for that, you adventurous eaters.

The Muddled Raspberry and Blueberry Vodka Cocktail was quite strong in alcohol content and subconsciously helped us mingle a little easier.

Constellation Brands provided an array of their finest wines to pair along with the six course affair.

First course was the Crispy Quinoa Shrimp w/ chimichurri aioli and vegetable slaw. Instead of frying shrimp in regular flour batter, they coated them with raw quinoa for an extra nutty crunch. It didn’t look very appealing to the eye but I thought it was delicious!

I’m no wine connoisseur so forgive me if I get any details wrong. This Pinot Gris from the ‘See Ya Later’ ranch in Okanagan Valley was incredibly light and paired nicely with the delicate seafood dish. With light pink salmon overtures, this wine is consistent on the palate and has a smooth round finish.

They were ever so generous with the Panko Blue Crab Cakes and when Chef Rosso said they were stuffed to the brim with crab, he wasn’t kidding. The whole patty was crab and had barely any filler. It was so light that I didn’t even feel the need for chipotle aioli which I thought overpowered the crab just slightly.

Paired alongside the crab cakes was the Unoaked Chardonnay by Kim Crawford. It tasted vastly different from the first wine but still had a clean, refreshing finish.

Unfortunately, this Spicy Thai Basil Stir Fry was my least favourite of the bunch. Noodles (especially Asian noodles) are my forte so I have high expectations for how they should be prepared. I felt the rice noodles were overcooked and was void of the delightful chewiness that I so love and enjoy in Asian noodle dishes.

The NK’MIP Cellars Riesling was a great pairing for the stir fry as I enjoyed the clean citrus finish.

Our fourth course consisted of Grilled Japanese Tuna Tataki w/ asparagus fennel slaw and mandarin dressing. It was a beautiful piece of fish and the light searing of the sides really sealed in all the flavour. The mandarin dressing however was a bit too acidic.

Originated from Sonoma County, California, Mark West Pinot Noir is one of the most well known Pinor Noirs in the market. Its medium-bodied with notes of raspberry, sweet cherry, and nutmeg spice.

The winning dish for me was the “Surf and Turf” duo of Grilled Flat Iron Steak and Lobster Fricassee. I would gladly come back to Milestones just to order this again and again. I have never had mash potatoes mixed with lobster before and now I fear I can never go back. The crispy onion ring on top could use some work however as mine was quite soggy and bland. But otherwise, this was an outstanding interpretation of a surf and turf.

When eating red meat, you know the wine pairing is going to be a nice full bodied red. In our case, it was the Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend from California.

To end off the night, we were given an interesting dessert of Avocado and Lime Tart w/ brown sugar chantilly. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly highlights the risks Chef Rosso takes in experimenting with different flavours and combinations. Though I appreciate the innovation, I think it can still be further refined with plays on textures because I found the overall dish too soft and supple. There needs to be an unexpected crunch somewhere.

The Inniskillin Okanagan Riesling Icewine was a delectable treat at the end. To produce ice wine, the grapes need to be picked at exactly -8 degrees before it can be pressed. Due to the sugars that do not dissolve and the ice that becomes frozen, the result is a very concentrated sweet wine. It nicely balanced the naturally acidic avocado and lime tart.

Overall, I think Milestones is taking a great leap forward in introducing new innovative culinary items and I applaud them for focusing so intently on the quality of each dish. For such a high volume restaurant franchise, I know it is an incredibly difficult task. Though for me personally, the chef tasting menu had a few hits and misses, the dedication and plain hard work is apparent so I’m excited to see how the public will respond to their revitalized menu in the future.

Happy Eating!

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