Venison and Beets
Established in 1981, Araxi is one of Whistler’s longest-lasting
restaurants and still one of its finest. After Executive Chef James Walt
joined in 1997, he fell in love with the incredible produce from nearby
Pemberton and the menu quickly changed from Italian to farm-to-table
— this being long before farm-to-table was even a thing.
Vegetables still drive the menu, including the meat pairings. In the
winter months, venison is a constant. It’s usually red deer from
Vancouver Island, but this year there will be prized Cerf de Boileau
from Quebec as well. The lean game is simply crusted with salt,
pepper and fresh bay leaf, cooked sous-vide and nicely seared.
Invariably, it is served with beets and other earthy flavours (squash
and sunchokes), maybe crispy polenta and perhaps fruit chutney. But
the beets come first.
“Maybe I work backwards, but I just really like vegetables. And with
venison, I like beets the most,” says Walt, who now also oversees
Whistler’s Il Caminetto, Bar Oso and The Cellar by Araxi. “They taste
better with protein and they just tie the whole dish together.”
604-932-4540 | araxi.com
Sablefish with Uni Beurre Blanc and Caviar
At the Bearfoot Bistro, where sabering champagne in the underground
wine cellar has become a rite of passage, luxury has never gone
out of style. The opulence naturally extends to Melissa Craig’s
exquisite dinner menus and even her favourite poisson — rich, velvety
“I love it because it’s a West Coast fish and I grew up on the West
Coast, but it’s also very versatile and forgiving because it’s so fatty,”
says the executive chef. She notes that customers usually fall in love
at first bite and often compare it to sea bass, although this sablefish
(also known as black cod) is even better because it’s sustainable.
This winter’s rendition is simply seared, finished in the oven and
served over a thick and creamy pool of bright and briny urchin beurre
blanc. For the finishing pop of ocean minerality, she crowns the dish
with a dollop of Canadian caviar.
If a dollop isn’t enough alongside that sabered bottle of bubbles,
you could order a full service. “We will always have traditional caviar
service,” Craig says. “Always.”
604-932-3433 | bearfootbistro.com