Searching for a weekend brunch place to try in the new year? Recently I had a chance to go to Tapenade Bistro in Steveston, Richmond for brunch with my hubby and cousin. Located along the Bayview waterfront, Tapenade Bistro offers a Mediterranean / French seafood menu regularly for lunch and dinner. On weekends, Tapenade Bistro also offers a brunch menu offering that includes Dungeness Crab Benedict, Wild Mushroom Benedict, Parisienne Gnocchi, Crepes, Shrimp Sandwich, and Bouillabaisse.
The Sunday we went at lunch time, it was not super busy. I was able to get seated right away with a earlier reservation despite being half hour late. To start, we ordered a starter size of Salt Spring Island mussels to share off their lunch menu. Tapenade offers 3 styles of mussels – Provencal (smoked tomato, fennel, chili, basil), Piggy (bacon, creamed leeks, pinot gris), and Basque (chorizo, preserved lemon, kalamata olive). We ordered the Provencal style of mussels – however, next time we come we want to try the Piggy. The starter size is a good sharing dish for three people, however it would be a great size for one person dish as well. We found the Provencal Mussels nice and light, with the mussels plump and tender.
We ordered the Dungeness Crab Benedict to share, an egg benedict that sits on a French baguette instead of an English muffin, topped with dungeness crab salad, and with a side of potato hash cake. The benny was flavorful, however we found it could have used a bit more Bearnaise sauce and a bit more crab salad on top. We liked the French baguette versus the usual English muffin.
Next we shared the dinner offered (but available at brunch) Braised Veal Cheek Parpadelle, fresh hand cut papardelle noodles, with lots of pieces of braised veal cheek and cooked in a tomato confit, chili, arugula, grana padano, and topped with some truffles. The veal cheek was very tender and tasty – at times a little salty, however the hand cut noodles were perfectly cooked and made us feel like we were back in Italy. We all thought it was a hearty dish and would be good to share between two people, but heavy for one person.
We ended the main dishes by sharing the Bouillabaisse, which our server suggested as one of our top dishes ordered by diners. The Bouillabaisse was cooked in the same Provencal tomato broth as the Salt Spring Mussels we ordered, and consisted of fresh fish, prawns, Salt Spring mussels, clams and saffron spice. It’s a nice light dish for one person for lunch or dinner, however can also be a sharing dish similar to what we did. In hindsight, we regretted not ordering a different set of mussels so we didn’t have double Provencal tomato broth based dishes. However thanks to the 4 dishes we ordered, the three of us were quite full – too full for dessert this time around.
The setting of Tapenade Bistro is quiet and festive as we went during the Christmas holidays. It’s not on the water, so doesn’t offer the same water view as most of the other Steveston restaurants, however the quality of the food has me wanting to come back for more delicious seafood.
Note: Tapenade Bistro is also an Ocean Wise supporter, promoting a sustainable seafood program to its diners.