The Watermark conundrum continues

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Tim Pawsey of the Vancouver Courier weighs in on whether Vancouver Parks Board concessions should be permitted to go P3 (public-private partnership) in this week’s issue. While attending the Fetzer Great Beginnings Appetizer Challenge, Tim was impressed with Watermark’s representation but continues to be disappointed with the restaurant.

Watermarkfrontage_1 Also in the room, Watermark’s Jerome Pascua, who served up a very respectable wild mushroom stuffed quail and quail sausage with zinfandel balsamic figs reduction. Just one question: how come this kind of quality doesn’t show up at the Kits Beach Restaurant itself? We recently revisited Watermark (partly on the strength of this) and again left underwhelmed-and $90 poorer. Disappointing was the strangely rubbery, hard-to-cut shrimp and crab cakes, overcooked mussels, a seafood stir-fry with impossible-to-negotiate baby bok choy masquerading as "wilted greens," and a claypot of "boneless" chicken that seemed more (unskinned) knuckles than nuggets. At least the service was upbeat and efficient.

The Watermark conundrum continues. No one’s questioning the building’s beauty and functionality. And chef Linda Larouche has run commendable shows at Seasons and The Teahouse. So what’s up? Is it a case of dollars before taste? Keeping food costs to a minimum? Playing catch-up from too many delays? Who knows? Maybe they’ll fix it in time for summer.

It does bring into question, however, the process by which such parks board-blessed endeavours are awarded-or if they should be at all. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before other concessions are up for grabs. Then again maybe these things should be decided by a black box contest-before anyone gets near a drafting table.

Looks like Watermark is going to have a tough spring.

Last modified: March 17, 2006

One Response to " The Watermark conundrum continues "

  1. Kimmy says:

    On Saturday night I had to figure out where best to take my parents and 6 of their friends from Calgary out to dinner. I wanted a very “Vancouvery” view/setting and west coast cuisine. Because of time constraints, I also wanted to keep us on this side of downtown. I made a reservation at the Watermark and crossed my fingers. Everything turned out really well. Everyone was impressed with the food and the service was friendly and at just the right pace for the type of evening we wanted. Our server was there when we needed him and made himself scarce when we were just enjoying the food/wine/conversation. I should mention this is not a group of easily impressed prairie yokels so I was a bit nervous at the thought of disappointing that many people with my choice of restaurant. But this story has a happy ending so maybe the Watermark is finally pulling up its socks…