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.
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