I was in charge of picking the restaurant for a surprise party for my friend Scary Sherry. I’m not making fun of her behind her back, that’s her nickname. Our mutual friend, JG, actually formally introduced me to her as “Scary Sherry”. To this day, I still don’t know how Sherry got the scary.
Now, where to go to celebrate someone’s 50th birthday? I wanted a venue ideal for a large party. I also wanted the service to match the food. I know if Duncan Ly is in the house (or rather in this case, the hotel), we would be in good hands. So Veronica booked a hotel room for the night and brought Scary Sherry to Raw Bar for drinks.
Seven of us surprised Scary Sherry at the bar. After she bawled like a baby, we sat at the same table that Leonardo DiCaprio graced the previous month. We also drank what he drank – the Derelict $12 (spiced plum and clove jelly, Skyy Vodka, Soho Lychee liqueur, fresh lemon and pineapple juice).
I ordered my usual – the Aztec Julep ($12). Every time I took a sip, the girls took turns impersonating some unknown southern belle, “I do declare, on a hot summer’s day, only a bourbon mint julep will do.” For my second round, I wanted to drink in peace so I ordered a glass of Wayne Gretzky the “Great White” ($10.00). I was mercilessly heckled for drinking a wine made/marketed by the “Great One”. Tough crowd.
Veronica ordered the table oysters on the half shell with Thai chili hot sauce ($18 for six) and spicy salmon and tuna tartar ($14). Some of the hecklers at our table don’t eat raw seafood. All the more for me! The puffed rice cracker went really well with the tuna mixture. I wish more restaurants would serve tuna tartar with this type of vessel.
We really appreciated the VIP service. Yellow Door’s service manager, Sebastian Bravo (aka Awesome ‘Stache) help to arranged for Scary Sherry’s husband to drop off a gift from Tiffany & Co, as the previous plan fell through. As well, Christina Mah, the mixologist at Raw Bar, came over to say hi and wished Sherry a happy bday. Duncan Ly, who I know is crazy busy, came over to personally say hi and arranged for a special dessert for Sherry.
After drinks and oysters, we moved to the second venue, Yellow Door Bistro. We weren’t the only group who decided to celebrate at Yellow Door. A stag and a 30th birthday party was also in process, though neither was as loud nor rowdy as our group.
Our group opted for the daily chef’s choice (three courses $40) plus wine pairings (normally $25 but for the month of May, promotional price of $12.50). The fresh bread and butter on the table was too good to pass up. The foccacia was warm and you could taste and smell the rosemary. The brown bread had sesame seeds and was soft and sweet.
A surprise for everyone at our table was an amuse-bouche of Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait with rhurbarb gelee. All eight of us loved this parfait shooter. The foam was fruity, while the rest of the mixture was rich and creamy.
The Scallop Ceviche with compressed Asian pear, frisée and salsa verde was light and refreshing. The salad had a nice mixture of different greens and a nice, zippy dressing. The pear was juicy and sweet, sliced razor thin. I couldn’t get enough of the scallop ceviche.
The fourth course was the Sous Vide Milk Fed Veal Strip loin with spring vegetable succotash and sun choke velouté. I know what veal is but the succotash and velouté I had to Google. The meat was soft and tender. I really enjoyed the vegetables, particularly the fresh beans. So much, I ate my skinny neighbour’s plate as she was too full. You know the food is good when you eat off another person’s plate. It also means that you eat too much.
Dessert was paired with a decadent coffee liquor. I don’t normally eat dessert but I devoured it. Layered with chocolate, it had just the right amount of sweetness to it. I drank the liquor before my dessert arrived, but I imagine it was a heavenly pairing.
We were a loud and rowdy bunch. I was grateful we were not kicked out. Someone who shall remain nameless broke a wine glass, as that person slammed it down like a finished bottle of beer. Sorry about that Duncan.
For a fun night out with a bunch of friends, Raw Bar and Yellow Door sure know how to create a memorable experience. Thank you Duncan and Yellow Door/Raw Bar staff for truly making Scary Sherry’s birthday a special celebration.