A Reminder that Sometimes the Least Photogenic Dish on the Menu Is One of the Best

You Need To Try This is a running archive of all the awesome drinks and delicious dishes we’ve come across over the course of our professional and private lives.

My relationship with food was in a strange place before the pandemic hit. With Instagram having become the ubiquitous arbiter of all things (possibly, maybe, hopefully) delicious, the value of good cooking was often eclipsed by the appearance of good cooking. Dishes lost imaginary points because they didn’t look as top-down ‘Insta-pretty’ as others, regardless of how perfectly prepared they might be or how good they may have tasted. I like to think I’ve evolved from that bit of silliness, but I just felt its shallow draw again, this time at Kitsilano’s Au Comptoir, where I recently unwrapped and beheld a flawless filet of Steelhead prepped en papillote. From the doneness of the herb-garnished fish to the even seasoning and heat of the accompanying vegetables, everything inside the parchment package was sublime, but my idiotic considerations of its social media worthiness coloured my first impression, as if how it photographed and how many ‘likes’ it might garner mattered more than how it was in my face and in my mouth. That’s a roundabout way of saying the restaurant’s chef, Daniel McGee, makes a damn fine piece of poisson, and that even if it isn’t as photogenic as the other dishes on his beautiful menu to let that stop me from sharing its excellence would be extraordinarily dumb.

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