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Dovetail Restaurant Brings California Vibes to Yaletown

Good news: Dovetail has cleared its inspections, and the Yaletown restaurant is ready to open doors for their first dinner service TONIGHT. We took a look inside its 1079 Mainland Street location (previously Nightshade; WildTale and Glowbal before that) late last week…

The 3,800 sqft 140-seat ‘California-inspired’ concept marks the first collaboration between seasoned hospitality industry vets Colin Denton (Kokomo) and Ejner Christiansen (The Parlour). However, Denton and Christiansen’s paths have been intersecting since childhood: first as kids living on the North Shore; later, when they found their respective ways to careers at Cactus Club, with Denton working in front-of-house and Christiansen in back-of-house. It was during this latter stage that the pair started dreaming about one day opening a restaurant together.

Things got real this past spring, when they began engaging with commercial realtors in earnest. By October, they had keys to a space. With licensing already in place and no structural changes needed, the process of bringing Dovetail to actuality has moved relatively swiftly. Although stepping away from the safety net of working for a major chain is daunting, Denton and Christiansen feel prepared for the challenge. Both partners boast significant experience in launching restaurants, and their cumulative two decades at Cactus Club (known in the industry for its commitment to providing staff with a solid framework of procedures and systems to ensure consistency) has equipped them with valuable skillsets. This preparedness, coupled with a dedicated team who share their passion for hospitality, positions the first-time restaurateurs well.

Dovetail Executive Chef Ejner Christiansen

Although the room was still incomplete at the time of my visit, Director of Marketing, Jenn Hang, described the forthcoming aesthetic as “elevated boho chic”. From the rendering that I’ve seen (below) that means natural, light-coloured tones, earthy textures, and an airy, relaxed atmosphere – the sort of place where you can feel comfortable wearing flip-flops or fancy loafers, and a Tomahawk steak is as easily procured as a $7 happy hour beer.

So, why Dovetail’s California influence, and what does that even mean? Both Denton and Christiansen have family ties to the state and a deep affection for its unique energy. When I asked Hang how the ‘California inspiration’ will translate to the food and drink, she explained: “Part of what we love about California is the year-round access to great produce that allows for a changing menu, but we have also observed a distinct cultural approach that we aspire to: The State of California sees a lot of national and international tourism, and the restaurant community in California seems emboldened by the large and diverse groups of people coming through their establishments. They don’t seem tied to specific expectations because they see the bigger volume of diverse clients as a blank slate every day. There is more risk-taking and creative freedom in that approach. We’re drawn to that.”

This is a vision I respect, and I am especially looking forward to experiencing Dovetail’s ‘risk-taking’ aspect. However, as I was only on site briefly (piggybacking on a window of time set aside for the restaurant’s photographer), so far what I’ve seen and tasted has amounted to only a few of their less risky, but very tasty, dishes: Mochiko Chicken with smashed cucumber and gochu-mayo; Tuna Tartare with albacore, yuzu kosho, tofu, avocado, edamame, and fried lotus; and Christiansen’s signature “Carbonara” made with radiatore, double smoked bacon, black pepper, Pecorino, and a soft egg that the diner gets to break and mix into the pasta themselves. The Dovetail wine list will offer both BC and Californian pours from a range of affordable-to-“baller”, and what I saw of the cocktail list (pictured below) also fell in line with this ‘familiar but elevated’ approach: “Our Paper Plane” (Buffalo Trace, amaro nonino, Aperol, lemon); and “Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels” (Bacardi 8yr, Ardbeg wee beastie, brown sugar, bitters).

When Dovetail (softly) opens doors at 5pm this evening (Tuesday, November 28th), it will offer a mix of free-standing tables and bar seating inside, plus and additional 40 seats on the patio. From thereon out, they will be open for lunch and dinner services, Sunday-Wednesday from 11:30am to midnight, and Thursday-Saturday from 11:30am to 1am. Take a sneak peek inside via our photo gallery below.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE OPENING TEAM
Partner + Operator, Colin Denton
Partner and Executive Chef, Ejner Christiansen
Director of Marketing and Creative, Jenn Hang
General Manager, Jesse Thompson
Beverage Director, Simon Riley
Assistant General Manager, Mackenzie Day
Designer, Megan Kirkpatrick of Jute Design


  • Mochiko Chicken with smashed cucumber and gochu-mayo;
    Mochiko Chicken with smashed cucumber and gochu-mayo;
  • Dovetail salad
    Dovetail salad
  • Tuna Tartare with albacore, yuzu kosho, tofu, avocado, edamame, and fried lotus
    Tuna Tartare with albacore, yuzu kosho, tofu, avocado, edamame, and fried lotus
  • Baby gem lettuce with balsamic Caesar, Pangrattato, Grana Padano
    Baby gem lettuce with balsamic Caesar, Pangrattato, Grana Padano
  • "Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels"
    "Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels"
  • Dovetail Carbonara in action
    Dovetail Carbonara in action
  • "Carbonara" made with radiatore, double smoked bacon, black pepper, pecorino and a soft egg that the diner gets to break and mix into the pasta.
    "Carbonara" made with radiatore, double smoked bacon, black pepper, pecorino and a soft egg that the diner gets to break and mix into the pasta.
  • Dovetail Executive Chef Ejner Christiansen
    Dovetail Executive Chef Ejner Christiansen
  • "Our Paper Plane" (Buffalo Trace, amaro nonino, Aperol, lemon)
    "Our Paper Plane" (Buffalo Trace, amaro nonino, Aperol, lemon)
  • "Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels" (Bacardi 8yr, Ardbeg wee beastie, brown sugar, bitters)
    "Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels" (Bacardi 8yr, Ardbeg wee beastie, brown sugar, bitters)
  • Pretty drinks
    Pretty drinks
  • Pasta alla vodka
    Pasta alla vodka
  • Mochiko Chicken
    Mochiko Chicken

Dovetail
Neighbourhood: Yaletown
1079 Mainland St.

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