Or recommendations matter.
The Twisted Fork. Downtown Vancouver. Granville.
Busy, bustling, with a huge twisted wooden fork over the window, it was my friend, Anita’s choice for a place to eat dessert and it seemed very promising. Inside, it was warm and smelled of lillies and seared beef. Nearly all the tables were full of animated people chatting with each other, with waitresses hustling between tables taking orders, smiling and delivering food.
It seemed like a happening place with pillows on the benches and flickering candles.
Atmosphere makes a difference.
Attention to details makes a difference.
Not just a sleek menu but one of a clipboard and not just a clipboard but one fashioned with a funny looking fork. Cool. And pillows. In case I drink too much and need to snooze.
But was it all flash and no bang? All sizzle and no steak?
When the waitress came to take our order she was charming, outgoing and eager. Like we were old friends. Like she would treat us right. Like it mattered that we had a good time.
Service makes a difference.
We ordered and ate a vanilla crème brulee and a dark chocolate terrine (frozen dark chocolate mousse layered with raspberry sorbet and raspberry coulis.) Both came very well presented, but the terrine stood out, the slices displayed like a beautiful building, one slice the tower, the other the entrance with sorbet like a red dome. It was all surrounded by a few fresh raspberries, spots of raspberry drizzle (coulis) and snow drifts of powdered sugar. But not just powdered sugar cause that’s not how these guys roll, yo. There was an outline of a twisted fork in the powder.
Details again. Details.
The brulee was lovely but the dark chocolate terrine, OMGYHTTT (Oh MY God, You Have To Try This) good. A perfect mix of sweet and tart, of dark chocolate and frozen sorbetie-goodness. It took all my good upbringing to share it, let me tell you. It was to die-for. Or at least kill-for.
I left feeling like this was it, this was the type of place people have to check out. They have managed to put everything together for a great dining or dessert experience.
And an experience is more than just good food. It’s that OMGYHTTT moment. It’s the smells and sounds. It’s being treated like I look like Brad Pitt. It’s the small details like the twisted fork clip and the outline in the powdered sugar. It’s going that extra distance and understanding what will make people want to come back.
Now, it’s not cheap. Two desserts and a coffee cost as much as the meal at the tapas bar. But, if you have the money to spare, you’re not just getting good food but something to talk about.