A vacated sports bar on a second floor overlooking Vancouver's storied Robson Street is a big space to fill, so it's only fitting that's what gone in at 808 Bute Street is an ambitious project.
Blossom Dim Sum & Grill is a new independent restaurant and bar venture from some industry vets who are looking to wow Vancouverites and tourists alike with their pan-Asian meets modern Vancouver concept.
The sprawling 6,000-square-foot space has seats for 180, not counting the sweet corner patio that seats 40 people. In past lives it's been a massive Moxie's, an Allstar Wings & Ribs, and the short-lived Second Floor Eatery & Bar.
Now in its latest iteration, the restaurant has been renovated and refreshed, and is divided into somewhat thematic zones, with a more sleek and cozy bar (sushi and drinks) section up front, casual bar-area seating and the aforementioned patio a little deeper in, followed by the main light-filled dining room and private and semi-private dining rooms for groups in the other half.
The decor brings in multiple motifs of East-meets-West, including colourful hanging paper parasols, bold murals, and for the sports fans, a huge TV that can be seen from the street below. Bright colours abound, and the murals are definitely both Instagram-worthy and conversation starters.
In the kitchen are a variety of culinary pros, each tasked with creating and executing specific portions of the menu, but also working together in harmony as part of the overall guest experience.
The role of Executive Chef is filled by Derek Bothwell, whose farm-to-table sensibilities and west coast cuisine were showcased in recent years at the former Chill Winston in Gastown. Bothwell, whom I first met a few years back in his prior post, has assured me that Blossom will be working closely with local growers to ensure fresh, seasonal produce is featured prominently in their dishes. His global influence can be seen on dishes like a whole Branzino served with a verdant chimichuri, for example, while the "West" is represented in more traditional short ribs and potatoes or a bison ribeye.
Dim Sum is the domain of Chef Jenson Ouyang, who is melding tradition with contemporary, coming up with some unique twists to suit modern palates - and diets. This dim sum menu features selections that are vegan and/or gluten-free, which means there are more options for big groups to enjoy. Look for luxe ingredients like lobster or wild mushrooms with truffled aioli in these inventive dim sum bites.
Over at the sushi bar is Sushi Chef Rex Yeung, who has created a slew of crudo dishes, elevated rolls, and even vegan oshi-style pressed sushi, making clever use of portobello mushroom and red pepper in place of fish.
Along with the abundant offerings on the gloablly-minded menu are cocktails and wine. The dishes are priced to share, which makes Blossom ideal for group outings or even solo ventures when you just want a little taste of something and a post-work drink. They're soft launching right now with dinner service and will expand to include lunch as well following their official opening on June 28.
Speaking of expanding, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill's owner/operator Eric Yang, formerly the GM at Mott 32, says he hopes this bold East-meets-West concept takes on, so that he can soon add more locations in the Vancouver area, or even beyond.
Here are more photos from the new restaurant:
Blossom Dim Sum & Grill is located at 808 Bute Street in Vancouver, and will be open as of June 28, 2019 Monday to Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.