The notion of a steak house might conjure up some serious throwback vibes. Dark paneling, stately decor, businessmen taking lengthy liquid lunches on expense accounts. While there is something decidedly retro about a steak house, The Victor at Parq Vancouver has managed to create one that is retro chic and elegantly modern at the same time. And it has sushi.
The Victor is an expansive restaurant space adjacent to the Parq's terrace (bring on the summer, please, so we can enjoy it!), but they've swapped out some of the dark panelled walls for shimmering False Creek water vista and terrace views in the main dining room. In fact, the whole Parq property is a paean to light; wander the hotel halls and it's striking to be flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows. Like Las Vegas' modern casinos, guests get their hideaway feels just by being there--not by pretending time doesn't exist (harder to do in the era of the smartphone, anyhow).
The room is styled with suggestions of steak houses of yesteryear--stacks of books here and there, table lamps, plush fabrics--but it is decidedly contemporary in its tones (greens, blond wood, light grey, rose gold). You know you're on the west coast because half the diners are in jeans, though, to be fair, those arriving for 8:30 pm tables need extra clearance for big hairstyles, flashy handbags, and high heels.
Maybe management took note of previous reviews suggesting it was too dark and too loud. Who knows, but it was too early to be too dark, and it was never too loud; I caught strains of the "Mad Men" theme at one point hovering unobtrusively from the sound system. It seemed appropriate.
The Victor--named for the saying "To the victor belongs the spoils," which is apt for a gambling venue--boasts a South American chef with Vancouver sensibilities. There are hints of the globe, played out with regional ingredients, all over the menu, from the addicting complimentary Japanese milk bread to a merguez sausage-studded octopus starter with salsa verde.
Oh, and there's sushi. And, it's actually quite lovely. They offer a slender selection of maki rolls, hand rolls, and pressed and torched aburi sushi, along with sashimi, nigiri, and other sushi bar dishes, like uni toast and a crispy rice cake.
Steaks take centre stage here, and in the steak house way range from more modest cuts and sizes to a special massive dry-aged Tomahawk meant for sharing (and a very, very special occasion). Served a la carte, Victor's diners are spoiled for choice in the sides department, with everything from a simple spicy broccolini to their Instagram-friendly Mac and Cheese Waffles (worth every damn calorie).
The desserts are also on the showier side, which isn't a steak house norm. Order the creme brulee doughnuts and what appears at your table is what looks like a beehive hairdo of cotton candy flecked with edible gold flakes. It's truly a "well, why not?" moment as you dive into the sugary nest to unearth the cream-filled doughnuts below.
The Victor has an enomatic wine dispenser, as well as traditionally served wines by the bottle and glass. Their cocktails are on point; our server suggested the Emperor's Sour, a beautiful purply sour garnished with edible flower petals, while they also handily turned an adult bev into a booze-less tipple, too.
While there isn't a white table cloth in sight, what's nice about The Victor is that the service is white table cloth calibre. Our server asked each new table if they were celebrating a special occasion, and throughout the meal, the staff worked the room non-stop, as if in a restaurant ballet, touching every table time after time. Even if you're just playing the role of a high roller for one night, or stopping in for a cocktail and some sushi, The Victor clearly is in a class of its own.
The Victor is located within Parq Vancouver at 39 Smithe Street. They are open Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 10:30 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 pm.