One of Vancouver’s anticipated new restaurants has set the tables, opened the doors and taken the wraps off a menu that offers fresh, easy, obsession-worthy food.
Seventeen89 Restaurant + Lounge is a collaboration between chef Daryle Ryo Nagata and third-generation fisherman Paul Puratich. Unable to honor the restaurant’s rich past the way they originally intended, the duo have decided to call it Seventeen89, which as well as the street address (1789 Comox Street), represents a notable time in history. “Big things happened in 1789,” laughs Nagata. “The French Revolution began, George Washington took office, Mutiny on the Bounty took place. We think 1789 will be big for us too. After all, in Mandarin it means: together, wealthy, prosperity, forever. Cheers to that!”
Nagata and Puratich took distinctly different paths to arrive at their shared venture. Alberta-born, Swiss-trained chef Nagata has cooked around the world, and was well ahead of the curve in developing and supporting Canada’s regional bounty. Puratich is a third-generation fisherman. His family has been fishing for more than 100 years, and from the age of six he spent summers aboard his grandfather’s and then his father’s commercial fishing vessels along the West Coast.
“What we share is a love of delicious, unfussy food made with the very best ingredients we can find,” says Nagata. That shared passion is clearly evident in a thoughtful menu that covers all the bases. With one partner who’s spent most of his life at sea, Seventeen89 offers an abundance of fresh-off-the-boat fish and shellfish. An Oyster Raw Bar offers a selection of fresh oysters, shucked and served with a signature condiment tray; mussels or clams come in the guest’s choice of broth; a West Coast Seafood Chowder is loaded with the local catch; and there’s tender roast sablefish, salmon, halibut and tender crab and lobster dishes. There’s much more than seafood though. Creative vegetarian and gluten-free dishes line up with crisp salads, tasty tapas and perfectly al dente pastas. Those with bigger appetites will love the Spring Creek Ranch steaks, as well as beachside classics like burgers and fish & chips.
Seventeen89 is now open for dinner at 4 p.m. every day except Monday, for lunch on Friday, and for brunch Saturday, Sunday and long weekends. It will soon also add traditional afternoon tea, which promises to bring new élan to West End afternoons.
Last, but far from least, Seventeen89 Restaurant + Lounge gives a nod to the location’s storied past as a popular martini bar with a dazzling and decadent cocktail list. As many other B.C. restaurants are doing, Seventeen89 will not be using any Russian vodkas in protest over that country’s anti-gay laws.