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Comfort Food

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Story by Joe Leary

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It wasn’t all that long ago that dining out in Vancouver was much less of a gastronomical adventure and more of a study in restraint. Throughout the 1990s consumers were seemingly preoccupied with what they couldn’t eat, rather than looking forward to what they wanted to eat. With an ever health-conscious public buying into the so-called expert view that all things meat were bad, new wave fad diets began springing up and suddenly enveloped the landscape.

These ranged from the more traditional eating plans such as the Zone diet, the Scarsdale, the South Beach, Atkin’s and similar low-carb versions to meal plans of a more esoteric nature such as the Cabbage Diet and the Russian Air Force Diet. And while nouvelle cuisine and cuisine minceur were suddenly de rigueur, something interesting developed in the latter part of the decade: people began gravitating back to comfort food, and soon meat and potatoes started to reappear on menus all across the city of Vancouver.

On some menus, these items never left in the first place. As the largest company-owned steakhouse group in the U.S and a leader in the fine dining segment of the restaurant industry, it was inevitable that Morton’s, The Steakhouse—which opened its doors on Chicago’s storied State Street in 1978—would eventually migrate north to Canada. It appeared on the local scene in Vancouver’s historic Sinclair Centre on October 4, 2000.

Introducing local diners and steak-lovers to a la carte dining, Morton’s has proven to be a real hit. “There are a lot of people in Vancouver who enjoy a great steak and Morton’s offers the finest USDA prime-aged beef,” says Irene Laronde, Sales and Marketing Manager of Morton’s in Vancouver. “There are lots of choices and every steakhouse has their own claim to fame and following but we’ve had great acceptance from the folks in Vancouver. It’s the verbal menu presentation, club-like atmosphere and warm greeting that our guests have come to love.”

In addition to the restaurant’s signature 24-ounce Porterhouse Steak and other sumptuous portions of beef, such as the 14-ounce Double-Cut Filet Mignon, the 20-ounce New York Strip Steak, the Bone-In Double Cut of Prime Rib and the Filet Diane with sautéed mushrooms in a demi-glace mustard sauce, Morton’s also offers customers its complimentary, award winning filet mignon sandwiches in the lounge every weekday afternoon between 5 and 7 p.m.

The ambience at Morton’s, The Steakhouse Vancouver is rich and warm, featuring dark woods and white tablecloths. Serigraphs of the legendary LeRoy Neiman adorn the walls and the restaurant boasts a fully stocked bar and an extensive and award-winning premium wine list. A series of private wine lockers grace the entrance for those who like to keep their own bottles on hand.

Private parties are available in The Boardroom to accommodate groups of between 10 and 100 people, there is full-service catering and special banquet menus, and the restaurant offers valet parking and is wheelchair accessible. Morton’s, The Steakhouse Vancouver is a complete and enriching dining experience. “When guests come, they want to get a great steak and they would prefer to have this type of meal at a restaurant—not at home,” says Laronde. “Sometimes, they treat a ‘steak dinner’ as a reward, and they want to splurge on the finest steak and fine red wine to complement it.”

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Filet Diane Sauce

Clarified butter 1 1/2 oz
Fresh garlic, finely chopped 4 tbsp
Red cooking wine 4 oz
Cognac 4 oz
Demi-glace (prepared) 2 3/4 cups
Grey Poupon mustard 2 tsp
Worchestershire sauce 2 tsp
Tomato paste 2 tsp
Heavy cream 1 1/3 cups

Place clarified butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until the garlic is soft, stirring frequently. Add red wine and cognac to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Reduce the mixture until the liquid is almost gone, approximately 6 minutes. Add demi-glace, mustard, Worchestershire sauce and tomato paste to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the cream. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and reduce for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. It should be ready as the steak is coming off the grill.

Filet Diane

10 ounce filet mignon
Unsalted butter 1 1/2 oz
Mushrooms, sliced, 4 oz
Filet Diane Sauce 3 oz
Fresh parsley, chopped  1 pinch

Grill or broil the steak to desired temperature. When the steak is almost ready, place butter in sauté pan and begin cooking the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for approximately 3 minutes or until cooked but not browned. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the sauce to the pan with the mushrooms. To ensure sauce is not over-reduced, do not prepare the sauce too far in advance. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water to correct it. When the steak is ready, place it in the centre of the plate. Pour the finished Steak Diane sauce over the filet and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley

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