Valley eatery a diner’s treat

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

The food at restaurant 62 in Abbotsford is about as tasty as it gets; the service shines too

Mia Thomas

‘Sip, sample, savour” is the motto of restaurant 62, which is establishing itself in the Fraser Valley fine dining scene.

The meals on a recent visit were fully deserving of the reputation this Abbotsford eatery is generating.

I settled on the sweet potato and poached pear soup with blue cheese and crushed walnuts. They had me at the pear, but the blue cheese and walnuts sealed the deal. It was perfect warmth and comfort for a blustery winter night; absolutely delicious and totally smooth, creamy without being too thick or rich.

My companion ordered Pailliote de Chevre, an aged goat’s cheese salad with roasted portabella mushroom, artichoke heart, marinated red peppers, and maple and sherry caramel.

It wasn’t a traditional salad of greens — the cheese was the main attraction in this dish, a thick slice served warm on thin toast. The other flavours combined for another soul-warming taste experience.

For the main dish, my companion ordered Fire-Grilled Chicken Gargenelli in a fresh basil cream sauce with roasted mushrooms and parmesan cheese.

We weren’t familiar with the pasta, but gargenelli turned out to be tubes, similar to penne in shape but smaller, thinner and cut at a different angle.

The “thinner” quality was what made the difference here, since both of us find penne too thick, but gargenelli was quite enjoyable with the sauce. The free-range chicken was tender and very nicely spiced.

I ordered the pan-seared mahi mahi filet, served on a crisp basmati rice cake with a citrus cream sauce. It turned out to be a dish that suited my personal preferences to a tee.

The fish was herbed just enough to flavour without overpowering its own delicate taste and cooked to a nice flakiness. The sauce was wonderfully tangy and the rice cake a creamy surprise inside the crunchy exterior.

The vegetables served alongside — zucchini, asparagus and green beans — were cooked to a slight tenderness but maintained some of their crispiness.

After a meal like that, we had to try the desserts.

Once again lured by one of my favourite fruits, the pineau des charentes cheesecake with an amaretti crust and poached pears was an easy choice. Served on swirls of raspberry coulis, it was deliciously creamy, with the touch of texture found in a good cheesecake.

My companion ordered the molten centre callebaut chocolate cake, served with espresso creme anglaise.

The warm explosion of sweetness that arrived — also presented on raspberry swirls — was essentially that delightful creation lava cake, but made with quality chocolate.

As a dining experience, restaurant 62 is a treat.

The decor is elegantly sophisticated yet comfortably relaxed. Good use is made of the space; it’s intimate without feeling crowded, with only 62 seats, giving the restaurant its name.

Service is friendly, fast and attentive, not overdone.

Eric Ferris opened the restaurant in Abbotsford’s Gateway Building after a number of years in the food industry that had ranged from Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn to the Metropolitan Hotel in Calgary, before he returned to his roots in the Valley.

He’s where he wants to be now, closer to the source of many of his ingredients where farm-gate shopping is a feasible option.

“We really try and purchase as much as we can locally,” Ferris said, adding it’s a work in progress since year-round produce is still limited.

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106 – 2001 McCallum Rd., Abbotsford. Open for lunch Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m., and for dinner Monday to Saturday, from 5 p.m. Call 604-855-3545 or visit for more information.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

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