Review: Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Alex Chen’s new seafood eatery

Boulevard Oyster Bar | BCBusiness
Boulevard’s palatial dining room offers both private and middle-of-the-action seating.

A new seafood-focused joint in the downtown core brings a local focus

The star-studded Sutton Place Hotel—set at Vancouver’s busiest corner on Robson and Burrard—wooed homegrown Alex Chen back to the city as executive chef of its new seafood-focused restaurant, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar. Chen returns to Vancouver after a stint at the Beverly Hills Hotel and competing in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition in France, where he placed among the world’s top 10.

The 290-seat bistro evokes a sophisticated worldliness with its hand-painted tiles from the south of France and Italian calacatta marble bar tops, but its focus is showcasing local businesses: there’s a stunning seafood tower served in resin bowls from iconic B.C. designer Martha Sturdy; black walnut serving boards from Vancouver artist Kate Duncan; and sustainable seafood and ethical meat sourced from local companies such as Pacific Provider and Oyama Sausage (boulevard


BEST TABLE: Meet in the centre of the dining room, oyster bar and cocktail bar at Table 56, or slide into one of three high-backed, horseshoe-shaped leather booths for a confidential conversation.

MUST-TRY ORDER: While the menu is seafood-heavy, there are plenty of tantalizing options for meat-eaters, like the truffled duck sausage pizza ($19) or the braised beef short rib grilled cheese sandwich ($17).

DRINK UP: Bar manager Justin Taylor couldn’t resist putting his own spin on the classic Boulevardier for the restaurant’s signature cocktail ($15), using Canadian port barrel-finished whisky, amaro, black walnut bitters and flamed orange.

INSIDER TIP: Ask for Chen’s Ocean Wise ahi tuna tartare ($18) to be prepared tableside, paired with a glass of one of wine director Lisa Hayley’s primarily organically grown local and international labels, like the 2012 Riesling from B.C.’s first LEED-certified winery, Tantalus Vineyards.