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Epicurious

Waterfront dining in Whistler

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The number of construction workers milling around Creekside has dwindled considerably over the spring months, and an impressive structure has sprung up in their wake.

After years of community debate and construction, Nita Lake Lodge is finally complete. If you haven’t made a point of checking out Whistler’s new boutique hotel yet, you should — the friendly concierge staff certainly won’t mind. This new little gem in Creekside features rustic yet refined décor; a welcoming lounge area filled with oversized deck chairs and a massive fireplace that you can just imagine curling up in front of with a cocktail and some good company. Perched alongside Nita Lake, the view from the back deck is simultaneously tranquil and stunning, and something of a refreshing change from the typical, albeit breathtaking, view of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

While the spa and a few other small details have yet to be wrapped up, Jordan’s Crossing, Nita Lake Lodge’s fine dining restaurant, just opened its doors a few short weeks ago. Chef Julian Owen-Mold is the man in charge of cultivating and controlling the culinary direction of Jordan’s Crossing. Originally hailing from the U.K., Owen-Mold spent the obligatory year abroad — in Whistler — before beginning his career in the culinary arts, working in the prestigious kitchens of the Four Seasons and Noble Rot in London, before finally returning to B.C. to work as the Chef de Cuisine at Elixir. When the opportunity at Jordan’s Crossing came up, he jumped at the chance to return to our mountain town to take on the responsibilities of an executive chef.

While the dining room is beautiful, I fully recommend taking advantage of the aforementioned scenery, and requesting a seat on the patio (they’ll even bring out blankets when the sun goes down.) There aren’t many other places where you can watch fish consistently outsmart fishermen, bikers whiz by, and the sun slowly set, all while you enjoy your meal.

The first prix fixe menu Owen-Mold has created for Jordan’s Crossing certainly reflects the breadth and depth of his experience, and showcases his preference for local produce. At $48 for a three-course meal, this isn’t a nightly dining mainstay, but it certainly offers good value and is a great place to celebrate a special occasion, or take a guest from out of town.

Personally, I rarely order Caesar salad, because I’ve had one too many bad experiences with overwhelming dressing and stale croutons. But the Jordan’s Classic Caesar isn’t your conventional dish — prepared tableside in a hollowed out log (who can resist a bit of theatrics at the table?), roasted garlic, hen’s egg, anchovies and Dijon are first prepared as the base vinaigrette, with fresh romaine lettuce, lots of lemon, and Parmesan cheese tossed into the mix afterwards. The end result is a light, tangy salad with a twist.

The chef also sent out salt and pepper squid paired with a small cup of watermelon tomato gazpacho on the side. The squid was tender and delicious, and nicely balanced alongside the sweet, refreshing gazpacho.

There were six delicious options for mains on the prix fixe menu, and after some lengthy consideration, I finally selected the Queen Charlotte halibut served on a lentil and lemon salad with petit ratatouille. Excellent choice — the fish was moist, yet flaky, and the accompanying lentils offered good balance. But I must say, I was glancing enviously at my dining partner’s selection of the Sloping Hills double heritage pork chop, garnished with an organic hazelnut and apple relish, and served with bitter greens and calvados jus. Next time.

We simply couldn’t choose one option from the list of delicious desserts, but the chef was kind enough to bring us a tasting platter so this sweet junkie could see what pastry chef Lisa Picard is really made of. With an assortment that included maple walnut tart served with sour cream ice cream and caramel rum sauce, chocolate pistachio semifreddo, earl grey crème brûlée, and lemon curd pudding with fruit salsa and homemade raspberry ripple ice cream, I was in heaven. I still wouldn’t be able to choose just one.

Aside from the amazing meal and delightful view, it’s nice to see that this new establishment is making a real effort to become part of the community. Since opening, they’ve partnered with the Whistler Arts Council as the official accommodation sponsor of the Art Workshops on the Lake program, and the same evening I went for dinner at Jordan’s Crossing, they were hosting the Loonie racers’ après session, offering drinks, wraps, and other goodies from JC’s Café & Deli, their casual eatery and coffee bar.

From at least one local foodie and Creekside girl, welcome to Whistler!

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