Chris told us he was treating us to dinner and to dress smart-casual. This caused no end of hilarity because I couldn’t seem to remember smart-casual. Every hour or so, I would ask him what kind of casual am I suppose to wear? However, he was right, to dine at the Aerie, you will want to wear smart-casual.
Dining at the Aerie is not just eating; it is a dining experience. Getting there is also an experience, but I digress. The Aerie is a member of the Relais and Chateaux Group, which gives you some idea of what to expect. There are several dining options here; we chose the dining room. It offers an intimate dining experience. Our table was in a small alcove, and it felt like we were the only guests here. Our waiter was amazing, and I can’t believe that I didn’t ask him his name. He was never intrusive, but he was so intuitive that it was as if he knew us.
We were presented with the tasting menu. You may choose from The Farm, The Earth, The Ocean, and The Experimental Discovery Menu. Prices range from $75 to $105 per person with a wine pairing at $59 to $79. The choices were unbelievable, but keep in mind who is dining here. I just couldn’t choose a meal of this price and let Chris pay. I think I had that deer in the headlights look on my face because our waiter asked, "Would you like to see the á la carte menu." I heaved a sigh of relief and said, "Yes please." I have to admit that Chris didn’t seem shocked. He has taken family here before and knows that the food is fabulous.
I chose the rack of lamb with fresh goat cheese and sea lettuce ravioli served with whole grain mustard and basil pesto. Al and Chris had beef tenderloin seared with Portobello mushrooms and truffle foie gras.
The lamb was fork tender and from the tiniest lambs I have ever seen. Chris asked the chef is the lamb was from Salt Island and was told no. The rack would have to be priced at $75 if it was. Salt Spring Island Lamb has to be ordered at the beginning of each season and there is no reordering; they totally sell all they raise on pre-orders.
For dessert, Chris asked them to bring us their prettiest dessert and three forks. What we were served was the Apple Brioche French Toast with apple ginger compote and caramel sauce. The chef delivered it. He wanted to make sure we liked it. Oh my, loved is more like - as delicious as it was beautiful.
The Aerie is the perfect place to celebrate a very special evening. We were treated like honored guests. The lighting is dim, the food superb, and the service impeccable. Great choice Chris.