In my seven years of blogging I recently realized that I have yet to write about one of Kelowna’s most popular restaurants, RauDZ! It can be difficult to grab a spot at this downtown foodie hub unless you arrive right at 5:00 pm or have a reservation for 6 or more people. I’ve been frequenting the restaurant since it was first known as Al Fresco when I first moved to Kelowna in 2006. Shortly thereafter it turned into RauDZ (pronounced Rods) and is arguably one of the restaurants that put “farm to table” on the fine dinning map here in Kelowna. Since then, the term has become an overused ingredient found on the websites of so many restaurants in the valley, true or not and in varying degrees.
RauDZ is upfront showing that 92% of their ingredients are purchased from local suppliers and 99% of wines are from the Okanagan.
But none of this means anything if the food isn’t good. Having been around for their entire duration of RauDZ history I’ve had very few bad meals which is why I am shocked that I have yet to tell you, my readers about it!
I was brought back to RauDZ on a snowy Monday night to celebrate my dad’s 51st birthday.
The dinning room was warm and inviting as usual with a large community table at the center of it all. Just beyond it, the opened kitchen ideal for viewing the chefs and at times the chefs to observe you.
To the peripherals there is their always packed bar and tables tucked away in darker corners of the restaurant. It’s easy for a romantic and rather private evening to be had if, as I said, you arrived at the right time to get your desired table.
This evening, because we made a reservation for 6 – growing baby being the 6th 😉 – we sat at the end of the community table closes to the kitchen. One of my preferred spots.
Being pregnant, it is easy to be envious of all the specialty martinis and cocktails they conjure up. I remember the bar tender makes a wicked lemon drop but I also loved their peach martini made with local juicy peaches.
Once the drinks have been decided it is on to the even more difficult task of deciding what you want to commit to on the dinner menu. Poutine laced with chicken leg confit, an expertly assembled charcuterie, freshly made gnocci, legendary crab cappuccino, or decadent bacon wrapped plums with blue cheese mousse – they are all winning dishes.
Having not been to RauDZ since last year’s Valentines Day dinner we decided to opt for the crowd pleasing charcuterie board and bacon wrapped plums.
I noted that since my last visit they cut down on the serving size of the plums by about half (always a disappointment) in which case I’d recommend ordering two plates for a group of 5 or more.
For dinner, 3 of us 5 ordered the classic angus steak topped with blue cheese and served with a side of tightly stacked potato slices with a rich sour cream dollop and greens. Hubby went for something I’ve always wanted to try but never had the appetite when it came time – the RJB. Described as a steak sandwich it is truly a decadent burger with beef tenderloin, butter poached crab, cured bacon, onion jam, piled on top of a soft brioche bun that absorbs any drippings for an eye-rolling bite of burger. If that’s not enough, duck fat mayo is served alongside. It’s good but I can’t handle more than a bite or two!
For my own choice, it was a taste of comfort food – Chef Brock Sterling’s spring chicken. Crusted chicken breast layered with emmental cheese and country ham served on top of two sliced baguettes soaking in a creamy mushroom sauce. This is the Cordon Bleu dishes of my dreams then elevated to the next level.
If that’s not enough, and it never quite is for me so far during my pregnancy, desserts are equally as sinful as their dinners but conveniently smaller so as not to send you home overwhelmed and rolling (unless you had the RJB then good luck with your food coma).
It being February you won’t find too many fruit forward desserts – something I have been craving – but you will find anything and everything for the chocolate lover, caramel crusher or crème bûlée enthusiast. The dessert menu changes frequently and based on the season, thank goodness!
RauDZ is owned by local foodie chef celeb Rod Butters. You can buy his cookbook The Okanagan Table, try more of his food next door at MicroBites or, coming this Spring, try the latest addition to Kelowna’s food scene, Sunny’s Modern Diner!
1560 Water St, Kelowna, BC V1Y 1J7
Open 7 days a week at 5:00 pm until closed.