Bishop's Dungeness crab custard: an unmistakable subtlety of balanced ingredients, and care in execution, Tim Pawsey photo

Not to pour cold water on Dine Out Vancouver’s impressive record, but we’ve always wondered why so many people wait for January to roll around, when there are other worthy dining deals on offer at all times of the year.

Case in point: Bishop’s Harvest Table dinners (September 13th through October 20th), where you can experience one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed kitchens—not to mention rightly celebrated service—for $48 (pre tax and tip.)

We’ve already waxed poetic about John Bishop and his unswerving support of local producers; and about the role he continues to play in British Columbia’s robust regional-sustainable movement.

However, if you’ve ever wondered why it is that people continue to flock to this refreshingly understated west side room, these harvest themed dinners, designed by Bishop and  chef Andrea Carlson, offer a good opportunity to find out more.

Forget that $48 number. Do yourself a big favour and opt in for the wine pairings (add $25), which feature four well chosen and fairly priced drops from some of the Okanagan’s best. Considering that these days many a restaurant which doesn’t even come close to Bishop’s repute (let alone style) has the gall to charge $12, $15 and upwards a glass, it’s a real deal indeed.

Plus, Sommelier and Maitre d’ Abel Jacinto’s picks are spot on.

There’s an unmistakable subtlety of balanced ingredients and care in execution about these plates, discernible from the outset: an amuse bouche of Dungeness crab custard with pine mushroom and artichoke, matched with Blue Mountain’s nicely dry and gently strawberry toned 2006 Brut Rosé.

True to the idea of making the most of the season, each of Carlson’s plates revels in the wealth of what’s currently available from local farmers (such as Hazelmere) or fishers with whom Bishop’s has enjoyed a long association.

There’ll be three menus in all, each running for two weeks.

Velvet smooth soup in a user-friendly bowl, Tim Pawsey photo

It’s tough to single out highlights from the first, though the velvet-smooth German butter Potato Soup paired with quite viscous, stone fruit and citrus Hillside Estate Old Vines Riesling 09 would be one. (Also worth noting, a bowl carefully chosen so that it doesn’t swallow your cutlery, which so many do).

Bacon wrapped Maple Hill chicken breast medallions topped with cipollini onions with Stoney Paradise Cascade tomato glaze (Summerhill Pinot Noir 08) turned out to be a superlative main course.

Nor can we overlook pastry chef Katie Huitson’s highly original and truly seductive Corn Pot de Crème with just sweet enough corn ice cream—made with Hazelmere sweetcorn, matched perfectly with the apricot notes of one of BC’s all too often under-appreciated late harvest wines, Quails Gate Optima 08.

Oops! Was everything really that noteworthy?

Actually, yes.

Call 604-738-2025 to reserve; or click here for more info.

Hazelmere Farm Corn Pot de Creme, Tim Pawsey photo