UPDATE: This from the restaurant’s Facebook page…
Due to unforeseen and challenging circumstances, the owners of this restaurant’s Facebook page, Daryle Nagata and Paul Puratich, will be shutting down this account and its associated Twitter and Instagram feeds as of 8pm on August 1. The business partners will open their restaurant in the same location, 1789 Comox Street, in the coming weeks, with a new name. Please stay tuned for more information.
Café Delilah owners Daryle Nagata and Paul Puratich
Recently I dropped in on soon-to-open Café Delilah, the new adventure embarked upon by well-traveled, former executive hotel chef Daryle Ryo Nagata and third-generation fisherman Paul Puratich.
The two (who’ve known each other for years) are working on the space themselves. They’ve left the windows uncovered and the door open as they proceed with reno’s to restore the room to its former glory. There’s plenty of interest, with no shortage of locals stopping by to check out their progress.
Things are moving along well. Either finished or in place soon will be an oyster bar, lobster tank, wine cabinet (with an old world bent), refurbished (super roomy) armchairs, new carpeting and hardwood bar, plus much, much more. Behind the scenes is a surprisingly spacious and well appointed kitchen. The menu is done; the servers hired and ready to go.
Talk about a baptism of fire: they hope to open on the August long weekend, when the Pride Festival, Honda Celebration of Light and BC Day collide in one of the busiest times of the year! My hunch is there might well be a lineup!
Delilah: the history
I’m glad that the space has again been taken over by people who respect its significance. There aren’t that many long-running rooms left in Vancouver, least of all in the West End. But the space for which they have been smart enough to retain Delilah’s name is one of the neighbourhood’s most enduring.
(Another close-by haunt of note, the Bayside Room—an under the radar, circular bar at the corner of Davie and Denman, right across from English Bay—has also retained its original, very “Cheers”-era feel.)
The inaugural Delilah’s started out in the ground floor of the Buchan Hotel, west of Denman, before moving to the existing location (which itself started out, in the 70s, as The Three Greenhorns…).
Delilah’s was renowned for its cheeky but elegant ceiling fresco (painted by Wade King—every cherub face is someone he knows!), overstuffed high-backed mohair banquettes, red velvet stools, discretely tucked away booths, wicked martinis, and more. The food was good and the room was unabashedly sexy—but the crowd was even better… The cosseting circular booths have been christened the “Fran Suite” in honour of Delilah’s founder, and the “King Suite” to salute artist Wade King. … Now, if only those booths could talk …
What to expect
Nagata has a pretty impressive resumé, with postings that have included a stint in Washington, DC as well as, more recently, consulting and contract work. However, I still remember being impressed when he stepped in at short notice to prepare a dinner when a youthful sous-chef at the then brand new Waterfront Hotel. Daryle was at the vanguard of the buy local / regional / seasonal movement (establishing the first organic garden in any Canadian hotel) and still follows that mantra. In fact he’s already planted herbs in the small garden street-side in front of the restaurant.
Look for no shortage of premium, fresh seafood, courtesy of Paul Putarich, brunch, afternoon tea, share plates and a whole lot more.
Here’s the Coles Notes version from the release ..
“Together, Nagata and Puratich bring their love of seasonal, simple food to Vancouver’s West End. Café Delilah will serve dinner nightly and weekend brunch, all with a focus on approachable regional cuisine. Look for super fresh seafood, creative vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, tasty tapas and Spring Creek Ranch beef, plus beachside classics like burgers, fish and chips, and an Oyster Bar. Expect some unique offerings at Café Delilah, including traditional afternoon tea as well as classic Taiwanese tea snacks; and find a few clever nods to the room’s long history, including plush baroque chairs and the ceiling fresco of chubby cherubs.”
And, yes, there will be no shortage of suitably decadent cocktails.
More to come …