By Chris Dias on February 16 2015
In the 2004 comedy-drama Sideways, Miles and Maya (Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen, respectfully) share an intimate conversation regarding their common love of good wine (I’ll assume written accurately, as I’m not yet a sommelier, still unable to distinguish between a Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and a box of Baby Duck).
In the scene, Miles boasts about his star bottle, a 1961 Cheval Blanc. Maya asks Miles why he’s yet to pop the cork. He responds, “I don’t know. Special occasion. With the right person.”
To which, Maya counters, “The day you open a ‘61 Cheval Blanc, that’s the special occasion.” To start any article or conversation regarding White Goose Bistro, I inevitably paraphrase that quote; the day you have dinner at White Goose, that’s the special occasion. That film selection is apropos given White Goose’s talent in wine pairing, but it’s really their food everyone praises.
Listing their achievements would be a proper follow-up, but honestly, I can’t recall them all. Is it a long list? Yes…and I have memory worse than King George III (too soon?). What I do remember is that several years ago, I named White Goose Bistro as the best restaurant in Prince George, beating two others short-listed for the same title. Later that same year, those same three restaurants (along with others) competed at the Northern Taste challenge hosted by Food Network celebrity Bob Blumer. To my vindication, when points were awarded, the winners fell in the same order with White Goose again topping the podium (there wasn’t actually a podium, though there should’ve been one). I also remember later that evening when I was having dinner with Bob and Ron “Hellboy” Perlman when…okay, more specifically, I was having dinner in the vicinity of Bob and Ron…when Perlman had to leave to honor an engagement at another restaurant, a casual dining chain popular in town. Mr. Perlman had obviously been enjoying his time at the Goose and asked me (ME!) what said chain was like. I replied, “Similar to an Olive Garden.”
It was as if I just spoiled the ending of “Gone Girl” to him. He clearly didn’t want to leave. White Goose is the first—though not the only—answer to those asking for quality haute cuisine in Prince George, the ultimate climax in my search for the best restaurant in town. I admit it’s not for everyone. It’s for people that bought front row seats for Dralion or Blue Man Group, for people that perhaps got a little too inebriated at our last international wine festival (I have the liver of a five year old, I admit). Up until recently, White Goose was the only restaurant offering a chef’s menu, a greater recommendation I can’t imagine. At $65 a head, you’re at the whim of one of the best chefs this town has ever seen, an individual that sleeps, breathes, and…well…eats food, the type that probably wakes up in the middle of the night after an inspirational dream and cooks until morning. Don’t believe me; his favorite movie is called “Chef”. Admittedly, it could be tied with Star Wars. Said chef’s menu is a complete dining experience, and by the end, you’ll have eaten enough to pass an entire waiter.
There are great chefs in Prince George—fact—but I have yet to find one with the passion for food like Ryan Cyre. I doubt he sweats sweat; more likely, he sweats béchamel sauce… which… admittedly sounds disgusting, but you get my point. In addition, he gathers around him colleagues that match his passion, that strive for that high quality.
White Goose is elegance, transcendence, professionalism, and unpretentiousness, all rolled into one, held together with probably butcher’s twine or Japanese seaweed and topped with shaved black truffles or porcini mushroom reduction. It’s my favorite restaurant, and if it were ever banished to perdition, I would commit to blasphemy and eat better than those in paradise.