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Category: South Granville Page 1 of 3

Grapes & Soda

I have been meaning to check this bar out, so when looking for an after dinner drinking spot, in the South Granville area, we headed down to “Grapes and Soda”. And to our delight, their head bartender, 2018 best bartender of the year, as voted by “Vancouver Magazine”, was behind the counter mixing tonight.

With its patterned vinyl on the all windowed exterior, you can’t really tell what’s within, if not for the bottle cap logo on the sandwich board, and the flag hanging off the side of the building.

Inside, the little space is a lot more intricate. It has a similar vibe to all the other dark and intimate bars I am familiar with, in the Chinatown area. It leads with a well stocked shelves, 3.5 rows of bottles packed in together tight, and a collection of botanicals and bitters on the counter to speak to their mixing program. The restaurant is spooky and dark, with cozy space saving pockets, and parchment wrapped lights, offering a little illumination. Seating runs down the length of the room, across from the actual bar that continued into their kitchen. Our group of 5 shimmied into the booth by the door.

Interestingly, on the back of the menu was a message, making note of the drawers under each table. Guests were encourage to use these as a place to house their cellphones, a place to put them away securely, and to not be tempted to pull them out for the duration of your stay. However, the fear would be then forgetting them there.

When it came time to order I went for one of their soda cocktails, considering this was their specialty and name sake. Today’s special was a red coloured soda with umeshu, gin, lime, whey, and shiso. They are premixed and pre bottled, served with a glass of ice and bottle opener. It was a easy drink with hints of plum and lime. I didn’t get any of the distinctive shiso flavour though, not that I wanted any.

I liked the look of the wide and short coupe that the “Tempest” cocktail came in. Blackberry, mezcal, coffee, lime, egg white, and a chilli tincture.

The “Lassi legal” drank like a creamy dessert. Kaffir lime, cachaca, kefir, coconut, cucumber, mint, and cilantro.

They can also mix up any of your favourite classic cocktails like this “Spanish gin & tonic”. Basically, anything but a highball, as they don’t carry grocery store sodas like coke or sprite.

We didn’t order any food, but for those looking for a light snack to accompany their drinks they do small plates. Bread and charcuterie boards, vegetable heavy seasonal dishes like cauliflower, peas, and zucchini; and fruit forward desserts like Mille feuille and strawberries and rhubarb with ice cream.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A fun place for some creative cocktails in the South Granville area, and out of downtown Vancouver. I would love to frequent here if not for the need to travel via skytrain and bus to and from, if I plan to drink multiple glasses. Don’t deny your cravings.

GRAPES & SODA
1537 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver BC 6J
604-336-2456
grapesandsoda.ca

Go Blue at Fiore

From July 18-29, 2019 South Granville is giving foodies a reason to trek up and down the strip, with their “Go Blue” festival. This is South Granville’s first ever blueberry-themed event. Over the next 10 days, a number of restaurants will feature BC blueberries in limited edition menus. And the retailers who don’t offer food, will be celebrating blueberries in their own way.

On the first day of the festival we were at “Fiore” where they had plenty of blueberries across their drinks, appetizers, entrées, and desserts. This cute little Italian restaurant, just off 12th avenue, is a bit of a hidden gem. They are brought to you by the same owners of “The Stable House Bistro”, another South Granville staple. Their goal is to make the neighbourhood more lively, and I can attest to that considering I use to work in the area and before the two, there were very little options in terms of where to eat or drink.

“Fiore” is a smaller restaurant, ideal for intimate conversations. Their space is pretty straightforward with wood tables, over a hard wood floor, and faux leather booths towards the back. The most memorable part of their decor was the central light fixture, outfitted with an arrangement of dried plant life. It set the tone of our rustic meal to come.

We got right to the blueberries, starting with their two themed cocktails. The “Blueberry negroni” with blueberry infused lillet, blueberry gin, and Campari. And the sparkling “Blanc de blue” cocktail with blueberry infused lillet and Prosecco. Both were a beautiful bluish-purple from the fruit’s colouring.

For appetizers they had two salads finished with blueberries. We got the “blueberry panzenella, with fresh blueberries, grape tomatoes, arugula, focaccia, and blueberry vinaigrette. It was a salad described as having plenty of croutons by our server, which sounded right up my alley.

Their antipasti platter also came with blueberries, a few in the compote that the single arancini ball (small fried ball of rice coated in breadcrumbs), sat it. The platter varies and today ours came with a lentil salad with pickled onion, a green fennel salad with smoked Gouda, a Spanish salsa, their housemade sausage patty, pepperoni slices, crusty garlic bread, and a dish of olive oil and balsamic. This was a lot for $20, and if you want more, they have a $40 and $60 board available for greater sharing.

Their blueberry entree is a “Blueberry and balsamic pork roulade”, served with summer vegetable and fried polenta. It was a fulsome dish with plenty of depth, well balanced by each thoughtful side. Juicy pork, starchy polenta with nice crunch, fresh green salad, and a sweet blueberry sauce.

For those who don’t want blueberries, their regular menu is also available. Like their “popular arancini ball”, similar to our one above, but with three times as many, and a beet gelee to enjoy it with. And you can’t tell in this photo, but each round is dyed pink on the inside from additional beet juice. Crispy and light, this made for a great tasty start.

The “Pappardelle bolognese” is one of their more popular pasta dishes with tender noodles coated in a slightly sweet tomato sauce, finished with salty Parmesan.

Their risotto is a lighter rendition of the firm, yet saucy, classic Italian rice dish. It is topped with mint, zucchini, and parsnip.

We were too full for dessert, but there is more blue to be had there. For more blueberry focused dishes, and what each restaurant is bringing to the table visit the link below.

GO BLUE ON SOUTH GRANVILLE

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great intimate spot for classic Italian in the neighbourhood. And I am glad that they need other South Granville restaurants are giving diners additional reasons to visit them this summer. What a creative campaign. Don’t deny your cravings.

FIORE
1485 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver Bc
604-558-1485
fiorerestaurants.ca

The Rise, revisit

My original visit to “The Rise” wasn’t very favourable. (I will include the link at the bottom, for those curious and wanting to compare.) Luckily I didn’t let a quick open and a first assessment steer me clear of this modern asian fusion restaurant. Out of convenience I have found myself at their threshold for a handful of meal. I work in the area and find lunch with them is quick and tasty. They have taken feedback, grown, and improved since their grand opening introduction and I can finally say that it is time I do a revisit post, and paint a more accurate picture of what it’s like to dine with them, almost a year later.

In truth, my visit today was in a different capacity. Today I was here as a judge, one of three, ranking this year’s Vancouver Foodster’s Sangria challengers. But I won’t be covering my thoughts of their drink here, instead I invite you to try them all for yourself and help judge in the people’s choice category. And be sure to check back here to read my full recap of the challenge, including my thoughts on each and how I voted.

Whenever I visit “The Rise”, should the weather permit, I like to dine on their patio out back. There really isn’t much of a view, as their wood barricade with artificial greens mask the scene of the alley below. But this cloistered off deck gives you an oasis in the city. A quiet spice to linger at, with heat lamps and warm blankets should the temperature turn.

The following is what I had on this day, plus a recap of a handful of meals I have had over the summer season.

I have been meaning to try their “Wheel of nosh”, for a while now. This was a creative way to serve a sampling of either appetizers and/or desserts. And today I not only would get to try one, but both their savoury and sweet sets. When the name says “wheel”, it literally means wheel as these small bites are served in little glass bowl sitting in a wire rounded Ferris wheel in either rose gold or silver. Each wheel has 8 bites, a set of four for two people. So best to share this one with a friend. There are no changes to this one, they don’t offer the wheel for one with 4 savoury bites and 4 sweet. I asked. The collect varies from day to day, each, a selection of Chef Dan’s d’oeuvres.

Today I lucked out as I was able to try and fall for these savoury macarons. I have never heard of, or would think to do savoury macarons in cumin and carrot or tomato and basil. Both had the perfect crisp bite meets luscious cream centre that is a tell-a-tale mark of a great macaron. Your eyes can’t believe what you are tasting: you get the quality of a fine macaron with the flavours of a fresh salad and/or seasoned pasta.

The carrot and cumin tasted like soup seasoned in Indian spices. I would have liked this served warm to mimic that hot soup feel, it would have also added another layer to the dish; and/or change the texture and/or experience of it. The tomato and basil ate like a salad with dressing or red sauce pasta. I would have liked a garlic bread macaron to go with it.

I really liked the “Truffle honey chicken drumlets”, this one taste would have me going back to order a plate full of these crunchy bar snacks. Often I am complaining that I don’t get truffle when it’s mentioned in the name of a dish, but here there was no missing it. It was fragrant, but also well balanced by the sweetness of the honey.

The “Shrimp with house made XO sauce” was nice. Large and juicy shrimps seasoned for a tangy meets garlicky flavour.

This was a clever way of presented a spicy tuna tartar with guacamole and freeze dried corn kernels. The waffle cone was sweet, it mimicked the sweetness of the corn. Although I wanted more of a vinegar and cream flavour from my tuna tartar, almost like a poke with a rice cup. The aforementioned cream would have also given the bite some moisture.

As a new seasonal main, my guest was very excited to see “Beer belly”. She does not eat pork, so knows not the love between a foodie and her pork belly. So to be able to try a close proximity of that sensation was something that she relished this night. House smoked sterling beef belly, braised cabbage purée, crispy coleslaw, pickled cucumbers, and house ipa mustard. This was a vey well balanced dish. Despite all the fattiness of the cut, the neighbouring veg and mix of textures helped to break the fat and grease down for a less overwhelming bite. Fresh leafy greens, tangy pickled cucumbers, and the clever idea of deep frying shredded coleslaw and using it for some crunch. All framed by the fragrant mustard that made for the perfect binder, bringing it all together.

Given the heaviness of our first course, we decided to take it lighter with the seafood in the “Gone fishing”. Grilled scallops and tiger prawns over a zucchini and carrot rice pasta, dressed in yuzukosho cream. The cream was made from fermented yuzu, giving it a more full bodied flavour and a new experience for me. The prawns and scallops were cooked perfect, the latter easily melted against the pressure of your teeth. And the noodle and vegetable mix made the ideal base. It gave the dish some heartiness, while still keeping things light, allowing the fresh seafood to shine.

As mentioned earlier, for dessert we had a sampling served on another Ferris wheel. If you had to choose between the two “Wheel of nosh” versions, I recommend the savoury appetizer one. By comparison dessert wasn’t as creative. Good, but not anything you couldn’t get from else where. Where was the whimsy that we got from all the other dishes?

The warm green tea cheese with tart freeze dried raspberries was the best out of the four different desserts on the wheel. It was tasty with a nice crunch, a flaky buttery crust, and creamy centre. This two biter was enough that I would consider getting the full sized version of this dessert in the future.

The raspberry macaron was very standard, it was at least very fresh and I could tell the raspberry flavour was coming from the pureeing of the actual fruit. Here I would have liked this to be made into a raspberry pie macaron, or have a scoop of ice cream dolloped on top; something to elevate your normal macaron.

Similar was the marble mini cheesecakes. It was good, there was enough crust to enjoy the cream with, but how were they making this their own?

I liked the vanilla and blackcurrant cream puff. At least the addition of black beret made this the restaurant’s own. It was served chilled, whereas I would have liked to have the puff dough warmed, thus making the vanilla cream a little more runny, like a “lava” puff. The addition of the chocolate at bottom gave the overall bite a nice flavour and crisp.

Overall, these wheels were a nice way to present share platters and small bites. However after the novelty of trying it once, you need not revisit it for whimsy, but instead as a full sized dish, if the taste won you over. Given its purpose, I wanted more variety in the sampling, instead of two of each, give me 8 different bites, although it is economically harder to do so.

Now, here are some of the dishes I have had a few months back.


The “schmaltz stir-fried rice pilaf” with chicken confit, sous vide free run egg,
chicken crackling, and the salad du jour.

“Shroom 2.0”, a vegan full and gluten free side, that was filling enough to eat as a meal. A gluten-free spaghetti served with a mushroom medley, smoked tofu, silken tofu cream, and cashew parmesan.

 

 

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I got my wish, through their ever evolving menu, they have reinvented their dishes and have come into their own. They are the most/only unique offering in the neighbourhood, and shine because of it. You will continue to see me frequenting the space: enjoying the puns in their names and the novelty of their interactive cocktails, and for their delicious ramen renditions. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RISE
3135 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3K1
604-559-8280
theriseeatery.com

For the original visit and review, click the link below.

The Rise Eatry

Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates: South Granville

Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates continues to be a great way for cautious diners and those wanting to try something new to do so in a safe and well planned way. Event goers tour a neighbourhood and visit a handful of restaurants, all within walking distance from one another, and all for the set price of one meal. There is no other tour quite like this one, and that is why it continues to grow and expand in to different neighbourhoods. Today I attending the one hosted on South Granville. Admittedly I have worked in the area for years, and here I was visiting 3 out of 6 places, that I have never been prior to.

As for my guest, this was a great way for her, a apprehensive diner to get out of her comfort zone and try something that she might not otherwise get to, or want to. These are restaurants, with their menu items hand picked and pre-approved by the Vancouver Foodster himself, thus taking the guess work out of the equation for you. You walk into this expecting value and a good meal of new, and you get it.

It was already off to a good start when I learned that the check in point, where you grab your map, that doubles as a menu and passport to the event, was at “Jak’s liquor store”. I am already familiar with this privately owned liquor store, it is one of my favourites with its offering of unique beers, its large collection of local wines, and a handful of gift with purchases. In fact I walked out with the latter after my visit.

Here, they were doing a tasting of five wines from white to rose, then ending in red. Giggle Water Prosecco NV, The Hatch B. Yanco 2017, Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne 2015, Mirabeau Classic Rosé 2017, and Page “Preface” Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. What a great way to start a tasting plate, and quite the possibility the first that features alcohol. I could get use to this, and would like to see more of these in subsequent tasting plates!

The following stops are in the order which we visited them, but truth be told, you are able to bounce around from stop to stop as you see fit. Naturally many follow the natural travelling route and/or transition from savoury to sweet. I suggest heading to the destination furthest from the check in point to avoid lines and have ample to enjoy yourself at each stop, although from 6-10pm, 4 hours is plenty of time.

“Fiore restaurant” is a classic Italian restaurant, an intimate space with an extensive wine list.

Here, we had three squares of beets and ricotta filled ravioli, served in a herb berrue blanc with roasted beets. Apparently this won’t ever make it on to their menu, but this was a great way to showcase their ability in a few bites. It was very rich and flavourful, I didn’t taste the beet in the pasta filling, but it was an integral part to the overall dish. The freshness of the chopped up beets helped to balance out the creamy sauce and all the freshly grated salted cheese on top. You definitely tasted the quality in this.

“Le Creuset” was showcasing their new cafe component. The cookware shoppe opened their counter to the hungry and set up patio chairs outside only recently. They prepare coffees and teas to order with beans from Parallel 49. Served with buttery, flakey pastries from the kitchens of “Thierry” delivered daily. Today we would only get to enjoy a cup of their coffee.

Dining in, you enjoy the sensation in one of their beautifully crafted cups and saucers. This is a great way to sell their merchandise: by sampling it and selling the experience of your lips to their “Le Creuset”. To go, you get your coffee or tea in a branded styrofoam cup.

“Meinhardt Fine Foods” really highlighted the bounty of their cooked food bar. They offered diners a sampling of seafood, with a dessert to end on. It was levels above most hot food bars with more than just fries and salads; which we saw in the thoughtful plate they put forth and served us as soon as we sat. They had a dining area kiddy corner from their cash registers, should you decide to visit them in the future for a quick meal.

The white wine steel head trout was delicious and tender. It was a great protein to enjoy with the fuchsia coloured beet risotto. A risotto that was new to their counter, and that I would definitely come back for. I would have liked the spicy tiger prawns to be more crispy, with more flavouring, or a dip to inject some punch into things. Similarly, the mini panko crusted cod cake would have been better with a creamy sauce. A tartar or sweet and sour, both or a variety of each is available behind the counter normally, should you take the time to inquire.

It was great that our full meal came with a dessert. The “Meringue tart” offered a strong palette cleanser, bold lemon that was a little too sweet, but still made a great dessert with the sweet fluffy meringue and the buttery pastry crust.

We visited “The Rise Eatery” and left only to come back again later. The 30 minute plus wait was avoidable by visiting all of the above first.

Here we were treated to a sampling of a few of their more popular dishes. Three tried and true appetizers, that are as popular today, as they were when they first opened over a year ago.

The “Chicken Seoul Good” was Korean-style fried chicken, covered in a wild mushroom cream sauce with truffle oil and grated parmesan. It was crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I expected a sweet and tangy sauce so was thrown off by the mushroom soup. It was scratch-made, but I couldn’t help but associate it with the canned Campbell’s version.

The “Lo Hay Salad” was a serving of smoked salmon and a julienne mix of cucumber, daikon, carrot, pickled ginger, onion, tomato, taro potato, and pea shoots. All topped with some crispy fried rice vermicelli, toasted sesame, and peanut for crunch. The lot was drizzled in an apricot and beet vinaigrette that gave it its sweet and tangy sour flavour. A refreshing starter or a great side to balance out heavier flavours like the one below.

The “Dynamic Duo” was rice battered brussel sprouts and cauliflower florets dressed in a gochujang buffalo sauce and topped with a blue cheese crumble. This was a much heavier dish, one that you couldn’t eat as a full serving. But made great little treats to chomp down on.

We naturally ended at “Phoscao Cafe” for dessert. This too had us coming then going, only to come back when they were less busy. The cafe was run by a husband and wife team and today they were doing their best to service at least 5 times more traffic than they are use to. The result, some slight confusion between the owner/clerk and her customers. One less than understanding customer shouted across the room that another table got their cups of dessert before she and her husband did and that it wasn’t fair cause they were here first; therefore she would never be coming back. Here, what she and other customers fail to realize is that a few of these spots are self own and run, regular people doing their best to bring extra attention to their dining sport. This is a cafe so this husband and wife team have been working since 5am and were staying open later to host this event. They probably had to stay well after 10pm cleaning up after it, only to return in less than 4 hours to work again. So them serving over 20 at a time, for 4 hours straight (this Granville tasting plate sold out) is overwhelming. So I made sure to commend them on their efforts and apologize to them as mistakes happen and we are all human.

We upgraded for a regular serving of their shaved iced, or more accurately “snowflake” dessert, as the ice is shredded to give it that texture. We split it half mango and half matcha green tea, as to not have to choose between the two bingsoo flavours that they were offering tonight. The base was the same condense milk sweetened snow, with only the toppings setting the two flavours apart.

The mango chunks were fresh, but the syrup masked it with its globs of sugary starch. It didn’t add to the flavour nor did it distract. The green tea was good, but I found I liked the ice as is, without the green tea kit kat or the dollop of whipped cream. The latter definitely felt out of place, where more common is a scoop of ice cream. Although this is a great interpretation of the dessert as it applies to their coffee shoppe business.

It was tasty and something worth ordering, so should you have that particular craving, but it is not something you would expect from a coffee shop, or something you would think available in this neighbourhood. Its offering is definitely playing up the owners background, and them attempting to stay on the pulse of this food trend.

 

In conclusion this was a great tasting plates. I had a satisfying meal, and got the opportunity to visit three new restaurants/cafes, that I might not otherwise get to. Everyone that served at each stop was so hospitable. Their engagement and smiles spoke to how proud they were to represent their respected establishments, which made the whole self guided tour feel like visiting friends.

To try a tasting plate for yourself, check out Vancouver Foodster’s page and look into their next tasting plate area or theme.

http://vancouverfoodster.com/category/stories/vancouverfoodsterevents/

Poke Corner

I was looking for a quick and easy place to eat for lunch. Feeling the need to have a cleaner meal I walked into South Granville’s poke solution. Poke is fish and raw vegetables over rice, a Hawaiian staple and now this year’s IT food trend in Vancouver. Although the concept is pretty much the same from one restaurant to another, I would soon learn that not all poke is made equal.

As a little hole in the wall I wasn’t expecting much, but at least more than 7 small chunks of salmon. My bowl had barely any fish, hidden in a forest of greens and over a bed of rice. I was forced to ration my seven salmon chunks, so that I could afford a sliver per spoonful.

This is the “Vancouver bowl” with salmon, crab salad, green onion, sweet onion, cucumber, and sesame seeds. This is the snack size version, which is still quite a bit of food. But that really doesn’t matter given that there was hardly any flavour, despite all the ingredients and the menu describing it all being coated in their “Hawaiian original sauce”. The undressed crab could have done wonders with a dressing of mayo, and the greens a drizzle of sesame oil. But with only a little seafood represented, I was basically having soy sauced vegetables over rice.

The clerk admitted to mistakenly adding seaweed salad to my order, which I thanked her for. Because of it the bowl had more depth and without it, it would have been all the more unpleasant to finish. And I was also abruptly surprised by the chunks of onions hidden within the mixed greens. They were chopped, but still stuck together in a raw chunk. They would have been better served deep fried to give the bowl some needed crunch.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Not the best poke solution that Vancouver has to offer, and with so many alternatives, you really need to offer more to stand out. If $10 isn’t too much to pay for you, look forward to adding on extra ingredients and toppings at an extra cost; for something not only substantial, but tasty from first spoon to last. Needless to say, I was disappointed enough to not need a return visit. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

POKE CORNER
1509 West Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6J 5K9
778-328-2815
pokecorner.ca
Poke Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Rise Eatry

I was invited to the highly anticipated media launch for “Rise Eatery”, a new and modern restaurant joining the South Granville neighbourhood.

When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The space is simple and clean, the kind of locale you would want to linger in, well after your dinner; and with a bevy of unique drinks you can. Raised criss crossing lines on white walls, grey booths with irregular wood shaped tables and black linear chairs. A few pops of colour found a way to animate the place within whimsical works of canvas art. And they even have a patio at the back to enjoy some sun as you dine. However, overlooking their parking lot and its alley, doesn’t make the best of views.

Given their well dressed bar, it would be a shame not to try any of their cocktails. One led to another, each a twist on a famed classic; much like the rest of our tasting menu to come.

Their soon to be signature drink is the “Geisha-rita”, a visual drink pretty in pink, and as fun as it is tasty. It is a mix of sake and pink lemonade, poured over a canned lychee fruit skewered by a strawberry Pocky stick. It is rimmed with togarashi for a salty and savoury finish. The flavour of the lychee was gentle as an accent, best highlighted by the bold and spicy rim.

The “Old Timer. Newly Fashioned” is their fun play on a classic favourite. It is a drink that changes as it melts. It begins with prep: their blend of sour cherry juice is chilled until frozen at the bottom of a tumbler. To this frosty glass a shaken mix of maple, orange bourbon, thyme, and bitters are poured in. And what you get us a more palatable version of an old fashion, accented by the slow to melt cherry juice, that also helps to keep the glass chilled. This makes a great option for those who rather not the sting of sharp liquor.

And lastly we had the option of trying their “Rain City Ricky”, another playful and fun twist on a classic cocktail. Made with gin, cucumber, mint, lime, and soda. The twist is the inclusion of lemon grass to the line up. The result is a very refreshing drink with the zing of some smooth citrus notes. This was the easiest to sip and down.

Now when it comes to their food, I feel a disclaimer must be declared. I went into this meal all wrong. For the best results follow my tips. First, forget what you know about any one cuisine; and second, forget trying to figure what kind of fusion they are. They identify themselves as being global fusion, pulling from many different types of international influences. You can’t compare it to any one cuisine, and if you did you would be left with a lasting taste of confusion. However, of you sit down with an open mind and enjoy what is before you for what it is assembled on the plate, it gives you a better experience. Each dish we tried below is different, each is unlike any other you have had, and each a recreation all its own.

We began with some canapés. And like all their cocktails, each of their dishes came with a fun name. The “creme de la creme” centred around what they called a “duck liver creme burlee”, with a goji berry chutney over a toasted slice of baguette. The cream was a smooth pâté, delicious and flavourful. I assumed the “creme burlee” in the name derived from the fact that it was torched slightly, but I didn’t get any of that.

The “Tuna mole” was a play on chips and dip. A spicy albacore tuna tartare mix, sitting over a roasted corn guacamole. A heavy dip, unfortunately served with frail lotus chips for dipping with. If they were thicker cuts of lotus root, this would have worked better. Instead you were left wanting a stronger base like the one below to pair with such a punchy appetizer. Plus the chips were additionally soften, with an acrid taste from its burnt edges.

The “Routine”, was anything but routine. It took the idea of layering a carb with gravy and cheese, but other than that, this could not be defined as a poutine. Fried ramen cubes covered in cheese curds, miso gravy, kewpie mayo, and furikake. I liked the imagination but lost out on the execution. The texture of the raw ramen cubes left you with a grainy finish, and the more cooked ones gave you a chalky sand to swallow. I would have preferred the noodles prepared normally, with the same ingredients on top. There were tasty bites from the bonito, tanginess from the mayo, and melted cheese that went with everything. I just wanted some freshness to finish it off with. Some bean sprouts or pickled cucumber to help brighten up the dense dish.

Their “Loy Hay Salad” is similar to the traditional Chinese new year salad. A dish with all its ingredients laid out before you, and diners mix them all together at the table. This is done by lifting noodle and vegetables high above the plate and dropping it back down, repeating the motion. This process is thought to usher luck to those dining. And at “Rise”, they did the celebratory dish justice. Theirs is well balanced with the creamy fish and tangy vegetables playing well off one another. Smoked salmon, julienne cucumber, daikon carrot, pickled ginger, onions, tomatoes, taro, pea shoots, crispy vermicelli, toasted sesame, and peanuts; all in an apricot and beer vinaigrette.

Another one that I liked the idea of, but could have used more finesse in its execution is the French fry stir fry for the “Steak your claim” entree. Served in a cast iron skillet the side of kennebec potatoes fries were over salted with the balsamic Demi glaze that coated them. The cherry tomato halves, shishito peppers, and onions helped to cut into this, but not enough so. The twist was the inclusion of chewy pieces of Chinese donut. Although I didn’t find that they added anything to the dish, flavour or texture wise. The grilled 8oz rib eye steak main was much better. Cooked perfectly with an easy to take chew, and tasty as is. Here, I could have done with the chimichurri sauce, although its bold hue did tie the dish together visually.

I liked the “Shio Koko”: salted rice, malt roasted maple hills chicken thighs skewered and standing tall over a creamy helping of their Japanese potato salad. The chicken was cooked juicy with a great char from an even grill. A sweeter flavour to contrast the more vinegar based salad. The tangy pickles gave the side the freshness it needed and therefore I wished they were chopped up and mixed it with the other colourful vegetables hiding under the mayo.

I found the “Heart attack rice” a hearty bowl, but not necessary the main as they intended. This would have been better as a side as it felt like it was missing a dominant flavour to pull all the minced ingredients together. Schmaltz stir fried rice pilaf, chicken confit, and a soft-boiled egg to crown it all. The pulled chicken was nice, there just wasn’t enough of it. The airy pork skin added some crunch and the soft boiled egg gave the rice some moisture. As a whole, the dish was on the sweeter side, where here I wanted it saltier, more savoury. So the colourful peppers felt out of place. This would have paired nicely with the dish below.

There were no complaints over the “Long n Green”. Crispy pan fried green beans prepared with wok’ed haricot very, butter, soya, and their house XO sauce. The beans had a nice flavour, I just could have used more of it. There was not enough of the lumpy clump of sauce that topped the dish.

The one that surprised me was the “Shroom”. A vegan udon that used silken tofu cream and cashew Parmesan to achieve its luscious white sauce. A great pairing with the earthy mushrooms. I could have used more of the crispy onion for depth and maybe some peas for freshness. But it was the texture of this that won me over. I could have sat here slurping each noodle strand by strand.

For dessert we had their “Mean n’ green”. A matcha molten lava cake served with a side of adzuki bean ice cream from new and local ice creamery: “Innocent ice cream”. They may have rushed the cake. It was a runny batter at its centre, and fairly bitter. The sides that were cooked were wonderful, I just wish I had it as they intended it. By comparison the red bean was tasteless and icy. I found them best together for balance. The mix of melted cream and runny green was like a matcha latte of sorts.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I like their concept and their space, I just wish that I liked their food more. The menu almost feels like they are trying to hard to be different and as a result each dish doesn’t have focus. Great ideas, just not well conceived. And this is coming from a girl who loves novelty and doing something for the sake of being different. But here the flavours were everywhere, and you were either left having too much or feeling like you needed more. Although having said that, I will still recommend them for upscale and dressy cocktails in the area. And I myself will be back, to see how their menu evolves as this new restaurant finds it ground. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RISE
3135 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3K1
604-559-8280
theriseeatery.com
The Rise Eatry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

West Restaurant + Bar

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With sister restaurants like Robson Street’s “CinCin” and Whistler’s “Araxi” I went in to this one excited. Finer dining on South Granville, but first you have to find it.

On a block with various boutiques and high end window displays, it is easy to walk by, and miss their simple frosted glass. They were a door-in-the-wall that could be mistaken for the door to an apartment complex or lobby. Although it is easier to located them in the dark, when their sign and awning glows white their name in light.

Stepping in, you are immediately greeted at the door and offered to have your coat, scarf, and umbrellas checked in. We were a group of 12 and had two attendants doing just that, as today’s weather required all three. In exchange you are given a coat check ticket.

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The hostess directed us towards our table. We passed by the bar on one side, and a row of glowing glass tubes on the other. The rods stood side by side at varying lengths. Round tipped bubbles of light encased in a gel coating. Like the rest of the art in the restaurant, it was unique, but you didn’t quite know what to make of it. The bar was more practical. It included a handsome shelf of wine bottles that ran the expanse of the entire serving counter; with additional bottles in a cooler, to be served at its optimal temperature. The lone bartender required a rolling library ladder to access the bottle over the height of your standard bar.

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They were able to accommodate our group of 12 with a lengthy table by the kitchen. It was craved and decorated etched marble. Our booth seats were backed by glass panels looking into their back of house. I peaked in, like a hungry child looking longingly into the window of a gingerbread house. A look that would have been better taken enroute to the washroom. This angle allowed you to grab a glance at their stainless steel and sparkling white operation in awe. Pass the window counter and the dangling heat lamps, noting all the chefs in full white. Our seats also allowed us to breath in the scent of their cooking. I most enjoyed the one of melted butter over hot heat.

The decor was a walk through of modern art. Reflective squiggles on the ceiling, twisted in curls like a maze. Velvet printed wallpaper in a murky green with specks of orange. And tactile paint splotches on a canvas, like a purposeful-random array of colour, greeting you at the door. All together I felt it took away from the elegance of the place. It made things busier than they needed it to be. Where simple plates are best paired with simple decor. Though in hindsight this was very telling of their cuisine. It spoke to their need to add excess when none was needed, only to muddy the intended subject in doing so.

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Given the bar, it was necessary to sample from it with some cocktails. A margarita with fresh lime juice on the rocks and an old fashion with cherry and carved orange peel.

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The menu mentioned the breads being baked fresh and served shortly after. It was a basket of small rounds in various grains and seeds. They were accompanied by a dish of light oil and some creamy artisanal butter. I was impressed that the complimentary basket of bread came with complimentary refills.

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We were further delighted with an amuse bouche presented in a shot glass. It reminded me of moss in a terrarium. This was a single bite hors d’oeuvre of salmon and roasted cauliflower in a truffle vinaigrette. It was surprising how much flavour was packed into this little morsel, the salmon being the most prominent note. I would have liked more of the promised truffle flavour.

The menu was quite extensive from appetizers being separated by “hot” and “cold”, and entrees between “land” and “sea”. If you couldn’t decide, they had a tasting menu of 7 courses, with its price dependent on your choice of “land”, “sea”, or “vegetarian”. Looking for less variety, a smaller tasting of 3 courses called “pre theatre” was available. And it is intended as its name suggested: the dinner before a movie or a show. Where you had the option of enjoying the dessert course before or after the performance, so long as you are seated before 6pm.

Between our group of 12 we tried 8 different entrees, and were only missing two of the ten options: the tarragon crusted sturgeon and the mushroom vegetarian dish.

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Three people ordered the salmon. This was a “Wild B.C. Salmon” in a black pepper glaze, with a creamy lemon spaetzle, radish, and a dill emulsion. “Spaetzle” is a kind of soft egg noodle, it looks like scrabbled eggs with a similar texture, but here more moist. Having three diners try the fish we deduced that it wasn’t consistent. The experience varies to the point that one of the three felt sick with stomach pains shortly after finish. The other two loved what they had. The fish’s skin was declared a revelation, and it’s sauce was even sopped clean off the plate using a piece of bread.

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Two ordered the “Haida gwaii sablefish” and were impressed with the fish, but were left scratching their heads when it came to the sides. The sablefish was seasoned with a three vinegar glaze, and served with daikon and marinaded mushroom; all in a dashi broth. The broth came separate in a carafe, and was poured right before those who ordered it. This was to ensure the large squares or nori kept crisp. The sheets umbrella-ing the fish gave it a salty tang and a smokey quality. The sablefish itself was delicious and flakey, but the sides that accompanied it were not dynamic enough to compete. They didn’t add to the dish’s texture or to the enjoyment of dining. The plate needed something crunchy, or at least a sturdier and starchier chew. More depth in a rich side or heavier sauce. The plate as a whole was too light and too cohesive in its one note texture.

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Similarly, the butter braised “Northern ling cod” left you wanting more in terms of texture. It was listed as being served with honey mussels and chorizo, in a champagne vinaigrette. So the mound of lentils was a surprise and not necessary. In fact it’s grainy texture took away from the buttery fish.

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Anything with an egg yolk is a win, even if it’s over fried, as was the case with the “Duo of Fraser valley pork”. This was braised pork cheek and crispy pork belly served with Swiss chard, in a bone broth. The egg was fried to a crisp, and the Swiss chard too tough to cut into and too fibrous to chew through, but in contrast the meat was perfect. Both selections were fattier cuts that almost melted, with the meat easily flaking apart.

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The “Smoked yarrow meadows duck breast” came with celeriac and Brussels sprouts, in a blood orange jus. The duck meat was the perfect blend of rich and fatty. Similarly, it’s sauce was a little of everything. Sweet, salt, and tart from the hint of plum.

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The 5oz “AAA Alberta flatiron steak” was just the perfect amount, any more and my guest that enjoyed it, would have been able to finish it. It was a perfectly round medallion served with confit potatoes, port shallots, and bone marrow butter. All the three other cuts of beef came with the same sides as well. The steak was cooked to a perfect pinky medium rare. Naturally juicy with a caramelized sauce that gave the plate some sweetness.

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The “Farmcrest organic chicken breast” was all meat. A thorough chunk of white chicken breast without any fat or sinew. Yet it was still tender, juicy, and surprisingly easy to cut in to. It was served with a flavourful porcini mushroom gnocchi, with wild mushrooms in a balsamic jus. There was even some potato chunks that surprised and delighted in a few bites.

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I often find myself ordering what others do not as it helps for more fulsome blog posts. It requires me ordering last, and maybe something I wouldn’t otherwise consider. Today my method had me trying lamb neck for the first time. I didn’t even know there was meat on the lamb’s neck to be eaten. So was surprised by this large chunk of meat before me, and then further surprised to see that it was without bones. According to one of my guests who has had interactions with a professional lamb breeder, the neck meat is apparently the most tender. After taking a cautious bite, then jumping in with knife and fork, I could see that. The meat was gamey and deep with its herbed crust. The braised neck came wilted kale, sunchokes slices, and purée, in a smoked carrot sauce. The vegetable made a great pair to the tender meat. It added some great chew in the kale leaves and starchy with the thin slices of sunchokes. I mistook the latter for potato, as it tasted like it and was just as good.

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We ordered a few side servings of their “Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon”. It’s container was darling, brought over with its lid on and then removed at the table. I don’t know why, but even after reading the description I imagined the sprouts fried and seasoned with Parmesan cheese. Therefore these fell flat with their rubbery texture and lack of flavour. Where was the bacon?

I appreciated the formality of having all the utensils and drinks placed on and served from a small wooden tray, course by course. Like everything they strived for, it was in the details. The servers were pretty consistent. Empty plates were removed quick. And when our food came, three individuals brought all they could to the group all at once. The only moment marring the experience was when the front door opened and cold air and cigarette smoke filtered in to the restaurant, and our nostrils as we ate.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Everyone agreed and acknowledged the effort put into each dish and the vibrancy in construction of it. Yet we were split in half over flavour and satisfaction. Half of
us loving our plate, half of us able to point out what distracted from it. Though as a group, we all agreed it was priced a little steep for what it was. Given the tag we expected more from quality and conception. This is definitely great meal if you aren’t paying; though if you are, you may walk out with regret and an empty wallet. I wouldn’t be opposed to visiting their bar for a drink after work. Shame, they don’t have a Happy Hour menu to take advantage of. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

WEST
2881 Granville Street, Vancouver BC
604-738-8938
westrestaurant.com
West Restaurant + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Heirloom Vegetarian

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I don’t typically dine at a vegetarian restaurant unless the company suits it. And if and when I do, “Heirloom” is one that I prefer. The beauty of their non meat or animals product plates alone are worth the visit.

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The space is open and well lit like a loft. Warming colours, inviting staff, and a nice theme to linger in. The mellow and calming music really sets this tone. Here everyone speaks in hushed volumes. You get a sense of privacy from it and the distance between one table to the next. The decorative earthy elements help to play off the all vegetable and farm to table cuisine. Deconstructed fruit and vegetable crates became paintings on their all white walls. Various trowels, shovels, and pitch forks were hung on the display like a visual feature. A coat rack stood like a lone tree, barren from winter’s cold. And a water spigot and a full sized sickle were conversation starters at their bar/lounge scene. The dining area was a contrast between a rugged and warn barn and a sterile and clean show room. It was a nice contrast that you felt comfortable in, no matter who you are or what you wore.

We came in at an awkward time: 3:45pm, only 15 minutes more of lunch, 15 minutes more till happy hour, and 45minutes before the dinner menu would be available to order off of. We waited the time to take advantage of happy hour, to drink and nibble before dinner service. During our stay the house lights dimmed twice to match the setting of the early sun. The first adjustment came with a round of tea lights in either white or green votives. The second saw said candles being lit, and the staff adjusting their wardrobe from casual to dressy. Our server took off her beige sweater to reveal a little black dress.

We had the “happy white” wine specials for $6 a glass and one of each of the food specials. $2 off the avocado fries and more than half off the dips platter. I suspect the sizes equated to the prices. Paired down portions for in between meal snacking.

I am that person who would complain if a table got their food before mine. We were sat first, we waited, but order right at 4pm when we could. However the table that sat after us got their salad before we our appetizers. Seeing as I was fairly hungry, I was all the jealous.

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The “avocado fries” were coated crispy, and served with a creamy cilantro almond sauce. I like the green on green contrast of dipping vegetable into vegetable sauce, just shame that there wasn’t enough of it for the proper fry to dip ratio. More cilantro cream would have also helped to give the avocado more depth of flavour, to make for a more interesting bite. Though the cornmeal coating each slice did give each bite a nice grainy texture in comparison with the well ripened and thoroughly soften centre. As one of the nicest and lightest avocado fries I have ever had, I can see why the menu deemed this to be a customer favourite. This was definitely guilt-free eating.

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For the “dips platter” you had a choice between their red lentil dip or one made with eggplant and cashew. We choose the former by recommendation of our server, this was the customer favourite between the two. It came with grilled naan bread and mixed fresh vegetables on the side. This was the nicest veggie platter I have ever had. The vegetables were bold with colour and some of the freshest I have ever bit into. Good raw, just as good with a smear of thick dip. The tomatoes were sweet, the carrots were crunchy, and the cucumber was better as is; they were too watery for the chunky and spicy spread. The spread had in it spices similar to curry in heat and flavour. Overall, on one hand I wasn’t comfortable with paying $8 for an assembly of washed and sliced vegetables, but on the other this was the best I have ever seen and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Proof that quality does make all the difference.

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Of note, confusion ensued with my guest, when she asked if the tongs that were provided earlier were for the dip or the vegetables. If for either, it seemed unnecessary.

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For the regular dinner menu it came divided between vegan and vegetarian for easy differentiation. Vegan options on one side and the vegetarian choices on the other. I love cheese too much to even consider the vegan side. And seeing as my guest has never had burrata cheese, a travesty for any cheese lover, I made sure we changed that today. “Burrata” is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. According to the menu, each serving came with a different side, and you were to ask a server for clarification. Our portion today came with a side of crusty French bread and a salad of fresh cherry tomatoes and basil coated in a dark balsamic drizzle. All together the creamy cheese, crunchy bread, and juicy tomatoes made a wonderful melody with the tangy vinaigrette. The portion allowed for ample cheese to bread. Though I just wished that wasn’t so good and so pricy so I didn’t want more, but could have more for less than $15 a serving.

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The “Blues Burger”, I suspect got its name from the use of gorgonzola cheese; along with their Heirloom patty, beet bacon, red onion ring, arugula, and cider aioli.

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The patty was a dry husk of jagged edges. It was just substance to chew on, with the creamy aioli and the peppery arugula giving this burger its flavour. The “beet bacon” was dried and fried slices of beet, not quite crunchy, not quite chewy. They didn’t offer much taste, instead was included more for texture. The side salad gave a nice freshness to the plate. But it was the yam fries that was the best part of this dish. I guess you leave it to a vegetarian place to get yam fries right.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The setting was lovely, a great space to catch up and linger within. Ample space between tables and comfortable seats by a fire place to cozy up beside. We both equally liked everything we tried, the quality of ingredients was definitely worth the steeper price tag they charged. And now that I have dined off of their happy hour and dinner menus, it is time to come back for brunch and lunch soon. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

HEIRLOOM
1509 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6J 2E2
604-733-2231
heirloomrestaurant.ca
Heirloom Vegetarian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KYO Korean BBQ & Sushi House

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We were finally trying the all you can eat option at “Kyo”. And were delighted to not only have an extensive meat and vegetable list to cook on a grill, but a full menu of sushi and Japanese appetizers to choose from as well.

The restaurant was located on a second floor that required a walk up a steep flight of steps. Even though the entrance is just a door, it is eye catching. Enough to stop those passing by with its wood and glass finish, and it’s striking name in bold brush strokes.

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Inside, the restaurant is spacious, they sought to accommodate larger groups across different tables. Tables of four, six, and even twelve. One had imitation plants and fake foliage surrounding it. Another, was in an area with a vaulted ceiling; and hanging above were several large orbs wrapped in white ribbon that dangled down like jellyfish tentacles. Larger parties definitely took advantage of the space and were allowed to enjoy their time in loud jovial conversation. There was a 1.5 hour maximum stay policy, but they weren’t very strict with it, especially with around 30 tables or so available. We grabbed one of the tables for six that came with two coils to cook off of and to share from.

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You order off a sheet of paper. Fine print under various categories with the quantity of a serving in brackets. If you order the sashimi, it’s one piece; similarly was every serving of sushi. Though the speciality rolls came in slices of 8 and the teriyaki meats came as 4-5 pieces covered in sauce.

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We started aggressively on the meat options, ordering multiple orders of chicken, pork, and beef that came in pieces of five. Everything was seasoned similarly with only a notable difference between spicy and mild. It was good, but it would have been nice to have some dipping sauces to company it with. Especially as we weren’t the best at-your-table-grill chefs and ended up burning a few of our initial attempts. And as a result we saw the need for fork and knife, as pulling at hard food between chopstick and teeth is quite difficult. I then wished they were smaller cuts of meat, though that would only make them burn all the more quicker. We took turns cooking, gripping the tongs, flipping various cuts, and serving one another. Honey and garlic pork, black pepper beef short ribs, and spicy lamb were a few of the meats.

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The raw vegetables ironically came a little after. They took longer to cook up and therefore required more time on the grill. There they stayed until black with grill marks, whereas the meat was a quicker process for fear of overcooking. The corn was 1/3 of a cob, they came out sweet and crispy. The eggplant was soggy, the peppers crunchy, and the zucchini refreshing. They helped give us much needed breaks from all the meat we ordered.

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We also ordered seafood that came piece by piece. Prawn, squid, salmon, and mussels. We wished the prawns were shelled as they were hard to crack right off the grill, the squid was actually cuttlefish and still sandy, and the mussels didn’t cook right shell side up or down. The salmon was the best one on the grill and made the most sense. Though all in all we found the meat above more appetizing and when doing seconds avoided all the seafood section all together.

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There was also many cooked sides to choose from. The teriyaki chicken was a little on the sweeter side, it would have been nicer with some rice. The Korean japche noodles were bland alone, but best as another side to the barbecue meats.

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Under the “deep fried” section had “corn cakes” and “mochi”. The corn croquettes were both sweet and savoury, highlighting the natural sweetness of corn. We all agreed that this was our favourite and that we could eat 100 pieces of these. “Delightful” was the word that was tossed around.
The mochi was most enjoyable for its texture. A nice chew to go with that crispy first break into breading. Though all it all, it just tasted like you were eating empty carbs.

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The “Scallop kaarage” was over fried, you picked up more of the char flavour than the mild seafood one. And when you could taste it, the scallop tasted more like moulded fish, or something that started off frozen. We also looked for that distinctive soft and stringy scallop texture, but we never got it. It was like mash. Some tartar sauce would have been nice.
The “veggie spring roll” were average at best and oily at most, all I got was its crispy texture. It tasted like the filling was all bean sprouts. And as with the other deep fried items, this would have been better with a dip, in this case something sweet and sour, like the traditionally paired plum sauce.

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The “smelt” was fried end to end. The small fish was salty like anchovies, and just not for us.
The “deep fried gyoza” was listed under the “appetizer” section. It looked and tasted more like deep fried wontons with overly fried heavy and heavy edges. More like an oily cracker than a meat filled bundle. You couldn’t taste the filing or any thing past the wrapper.

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The regular gyoza was a lot better. It was nice to have it as expected, with its doughy wrapper covering it meat ball filling.
They had zucchini, carrot, and squash tempura. We stuck with the yam. This did come with a sauce, and in hind sight we cold have used it with the other deep fried foods above.

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They also had maki rolls, sashimi, cones, and nigiri by the piece which they labeled as “sushi”. But everyone knows you don’t fill up on rice and carbs when doing all you can eat. However I couldn’t pass up the ability to try their aburi sushi. “Aburi” is nigiri sushi with its fish topping partly grilled and partly left raw. This is often done so with a torch. “Aburi salmon with miso sauce”, “aburi tuna with miso sauce, “aburi Saba”, “aburi Thai with unagi sauce, and aburi hamachi”. They did not disappoint. For those like me, who like sushi, but don’t like the texture of sashimi, this is a way you get the best of both worlds with a tolerable texture. The sauce was like icing on the creamy fish.
The “chopped scallop” cone was regular and the spicy tuna underwhelming on its tiny single serving plate.

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For the dessert they had mango pudding and jello, both pre-made and both ready to be served in individual bowls. The mango pudding was full of sweet tropical mango flavour. Both it and the jello were great light and refreshing ends to finish on. The jello was cut into easy to handle squares, they had a good ratio of gelatine to water, that kept them firm. It could however have used a scoop of vanilla ice cream for that perfect bite. Similarly the mango pudding could have used a splash of evaporated milk for moisture.

As impressed as I was over the extensive menu, the staff had me less excited. There were enough of them to service the handful of tables that were occupied during our stay, and the work they were to perform didn’t involve conversation or much interaction. Yet we were often kept waiting. My guest wasn’t able to track down enough employees to take full advantage of the all you can drink fountain coke he order. Not that it was worth it, they called it coke but it must have been a no name make or flat, as it didn’t taste all that good, or like cola. Then during the first round, our cooked food order went missing with the need for them to make sure that we indeed didn’t get it. Though we didn’t understand what the big deal is, it is all you can eat, we can just order more. And when trying to get a new sheet to order of off, it was especially hard to gain attention. I could have sworn two separate staff members saw me, we met eyes, yet on both occasions they turned and walked away. I was even waving with both arms in the air. My five other guests can vouch for me that this was the perceived case. We then had a repeat with trying to get and pay off our bill. At one point we saw three staff members just congregating with their backs towards us, facing their hostess booth’s wall, with their visibility blocked off.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I will definitely come back because we didn’t get to try all of it. There was too much variety. I would suggest doing this one across two different settings. One time just for their barbecue aspect, the next for their sushi and Japanese appetizers. Both were good. All you can eat sushi and Korean BBQ for $30. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KYO
2993 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3J6
604-739-8868
kyobbq.com
Kyo Korean BBQ & Sushi House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Stable House

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It’s been a while since my original visit, when they first opened. Since then, the neighbourhood has made them their local bar and they have reintroduced their menu. An easy going setting with fairly formal dishes. Good enough reasons as any to have me revisit and eventually amend my initial assessment.

After over a year, things don’t seem much different decor wise. The exterior is still draped with patio lights leading from awning to tree, it creates an archway of illuminated light. Today their small outdoor patio is left unseated, though I have often walked by to observe couples drinking and enjoying each other’s company, long into the darkness of the night. Though given the lack of view, I prefer the interior with its dim romantic lighting and its back supporting booths.

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Their breakfast nook by the front window was unfortunately taken. It was an elevated platform holding a spacious booth, that provided the diner with natural lighting. Food always looks better in natural lighting, and I enjoying consuming with my eyes before I dine with my tongue. I remembered wanting to claim the best seat in the house during my first visit too. But like before, we were directed to the seats in the back. The cushioned booth that ran against the wall was still surrounded by tile, cork, and wood paneling on its three sides. I even recalled the odd sight of tiles with horses on it and the irregular light fixture crafted from black narrow pipes.

We ordered off the chalkboard wine list posted on the wall. They offered more options on red, white, rose, and bubbles than they did in food. Though the menu does offer more variety now. I remember during my first visit most of the entrees were savoury tarts.

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Though the “Mushroom & Gruyere tart” with onion purée, puff pastry, and a green side salad was still being offered. It was the only clear option for the vegetarian of our group. The tart was built on a hearty, yet flaky pastry. The buttery crust paired well with the earthy mushrooms and the bold cheese. Though I would have preferred the whole assemble on herbed flatbread instead. The Gruyere was definitely the highlight of the dish, so we were disappointed to not have more grated on top.

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The only down side to the “Braised pork belly” with corn risotto, celery, and red onions was that there was not more of it. They definitely earned bonus points for this presentation. An over turn ceramic basket strategically placed, just for show. The pork was prepared extremely tender. It had just the right amount of fat on each piece, to literally melt in your mouth. And its overall saltiness went well with the sweetness of the corn. Though from a textural standpoint I could have used some crunch, maybe a slaw or some pickled vegetable to add a crunch and offer a change in palate.

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The “Seared albacore tuna loin” with fennel, warm barley, red cabbage, and almonds; use  to be a feature, but was so popular that they made it a regular menu item. With so many elements this dish delivered on all that I was expecting visually, textural, and flavour wise. I have never had barely prepared like this. It reminded me of dirty rice, gritty with various textures thanks to the various sized grains and nut slivers. It was definitely filling. The celery and pickled beets gave it some crispness. And the tuna was seared a perfect pink and presented to highlight it on the dish. The pickled fennel offered that tartness I wanted in the pork dish before. Together it all felt very healthy. A dish I consumed with no regrets.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Given that there is nothing else like it in the area it will continue to do well. That Gastown vibe at a slower pace, located on South Granville. The food was good, but for the price we paid, it is not for everyday dining. I recommended here more for drinks and causal conversation. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

STABLE HOUSE
1520 West 13th Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6H 1P1
604-736-1520
thestablehouse.ca

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