Canadian Wood ~

Another restaurant that Frenchy worked on is “Oakwood Canadian Bistro” in Kitsilano.(click link to read previous post of the restaurant he helped build: “Oakwood” is owned and operated by one of the members of the Donnelley group. He made it his mission to hire the best chef to help design a Canadian inspired menu with dishes that look and taste memorable.

Our first time here was in spring of 2012, right when they just opened their doors for business. We enjoyed a three course meal with drinks on the house, as a thank you for the amazing job
Frenchy did on their signature fireplace. The fireplace is now adorned with antlers, and is so striking in craftmanship that “Oakwood” has used its image on postcards publicizing their opening.
My second visit was during my 2012 Birthday. Since our first time in spring the menu had been updated with numerous changes. I figured they must either still be trying to find their signature dishes or the change was to keep regulars coming in to try something new. So I cannot promise you that anything I have listed below would still be on the menu.

The décor reminds you of a homey Canadian cabin: brick walls with wooden tables and chairs, cast iron lighting fixtures and food served on wood blocks and in mason jars. The restaurant has a very casual warm feeling, especially with the large fire roaring. There is lovely booth/couch seating surrounding it, but I have yet been able to enjoy it from there. A unique centerpiece sat on the large table in the centre of the room: a repurposed stand mixer with potted flowers living happily in the stainless steel mixing bowl.

I will not be speaking to everything I have tried, it has been too long and I will not be able to give an accurate account of them all, or at least the ones that were not memorable. But I have posted the photos and their descriptions below.

“8oz sirloin, potato croquette, onion jam, red wine jus, with a dijion hollandaise.”

“Albacore tuna, fennel salad, and lime crostini”

“Leek bread with house made butter”

“Beet salad”

“Duck parfait”

And here are the memorable of all the menu options I have tried at “Oakwood“, the good and the ugly.

I am not shy about my love of
caesars and “Oakwood’s own unique Caesars’ spice rub blend gives their version of it and extra kick. One of my top 5 favorites for sure. This would have made it to number 1 or 2 if they had a unique garnish or any. When ordering a Caesar you expect an olive, pickled bean or celery as a minimum. Where it gets fancy is when they have all three. A caesar isn’t a caesar without some kind of pickled vegetable or meat.

“Poutine with Canadian bacon”. If you are from Quebec or a poutine purist this one is not for you. They only thing traditional about this poutine is that it’s called a poutine and made with fries. The gravy is a lighter mix in order to not fight with the saltiness of the Canadian bacon. The cheese is in the form of curds, but it does not squeak. I enjoyed it because I was not expecting a normal poutine and knew I was basically getting fries, cheese, gravy and bacon. The presentation is also nice and makes eating more enjoyable when it is out of a mini skillet.

“Dessert trio: banana and chocolate with peanut brittle, lemon and raspberry sorbet, strawberry pie” I love appies and desserts when it comes as a tasting, a little bit of each.  You get to try 3 different desserts for the price of one, ensuring you will not get bored of any one taste. We were able to share this amongst 6 people comfortably. And it was a great conversation starter to ask one another which one they enjoyed most and why.

“Steak and frites”. Similar to the 8oz steak this cut of meat was precut for you. When I get a steak I like cutting into it myself to uncover the pink and have the first juicy bite. By precutting it, it does not make it any easier for the diner, nor does it make the plate look any better; but instead it steals a part of the eating experience from the diner. Though that aside it was a very well cooked piece of medium rare beef. The gravy was rich and concentrated with a very savory flavour. The fries were house made and by leaving the skins on, it gave each bite that extra crispy texture along with the chewy starchy one you get with all fries.

“Rolled beef Carpaccio” This is not your traditional Carpaccio, this stood out because it is made with an egg stuffed with enoki mushroom and other fresh veggies on top. This was unique, it did not have the fresh light, simple taste of your usual beef Carpaccio. This was heavy with sauce and had a mixed bag of flavours thanks to the 10 plus ingredients that were brought together to essentially make an deconstructed breakfast omelette. I would not order this again and if it hadn’t been free I would have complained and sent it back for on delivery what I expected.

“Oakwood Waldorf” I remember ordering this not knowing what a “Waldorf” was, and was disappointed to see this salad coming to our table. I do not like paying for salads, I want more work put into the meals I pay for, especially at a price of $15. Though for a pile of leaves I did find it pretty tasty, but maybe cause my expectations are low for salad. It had cheese, walnuts, grapes, and a smooth dressing that really made the dish come 

Would I go back? – Yes its a beautifully done space in a great neighbourhood with ample parking. A great place to sit and talk with friends over a light meal. I would also be curious to see how the menu has evolved since my last visit.
Would I recommend it? – Yes, I am proud of my bf’s masonry work and would love to showcase it to others who appreciate a handsome fireplace.

2741 4th Ave West Vancouver

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