“Two Rivers” is a butcher shop best known for supplying their exceptional meat products to many local lower mainland restaurants. Therefore, I was very excited to be trying their said meat from out of their actual shop, today. Not only do they offer beautiful cuts of beef, chicken, pork, etc; seasoned and bare for sale, but the same space also doubles as a full sit down restaurant. Here you seat your meat, surrounded by meat, with other meat lovers.
They have been up and running for over a year now, and I can’t believe it took me this long to get down to North Vancouver to give them a try. We were invited in to taste their fall/winter dishes made with ethical and sustainable meats. Animal products from local BC and Alberta farms that have been hand chosen to ensure that the framers that tend to this land care about their animals, are working with those who care about food. The result is quality meats from animals raised on spacious parcels of land, without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
I was in awe walking up to their expansive complex. A strong wooden awning marked with their name in bold white. Inside, it was just as nice, enough to have me turning my head serval rotations at a time. Modern and sleek in more white. White tiled walls that also covered the counters of the deli and the kitchen bar in the dining area. Under foot was their logo in brown over a glossy white floor. We would order at the counter before finding any available seating, and marking our territory with coats and bags on stools.
After you pay are given a number to mark your order. It is is clipped to a heavy piece of bone, making this a very practical place setting that speaks to their brand and what they have available.
If the day had been nicer we would have found ourselves on the patio overlooking their industrial street. However, inside you get to take in the butchery surrounding your table as your wait and ate. In fact, with its glass windows and transparent facade you could see their skilled butchers preparing all the meat below. Fine cuts that would soon become our brunch, as well as everything showcased raw for taking home to cook yourself.
They have 5 well-lit showcases of the latter to peruse through. Although like the menu, making your decision will be tough. They had a showcase dedicated to each animal. For beef there was skirt steak, chuck pot roast, dry aged cross rib, tri tip, and even chunks perfect for stew; hit to name a few. For pork you had the chop, ribs, loin, and butt to choose from. There was a Frenched rack of lambs and a lamb belly roast.
There were even various house made sausages utilizing all sorts of meat and combinations. Bratwursts, turkey and sage, apple and pork, and venison and lamb sausages by the link. For those interested in trying them all, they offer a sausage sampler platter if you dine in.
There were also precooked sides like brussel sprouts, pork and beans, and a carrot and beet slaw to round out your take home meal with. And if you want that meal to be quick, bring home the premartinated chicken breasts and skewers in flavours like cordon bleu, chipotle lime, Jamaican jerk, and maui barbecue.
Or make things even easier for yourself by not cooking and just creating your own charcuterie board by picking and choosing what cured meats you want sliced up to go. This too is all made in house. Then all you need is to stop for some fine cheeses and better wine.
I can go on and on about what they offer, like their spice rubs and vacuum sealed packs of bacon, but I digress; back to my meal at hand and what I actually tried.
They have a regular menu and a feature sheet, and together this is one of the few menus I wanted everything on it. Nothing sounded bad, even their daily bone broth side felt like it was worth trying. I thought the sausage platter would be a great solution to parties and potlucks, and was tempted by their sides to share. Beef tartare, crispy bbq pork bites, and Korean style drumsticks.
They even have a section on their menu dedicated to less meaty items including ramen and salads. I was tempted by their “two rivers ramen bowl” with soft poached egg, bean sprouts, noodle, charred garlic chilli oil, spiced nori, green onion, and crispy pork. Although it felt like a waste not to take advantage of the meat they are known for, for my first visit.
I finally made my decision based on meaty classics that I could compare my meal to, and their most popular plates.
We ordered the “Butcher Selected steak” off the feature sheet. This was a 7oz flat iron steak, served with smoked chanterelle mushrooms (as they were in season and procured fresh on this day), fried tallow (a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat), and herbed butter. The steak was cooked beautifully and cutting into it was like a hot knife in butter. The butter added a change of taste, but it was the mushrooms that gave the dish its pop of flavour, with its tangy Cajun-like rub. At $22 it was definitely worth it, you got quality and taste.
The “65 day dry aged beef burger” was recommend to us by the cheery clerk behind the counter. This juicy burger is house ground, round, and aged before it hits the grill and is seared to order. It is prepared with an aged cheddar, charred tomato, zucchini pickles, iceberg lettuce, and a white barbecue sauce; all on a brioche bun. And of course I added on some bacon, and if you get it, you should too. Splurge on spending $2 more for two thick and chewy pieces. I suggest eating the burger quick. Its juices does pool, and the result is a bottom bun soggy and oily to the touch. I found myself finishing it off with fork and knife. Overall, a well balance burger with classic toppings and condiments. No complaints.
They also had a rotisserie we had to exploit, by ordering their free range half chicken with jalapeño aioli and bbq sauce. And we were so happy we did, as this was one of the juiciest chickens my partner has ever had. I don’t like the chicken breast because it is typically dry, but theirs had the white meat as moist as the dark. So tender that it practically fell off in strands when I went to poke my fork into it. I honestly can’t go back to grocery store rotisserie chicken after this, I would sooner drive out to “Two Rivers” if I get the craving. The chicken comes with two different sauces, not that you need it, as the chicken and it’s skin is well seasoned throughout. Although the sauces are worth trying. The creamy white sauce is garlicky with a bit of spice, perfect for any burger. And the sweet barbecue sauce makes for a great dip for any meat.
We had to end on their bone marrow and tallow chocolate chip cookie, because where else can you get a sweet and meat cookie? It only looks hard and dry. But the crispy and crumbly texture suits it perfectly. You don’t taste the marrow or tallow, as it is used in place of butter, but you do get a savoury feel from this treat, and the salt on it makes such a difference, highlighting the savoury notes and the sweetness of the chocolate.
As for drinks they offer a small selection of beers, wines, and soda. My partner got a bottle of their “Phillips craft soda made from craft cola, root beer, orange cream, and ginger ale”. It tasted like an orange creamsicle.
Their beer list is all local, so I got a pint of “Bridge brewing’s” bourbon blood orange. Crisp wheat ale, zesty and floral with a clean citrus flavour. A smooth beverage to pair with all our tasty meat forward dishes.
And to snack on in between or with drinks, you can help yourself to a seasoned bucket of popcorn.
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? – Yes.
Hands down, my new favourite meat focused restaurant in the city. A must visit and a recommend of any carnivore or omnivore. They even have salads, if you need to tow your vegan friend along. Visit, it is worth it and when there, don’t deny your cravings.
80 Donaghy Avenue, North Vancouver BC, V7P 2L5