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It has been a while since I dined at Sandbar. Tonight we were in Granville Island, here for a comedy show, although looking for a meal before.

Considering the temperate weather, we thought we’d give the patio a try, but with no reservations and this being a Saturday night, they were fairly booked. However, we had no problem hopping on to one of the patio’s bar stools for our multiple course meal.

Although in hind sight, given how much we ordered and spent, for what is considered elevated dining, we should have waited for better seating; and gotten the preferred full experience. But alas, our time was short as our show would start at 7:30pm.

We ordered a bottle of wine off their daily features, not to be confused with the fresh sheet, a one pager with holes poked out to indicate what was available tonight.

It came at a discount, saving $16 and the price of 4 glasses of wine that we would have ordered between us two. The Quail’s Gate Chardonnay was described as having aromas of citrus, orange peel, apricot and lemon; all of which great accents to our seafood focused meal to come. Considering the name and the location of the restaurant, we kept it seafood, so a bottle of white was the sage choice. Bright and refreshing, as is I got mellow notes of harvest pear. An overall neutral wine that did not distract from our oysters, squid, and/or fish.

My partner is a fan of raw oysters, and seeing as Island Tide was on the fresh sheet, and a type of oyster I never tried before, we decide to order a half dozen to share. It came as a platter over ice, served with the commonly seen vinegary mignonette, coarsely shredded horseradish, and a nice mix of cocktail sauce and tarragon aïoli in a split cup. The latter would be my favourite dressing, as I found the oysters a little salty with excess brine and it had an odd grassiness to it; so the sauces helped.

Their Signature Wok Squid is not to be missed, it has been a while since I had it and I forgot how much I enjoyed it. The texture is like no other, a cross between the tender rubberiness of cuttlefish and the melty sensation of spot prawns. Each curl two fatty bites that made my mouth happy to chew through, and it was just as easy to slice into with the edge of a fork. As for the way it tasted: it was Asian flavours with ginger and chillies. The onion salsa topping sort of intimidated me, but its freshness helped to even out some of the breaded fry.

I had high hopes for their “Crispy Brussels Sprouts” with chilli flakes, lemon, and grana padano; but this fell short. They weren’t as advertised, even the individually fried leaves didn’t crack or crunch. The whole and halved sprouts were soft like they have been boiled. I could have used a lot more garlic and Parmesan cheese to help hide the above. Although as disappointed as we were, we still finished it, as our only side of vegetables.

The Alderwood Grilled Sablefish was the saving grace. Miso soy marinated black cod, with market vegetables on a coconut jasmine rice. The time on the wood grill came through on the first bite. A mouthful scooped that melted under the pressure of my fork. It soothing comfort flavours got a “wow” out of us both. The rice adds a needed base for the sauces, whereas the coloured peppers help to draw out the butteriness of the sablefish. This was simply wonderful and I would eat more fish if it was as tender and delicious as this.

In conclusion, this was a really great meal and had me reflecting on the restaurant in a whole new light. I don’t recall loving my last experiences, but this one definitely stood out for the food alone. I would like to come back to enjoy the setting better and it actually have a dedicated server tend to us. Seated at the bar, we were fighting for attention from the bartender, who was busy mixing drinks for the entire restaurant on a Saturday night. Sandbar is definitely one of the better options for seafood on Granville Island.

The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant
1535 Johnston Street, Creekhouse #102, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
(604) 669-9030

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