4328 Main St.
Open for Dinner: Monday to Wednesday; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday to Saturday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Signature Drink: Automne Gatsby
Signature Dish: Pescitarian Platter
Dinner & drinks for two: $97
It’s rare that I get review leads from my daughter. Granted, that could be because her idea of a great place to eat is one that has ice cream and Baba’s turkey loaf. Yet, there it is. We were enroute to the children’s book store off East 28th, and I didn’t even notice the nice little room until my daughter stopped, pointed at the window and said, “Pretty!”
My little fashionista’s eye had been caught by the pretty dress that a girl inside was wearing. My eye was caught by the warm, golden tones of this previously unknown dining spot. A fellow scribe had mentioned the word “Grub” to me shortly after this, but I ended up driving by for several months before finally making it inside.
The interior is slightly irreverent, a little childlike, and quite charming. A giant mobile with coloured paper cut-outs hangs at the front and the wallpaper depicts cartoonish scenes. The menu, however, is fully adult and, according to friend Pete (my regular digestive partner), “salivacious.” The stable selection of appetizer platters, salads, pizzas and dessert is rounded out by the mains, which change daily and always include vegetarian and vegan options.
I was a bit confused as to whether our server was the barman or the GM, or maybe all three. He seemed to be the only one on duty out front that night and, during our entrée, he sauntered out front with a beer and a ciggie, and puffed away next to a parking metre for a short while, all the while watching us and the rest of the diners through the front window. It didn’t bother me too much; it wasn’t a full house and service was prompt from start to finish. Hey, we all need our Zen moments and this is Main Street, after all.
Before we decided on dinner, we ordered the bread basket, which, at eight dollars, gave me pause, but we were hungry and needed some carbs fast. It wasn’t a basket so much as a platter of large, warm slices of focaccia, sourdough and flat bread similar to naan. Three large mounds of sundried-tomato butter, garlicky hummus and a black olive tapenade were so tasty we almost ordered the plate twice, but then decided we should leave room for the actual dinner.
We started with the pescitarian ($15), an appetizer platter for two of smoked trout, housemade gravlax, poached prawns in tomatillo puree, tomato and avocado salad, and fennel-marinated purple cabbage slaw. Much groaning and eye-rolling -- the happy kind -- ensued. Then came my green coconut-marinated Wetzel duck with stewed peaches and housemade gnocchi ($18).
It was almost overshadowed by Pete’s orange-braised halibut ($18) with butternut squash risotto—almost, but not quite. Dessert was nice. Lemon brulée tart was just that, albeit with a crust slightly harder than one would like. A chocolate bourbon torte was also a little heavy-handed with the pastry, although the filling was nicely drunk and truly divine.
I always appreciate good eats in my ‘hood and overall, it’s a casual, comfy neighbourhood spot, worth getting to know a little better. Besides, with a wine and spirits list like the one flaunted here, it’s worth coming for the occasional child-free fix.
The Many Facets of Pinot: Pinot Grigio/Gris
This white mutant of Pinot Noir is called Pinot Gris or Grigio, depending on the region it’s grown in and the sweetness of the grape (Grigio generally refers to the drier versions and/or those grown in Italy). From Australia, try Yellow Tail’s Pinot Grigio 2008 ($12.99 BCLS), with apple and green pear aromas. Closer to home, try Hester Creek’s Pinot Gris for a crisper, lighter quaff. Priced at $18.09 from hestercreek.com.
For Life, For Love, For All…
On Thursday, March 12, help raise funds for Vancouver Friends for Life Society and A Loving Spoonful by Dining Out for Life at one of dozens of participating restaurants. Visit diningoutforlife.com for more info.
St. Valentine Would Be Proud…
La Terrazza (1088 Cambie St) will be offering their Santo Valentino four-course prix fixe menu for $88.88 on February 13 to 15. Enjoy portobello and black truffle in phyllo, stuffed crab and prawn pasta, certified Peruvian sea bass and whole Nova Scotia lobster. Call 604-899-4449 or visit laterrazza.ca.
Raincity Grill (1193 Denman St) will be offering a seven-course tasting menu for $94 and a four-course prix fixe for $84 on February 13 and 14. Try the Bay Sound oysters, the crispy skin lingcod, the duck breast with glazed Anjou pear or stuffed chicken breast, plus desserts and cheese. Call 604-685-7337 or visit raincitygrill.com.
Food in Brief
And the award goes to…
Bishop’s is one of only 159 North American restaurants to be granted a top Four Star Rating by Mobil Travel Guide. Our salute and congratulations go out to John Bishop and his dedicated team.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over…
And you though Dine Out was done. Thanks to popular demand, DB Bistro Moderne and Lumière are both extending their Dine Out menus, for $38 and $58 respectively, until February 12.