No tricks at this new West End gem
I’ve become used to a certain style of décor when visiting local tapasparlours. Dark wood, brick walls, small windows, mood lighting,occasionally some abstract art…more speakeasy than sunny bodega.
1141 Davie St.
Open for Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday; 5 p.m. to midnight
Signature Drink: Cohombro o pepino
Signature Dish: Gilda
Dinner & drinks for two: $80
I’ve become used to a certain style of décor when visiting local tapas
parlours. Dark wood, brick walls, small windows, mood lighting,
occasionally some abstract art…more speakeasy than sunny bodega. Mis
Trucos, on the other hand, was a pleasant change. Plain white expanses
dotted with numerous windows surround light wood floors and tables, as
well as some surprisingly comfortable chairs. My first visit, on a
bright afternoon, proved that a DIY reno done right can be just as
effective as a “professional” interior.
The open space flows nicely into an even cooler back patio and bar,
where rumour has hinted at weekend pig roasts and barbecues. The menu
is equally simple. Small to large share plates range in price from $4
to $18, desserts are $6 and the cocktails hover around $8. A pitcher of
sangria ($14) is definite must-try.
The name of the restaurant translates as “My Tricks,” but the food is
as honest and straightforward as it gets. Don’t get me wrong. It’s
inventive and inspired in a way that can only come from love—in this
case, the love of chef/owner Kris Barnholden. But the presentation and
execution is simple and balanced—with a few minor exceptions.
We started with the gilda ($4), a dish of white anchovy wrapped around
an olive and a bit of pepperoncini. Sweet, salty and a little spicy all
at once, we licked the toothpicks clean. Heaps of perfectly cured white
spring salmon ($12) followed, over a tangy apple-beet salad with herbed
crème fraîche. Scallop ceviche over gazpacho ($7) was less impressive.
The scallops were tasty, albeit minimal, but the gazpacho tasted more
like a red pepper coulis and drowned out the seafood.
Paper-thin slices of Serrano ham topped with a slow-cooked egg and
grated parmigiano ($7) was a fabulous bounce back. Just watching the
egg ooze all over the ham and melt the cheese was enough to get the
glands going—it was almost (I did say almost) unnecessary to actually
eat it all. Marinated octopus with baby potatoes ($7) was savoury, warm
and satisfying, although I could have stood for more octopus to balance
out the tubers.
The larger plates are also available as smaller versions, so we
indulged in some more stretching of the waistlines. Roasted pork belly
with cauliflower puree ($12) was tender and moist, with fat that
literally dissolved on inhalation. A small order of white truffle
risotto with lobster and crème fraîche ($12) was otherworldly and
inspired a repeat visit so that I could order the full size all for
myself. Rich, creamy, with beautiful, large chunks of lobster, this was
the group’s—and my—favourite.
Dessert was just an extension of gluttony, as we were all full, but
mango-wrapped ricotta rolls were so good that they got ordered twice.
Chocolate mousse layered between crisp, candied sheets of
almond-studded pastry was just messy, gooey fun that deserved a good
licking, and almost got one.
I foresee the only tricky aspect to Mis Trucos will be how to keep myself from spending too much there.
Tenuta Villanova Has Arrived
Located in the Friuli region of Italy, Tenuta Villanova is one
of Italy’s oldest continuously-operating vineyards—since 1499, in fact.
This month they arrive in Canada with their Pinot Grigio and Merlot
offerings. The Pinot Grigio has a nose of chalk, clay and spring
flowers over an earthy, citrus-tinged palate. Serve with soft cheeses,
risottos and light pasta dishes. $14.99 at BCLS.
The Bordeaux are Here
On Sept. 13, at 9 a.m., Marquis Wine Cellars will be holding their annual Bordeaux Release and Tasting. $39 per person in advance (refunded on purchases over $400). Visit www.marquis-wines.com for more info.
Church and State
North Vancouver’s Moustache Café (129 West 2 St) will be holding
a special winemaker’s dinner on Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. with Church and
State Winery. Winery proprietor Mr. Kim Pullen will lead guests through
the four-course dinner with wine pairings. $79 per person. Call
604-987-8461 to reserve.
On Sept. 10, Provence Marinaside (1177 Marinaside Crescent) will
be hosting their annual Caribbean Feast in honour of Sous Chef Cullin
David’s heritage. The three-course prix fixe dinner includes callaloo,
habañero-dusted ahi tuna, jerk duck confit, and pineapple and coconut
tart. $48 per person. Call 604-681-4144 for reservations.
Food in Brief
After three fabulous years, Connor Butler Restaurant has closed due to increasing rents. Chef Connor has sold the restaurant and we wish him luck in his future endeavours.
On Sept. 12, Chambar will be celebrating their five-year
anniversary with an block party on Beatty Street from noon to 5 p.m.
Pulled pork, a kids’ disco, face painting and complimentary waffles…get
ready, here we come.