claudia kwan/for metro vancouver
1938 W. 4th (and Cypress)
Open for lunch Wednesday-Saturday, dinner daily
Dinner for two, including tax, tip, and drinks: $130
**** (out of 5)
We begin with smoked sablefish that’s been treated like lox. Processed delicately while still raw, the thinly sliced fish melts away, leaving only drifts of smokiness on the tongue. I could do without the garlic foam though.
The frog leg beignets are crisp little fried morsels that indeed taste like chicken, but in this case wind up bland, and I’m not sure the accompanying pickled mushrooms are the right thing to perk them up. Next time I think I’ll have the oysters in Sauternes jelly and horseradish ‘snow’ instead.
We move on to succulent braised beef cheeks that are a treat with chanterelle mushrooms, cipollini onions, burdock, and chestnuts adding or removing layers of savouriness.
Gastropod is one of the restaurants capable of cooking sous vide, where menu items are vacuum-sealed in plastic and then bathed in sternly temperature-calibrated water for precise periods of time. It’s a method that allows a chef a huge measure of control, and generally creates tender and flavour-infused results. For a $10 upgrade to the $42.50, three-course fixed price menu, I pick the venison.
It’s prettily presented with fancy potato chips sandwiching mashed potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and a vivid slash of raspberry ketchup, but considering it’s been done sous vide, the venison is surprisingly tough.
Chocolate pannacotta formed into a Toblerone shape and lemon thyme ice milk provide a pleasantly light wind-up to a meal with wide ranging flavours and textures.