You might’ve heard that El Santo in New West tied for Gold with La Mezcaleria for Best Latin in this year’s Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. We came in with a certain level of expectation, perhaps a more modern, tweaked, elevated take on Mexican cuisine. But we came away confused, disappointed, and frankly stunned with the generally bland, one-note, and at times off-balance flavours.
I wasn’t gonna do a blog post about Parallel 49 Brewing Company‘s new Street Kitchen, but another website posted their article on it today (the one with the effusive hyperbole), so hey, fair game, right?
Long story short: ambitious menu, perhaps a bit too complicated for the crowd, great service, servings too small, prices too high.
We met up with a small group of foodies for dim sum at Chef Tony in Richmond. In attendance was Calgary blogger/Instagrammer Miss Foodie (who helped me out a lot last time I was in Calgary) who was in town for the past week or so, positively eating up a storm. It was mine and Wicca’s first time at the award-winning Chef Tony. This is higher-end dim sum, which puts it in the same bracket as Kirin, Grand Dynasty, etc. But with almost 200 items on the menu, our visit showed that it’s hard to get everything consistently good, not even factoring in individual tastes. Same as with my review of Double Double (which is located in the same plaza, Empire Centre), restaurants usually aren’t entirely good or entirely bad. It’s a bit of a quest to find the right dishes for you, accolades or awards be damned. 😉
Something’s not right here…Sal y Limón in “Fraserhood” has been around since 2012 and has perpetual lineups, but reviews of them are all over the place. Some gushing praise, some bitter disappointment. I guess it’s expected with a place so freaking popular, that every Tom’s Harry Dick is gonna get on Z*mato or Welp and wax lyrical about those big-ass burritos. Here’s my take on this place after eating seven tacos.
Juke in Chinatown has been open about 5 weeks. There’s this thing about food blogging/food reviewing that you shouldn’t review a place the first x it’s been open — that “x” could be a week, a month, whatever…that value changes depending on who you talk to. I break that rule all the time. One part of me understands that restaurants always need time to work out the kinks, to smooth out their processes and staffing, settle into their “vision”, what have you. The other part of me feels that I don’t want to be a guinea pig, spend hard-earned cash money, waste my time, or waste a dining opportunity with so much out there to try. So I waited more than a month to try Juke. I think I have a pretty good idea about their food and can judge accordingly. You may like it. You may love it. I didn’t.
R&B Brewing are actually one of the local old-school breweries, having opened in 1997 in the same space (now expanded and remodeled) on East 4th & Quebec St. They’re within walking distance of the new Faculty Brewing, Steel Toad, 33 Acres, Brassneck, and Main Street Brewing. R&B were a near-casualty of the Vancouver craft beer boom, and got increasingly overlooked, out-brewed, and ignored when everyone else was opening up tasting rooms where people could hang out, fill growlers, etc, while R&B were stuck with no ability to open a tasting lounge that’s become a critical part of becoming a successful brewery in Vancouver. On the brink of bankruptcy, they were bought out by Howe Sound Brewing in April 2015, with one of the founders, Barry, continuing on as an employee. With that injection of capital and manpower, they’ve finally opened up their lounge and pizza oven in August 2016. How do their beers fare now in today’s crowded and hot hot hot craft beer scene? And how’s their pizza?
The original Richmond location of Smokehouse Sandwich Co. has a big following and I’ve been meaning to try it for a couple years. They opened up a more convenient downtown location back in March but I was actually reminded this week about it from three different sources: a really cool dude posted a SocialShopper coupon for it on Facebook, and two different trusty Instagrammers posted their sandwiches over the past week. That black charcoal bun really stands out!
TLDR: I wanted to like it more than I did. Underseasoned meat, brisket sandwich was dry, but good chips and strawberry & mint drink.
Price isn’t usually that much of an issue for me unless something jumps out — and jump out it did when I took my family to the new Anh + Chi in the old Pho Hoang space on Main & 18th. I don’t mind paying more for a commensurate increase in quality, technique, freshness, and service…but I’m not sure that what I ate justified the increase in price.
TLDR: Average food with hints of greatness for a premium price.
Have we reached “peak ramen”? In the same month that Hapa Ramen opened up, Sanpoutei Ramen in Richmond (next to Parker Place on No. 3 Road) had their grand opening on January
30 20, 2016. In short: good but not worth lining up for. I’d wait until the crowds die down, or go during non-peak periods. There are some unique positives and not many negatives.
I just spent the last half an hour looking longingly at old Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle photos. But this is a supposed to be a review of Fat Mao Noodles! I guess that says something…that I’d rather revisit 2-3 year old experiences than think about what happened yesterday.