I like this trend of coffee shops stocking craft beer (e.g. Matchstick in Chinatown) and doing dinner service (e.g. pop-ups at The Birds & The Beets). Bows X Arrows on Fraser & 26th is now doing both. It wasn’t until they brought on ex-Latab chef Kris Barnholden (Latab review here) that their dinner service piqued my interest. Add in collabs with Juno Kim and Doug Stephen (Merchant’s Workshop), and I got very excited indeed. So did dinner end in a happy ending?
If Fraser wasn’t becoming the next Main Street five or so years ago when places like Fray (RIP) opened up, it definitely is now. There’s Bows X Arrows on this corner, Prado Cafe across the street, and JJ Bean down one block. Also of note in the same area is Pizza Carano, O! Taho (Filipino tofu desserts to go), and the original location of the ever-expanding Earnest Ice Cream empire.
$1 off beers during happy hour 😀
Note: Bows X Arrow’s dinner service runs Wednesday to Saturday only.
Detailed booze list. Cocktails listed on the back.
A pretty good tight local craft beer list. Love seeing the inclusion of Twin Sails and Luppolo. One improvement would be to swap in some Four Winds seasonals instead of their mainstays (e.g. Velo Pale Ale with Lemon or any of their Notus series — winkyface).
Twin Sails Dat Juice (5.2%) for $6 during happy hour. Felt like a 16oz glass. Drinks as good as ever. It’s a hazy pale ale done in that Vermont/East Coast IPA style that’s taken over the Vancouver beer scene in the past year. Juiciness is more forward, bitterness pulled back.
My dining companion got a Long Division.
Long Division ($10) with mezcal, aperol, maraschino, lime, cascara tea, and soda. Grapefruit skin as garnish.
The dinner menu changes all the time with what’s fresh and local. Some dishes you see here might not be available by the time you go. But dear god they better keep those lamb ribs!
The dishes/ingredients listed on the menu only tell part of the story. You should expect an element of surprise, with components in the dishes that aren’t listed on the menu. Sometimes these unlisted components do play a fairly large part in the taste. So you should dine here with a sense of openness and adventure.
Triple Cooked Beets ($11) with fresh ricotta, seeds, and nuts. Juno Kim contributed this dish to the menu, and it totally fits in with his design-forward plated aesthetic.
Great dish. Different kinds of heirloom beets plus micro beet greens. The fresh ricotta (you can see a clump of it peeking out from behind the candy cane beet) really brought the dish together. Surprise element was the crispy puffed crackers. I don’t know exactly what those were, but they reminded me of Asian prawn crackers, although more neutral in flavour.
Lamb Ribs ($9) with apricot black tea glaze and puffed wild rice. Surprise element was the (foraged?) mossy bits on top. But honestly I didn’t get much actual flavour out of them.
So succulent! A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, and impressively smoky. Good amount of exquisite fat on the ribs. Droooool. They should keep this dish on the menu as long as possible.
Chicken Tostada ($11) with avocado mousse, fire roasted salsa, and feta. Doug Stephen’s contribution to the menu.
Surprise element were the sungold cherry tomatoes, which added a hit of eye-rolling sweetness. If there was ever a late summer tostada, this would be it. Poached (sous vide?) chicken keeps things light. I love how the avocado is on the bottom, gluing the chicken to the tostada so it doesn’t fall everywhere when you bite into it.
Housemade Gnocchi ($15) with pumpkin seed & garlic scape pesto. Pillowy gnocchi with a bit of chew. Thin slices of zucchini provide good textural contrast. Solid dish.
Chanterelle Rice ($15) with soy egg yolk and “crispy bits”. When I read “soy egg yolk”, I was reminded of Kris’ more modernist experiments at Latab where he did a “vegetable egg” that was actually a pumpkin gel. (I talked about it on Instagram here and here.) I wondered if he made a mock egg yolk using soy?
Not to worry, it was real egg yolk, cured in soy sauce. The “crispy bits” were the same puffed wild rice that was on the lamb ribs. Good amount of chanterelles strewn throughout.
The cooking here contains a lot of technique, with attention paid to flavour and texture, but the result is more accessible and casual than Latab. Combined with the location, I think the cooking will reach a wider, more appreciative audience. We only tried a small part of the menu but I can’t wait to try more.
There was a problem with the rice dish (overseasoned) but they took it off the bill for us no questions asked. Classy. In the grand scheme of things, with the new kitchen crew and so forth, it didn’t affect my appreciation for the food overall. If you like modern west coast cooking, you should check this out. Get the ribs, explore the rest. And if you see me there, Dat Juice is on me!