Palling Around with Contemporary Canadian Cuisine at Dachi on East Hastings

With a name like Dachi (“pal” in Japanese), you’d think this was yet another modern Asiany restaurant but it’s actually a snapshot of contemporary Canadian/PNW multiculturalism on a plate that just works in a quiet, accessible, yet sophisticated way. Dachi was just four weeks old when we dined there and we saw influences drawn from Ukranian, German, Asian, and American cultures on the menu. Tight menu and booze list, very well curated. You can feel the experience oozing out of all the industry vets working there. If you’re into seasonal farm-to-table, small plates-style eating, you’ll love this place.

Dachi swooped in after the sudden closing of Campagnolo Roma in early November 2018 and turned the space around and opened up in what seems like record time. No need to wait around for them to “work out the kinks” because they’re already on fire! Literally! (Because I set fire to one of their slim, fabric-bound menus when I accidentally put the cover on a candle! Oops! But they triaged it quickly and quietly like pros. Hahaha…shit.)

I confess that I didn’t give Camp Roma enough love — I just gravitated towards Upstairs at Campagnolo more. But I love what Dachi has done with the interior. Clean, crisp, comfortable.

The menu before I burned it.

New, unblemished menu. Love the tight wine list. Focused on small natural producers. (Forgive me, I’m new to the wine thing. If I see words like “pet nat” and “wild ferment”, I’m throwing it into the natural wine category.)

Three sakes and a couple well-chosen beers too!

Menu is perfect for a place this size. Some interesting twists like “mutsu apple butter” and “country fried”(!) steelhead trout. Is a “chuck flat” like the “flat” of a brisket?

I broke my rule of no drinking Monday to Thursday cuz this pet nat (OG sparkling wine) said it was ok and would keep a secret.

2017 Can Sumoi Ancestral Sumoll Pet Nat ($15). Spontaneously fermented but actually very clean with no funk. If I had to compare it to a beer, it’d be like Strange Fellows Talisman Pale Ale, in that both are super accessible with really clean finishes that vaporize off the tongue.

Yarrow Meadows Duck Confit Croquettes ($12) with smoked golden raisin puree and pickled celery. A hit!

Maybe I don’t get out enough, but smoked golden raisin puree sounds like something so wild and inventive I feel like I’ve been in a coma for the past decade. Everything about this dish was great.

Mushroom and Toasted Seed Perogies ($16) with celeriac puree and king oyster mushroom. I didn’t catch what kind of seed but these were delicious.

It’s got that prototypical chewy yet yielding perogy skin. I know what you’re thinking — $16 for three perogies?! It did make me blink, but it makes sense if you think beyond the plate in front of you. Hint: “big picture”.

Country Fried Steelhead Trout ($22) with salted beets and horseradish gribiche. “Gribiche” is like a mayo with cooked eggs instead of raw, usually including pickles, capers, parsley, etc. (I had to look it up too.)

I was turned onto this dish via Sophia‘s IG story of her birthday dinner here. I know sharing food is good but I may eat this dish all by myself next time. Moist trout with a crispy coating and a tartar-esque sauce. What’s not to like? Salt roasted beets are a bonus.

Braised Pork Cheeks and Sunchokes ($21) with parsnip puree, roasted hazelnuts, and oloroso sherry. Technically done well except it came off a bit bland and underseasoned compared to everything else. Nothing a little pocket Maldon can’t fix (shhhh!). A classy meat ‘n root veg kind of dish that just needed a slight tweak.

24 Hour Roasted Beef Chuck Flat ($27) with brussels sprouts and black garlic spaetzle. My first time having a “chuck flat”. It’s a cut that had great flavour. Wicca is very particular about the flavour of certain cuts of beef. I don’t understand it myself and it seems rather random, but she doesn’t like the taste of flank but she liked the taste of this. I adored the crisp, charred crust on the meat! Moist, tender, full flavoured beef. Heaven!

Brussels sprout leaves and black garlic in the chewy spaetzle. Sharing between 2-3 people is good. Between four people would be pushing it cuz you won’t be able to have just one slice of that meat!

We got comped a glass of this Shichida Junmai sake (17%) because one of the staff, Miki, is a huge sake nerd. A rich, entertaining sake that takes you on a fun ride.

The initial hit whenever I drink sake reminds me of the Chinese fermented sweet rice (“teem jow”) that my grandmother would make in her basement in clay pots. Although sake obviously takes it far beyond that into interesting notes that are new to me. Love it.

Poached Granny Smith Apple ($10) with cider sabayon, spiced cake, and ginger mascarpone. I’m not huge on desserts so my thoughts don’t really apply here. Wicca liked the cinnamon etc spices in the cake. I still think sabayon is a magical fluid/other.

Really great service here. If you’re an engaged, interested diner, I think you’ll find this place very rewarding. Other than the mildly underseasoned pork cheek dish, no other flaws to speak of. Dachi is already in the zone.


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