A friend’s birthday party with 12 people was booked at Hydra several weeks before the infamous and inflammatory vanmag.com review came out. It’s quite an entertaining read, and I use the word “inflammatory” on purpose because they entitled it, “Hydra Estiatorio Is a Dumpster Fire of a Restaurant”. But I think it was all a great teachable moment for the restaurant because I didn’t experience any of the major issues brought up in that review. Whew! (Mia Stainsby’s earlier review is a nice counterpoint.)
Still…Hydra (being a more upscale restaurant — although the food isn’t necessarily upscale, elevated, or refined) isn’t quite my cup of tzatziki. It’s like there’s a rich-person WhatsApp group and they all said to check out Hydra. Not my scene.
Continue reading Hydra: The Best Restaurant I Have Little Interest In Returning To
This hole-in-the-wall has ~14 seats and just two main items on the menu. This won’t take long (but maybe longer than you think).
Continue reading Homey Grandma-style Vibes with Banh Cuon & Bun Rieu at Thanh Xuan Cafe on Kingsway
Horin Ramen + Sake opened up in late 2018, occupying the space that used to be the short-lived Sanuki Udon (review here). They’ve got an impressively TIGHT menu with only ONE kind of ramen (with five variations that only differ in toppings), two kinds of gyoza, and that’s basically it! With such a narrow focus, they should nail this style of tonkotsu ramen, right? Mostly yes…but the detailed answer is a bit more complicated.
Continue reading Lunch Quickie: Horin Ramen + Sake on Robson
It’s the new Havana! Newly recharged with actual Cuban food on the menu, courtesy of the group behind Postmark, Belgard Kitchen, etc. I stopped in for a Cubano to see what Andrew Morrison was raving about. In a nutshell: very good except the pickle element rolled over and died. Plantain chips were excellent.
Continue reading Lunch Quickie: Cubano Sandwich at Havana on Commercial
Few things have that uneasy mixture of luxury, guilt, and controversy as king crab does. Like spot prawns now, there used to be a mad king crab season rush in the Lower Mainland. But because we can’t have nice things, king crab prices are high and supply has become questionable (and possible illegal). So on that note, we recently celebrated a family reunion of sorts with king crab. I didn’t even see a menu during this dinner. My dad and relatives ordered, my dad paid, and I ate and appreciated like a number one son.
Continue reading King Crab Dinner at Fortune Terrace in Richmond
The food at Kabsa House on Robson St. has a lot of similarities with local Persian restaurants like Zeitoon and Cazba (of which “Kabsa” is a near anagram of). There’s a focus on rice and kabobs (skewers), but with the addition of rotisserie chicken and a few other Saudi Arabian/Gulf touches. Food was generally good, but slightly higher prices and slightly smaller serving sizes means not quite enough reason to choose this place over other more established places (some of which have killer daily specials that offer even more value), unless you’re in the area or have a hankering for their moist, well-seasoned rotisserie chicken.
Continue reading Takeout Quickie: Arabian Gulf Cuisine at Kabsa House on Robson
The ramen boom from the last few years resulted in imho TOO MANY tonkotsu-style ramen places. Great tonkotsu was already achieved with places like Santouka, Jinya, etc. Chicken paitan was already pretty much perfected by Marutama (with an unique personal take by The Ramenman). I’ve also enjoyed the Iekei-style tonkotsu/Tokyo shoyu hybrid ramen at Yah Yah Ya and Yaguchiya. What I felt was missing from the scene was a classic Tokyo-style shoyu ramen, the kind featured in Tampopo:
(^Funny German dub)
I know clear soups aren’t popular right now, but there’s something classic, nostalgic, and minimalistic about it that appeals to me. So recently, Gyoza Paradise (on Robson and Thurlow back in the 90s, which I never heard of or went to) reopened on Broadway near Arbutus as Gyo Para with a focus on gyoza and chintan (clear broth) style ramen. I was intrigued but wanted to wait until they got their feet. I think 6 months is enough, right?
Continue reading Lunch Quickie: Shoyu Ramen and Chicken Karaage at Gyo Para
After a long build-up, Taps & Tacos is finally open near “Brewer’s Row” in Port Moody. I tried it about a month and a half after they opened, so things should’ve settled in nicely by this point.
Continue reading Fancy Tacos & Craft Beer in Port Moody: Taps & Tacos
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.
Continue reading It’s not you, it’s me. Ok yeah, it’s you: El Santo in New West
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.
Continue reading Lunch Quickie: Parallel 49 Brewing Company’s Street Kitchen