Eating Vancouver: Day 2

Day 2 in Vancouver got off to a bit of a late start due to a slight overindulgence in wine from the previous night.  Once we were off however, we made several stops as I continued to enjoy the Vancouver food scene.  First stop was Rodney’s, a place specializing in oysters which also has a Toronto location (which I still have yet to try).  The first dish to arrive was the coconut curry shrimp and the crab cake.

The crab cake was good.  Juicy crab meat, no fishy flavour in sight and tasty breading.  The sauce on the side made it especially appetizing.  The coconut curry shrimp was good too.  The shrimp was bouncy and well cooked.  The curry was just okay.  It kind of reminded me of PC brand butter chicken sauce that you can buy in the stores with a little more coconut milk.  Maybe my taste buds were just off that morning.  Next to arrive (after some confusion about our order) were the deep fried oysters.

These were awesome!  The breading was delicious and the oysters were juicy.  On the side, they gave us a variety of sauces, all of which added an interesting twist to each bite.  I was cautioned to avoid one of the hot sauce however since I was told it was too hot… in hindsight I really should have tried it anyways to see how hot is too hot for my mother.

We walked down the street to try another place that specializes in smoked meat sandwiches, PHAT (Pretty Hot and Tasty) deli.  They have a Schwartz’s menu hung in the opening and boast that they import the briskets from Montreal and use the Schwartz’s spice blend on the meat.

The sandwich is good… not Montreal good or Toronto good but solid.  It didn’t quite have the level of smokiness or spice that I like.  I prefer hand sliced meat since it retains some of the spice on the edges as opposed to machine sliced where it all seems to fall off.  The advantage to machine sliced meat however is surface area.  For really good meats, it just puts you deep into flavour country.  The marble rye on this sandwich was excellent.  I think I prefer the bread at this place over the eastern institutions (except maybe the Corned Beef House) but prefer the meat from out east.

After a few hours of wandering around, we eventually made it to Beard Papas which I’m told is a Japanese franchise that serves the world’s best cream puffs.

Now I’ve only had a few cream puffs in my day so I don’t really have a benchmark.  All I can say is that these cream puffs are huge and really tasty.  The breading (puff part) is soft, fresh and doesn’t flake apart when you eat it.  The cream filling is smooth, sweet but not too sweet and is actually kind of cold which makes the whole thing taste very refreshing.

For dinner, we dined at one of my sister’s regular haunts, Alpha sushi.  I wouldn’t really say this is a sushi place since they don’t serve your traditional raw fish on rice or plain raw fish.  They do have fancy sashimi dishes, a variety of rolls and pretty big list of cooked items.  It’s more like Japanese tapas than it is sushi.  We ordered a couple plates of fancy sashimi: the garlic pepper tuna (back) and the spicy tuna (front).

The spicy tuna wasn’t very spicy but mixed with the sauce and vegetables, was a very delightful dish.  The fish itself was very fresh.  The garlic paper tuna sashimi was awesome.  It had a strong pepper flavour to give is some kick and the garlic sauce was full of flavour.  It wasn’t too garlicky either and was balanced nicely with everything else on the plate.  We also ordered a few rolls, a spicy tuna, spicy salmon, Philly roll (which my sister ordered off menu) and the Richard roll.

Most of the rolls were pretty standard for a good sushi place and the cream cheese in the Philly roll was… interesting.  Maybe it’s just me but cream cheese and rice don’t really work together… the texture is kind of funny.  The Richard roll was the real hit of the bunch.  It was a nice mix of vegetables, fish and eel.

We also had an order of the chicken karage.  I know it’s really just fried boneless chicken but I would have to say it’s one of the best I’ve had.  The breading was crunchy but not overcooked and the chicken was moist.

The thing that stands out the most about this place it the high quality to price ratio.  The quality of the fish is that of a top notch sushi place, the menu is creative, and everything tastes good.  The dinner for four of us with a pitcher of Sapporo beer was around $100 with tax and tip.  For the quality, I thought this was great!  The last thing to note is the service.  It was awesome!  Very attentive servers and very friendly/engaging staff.  It probably helped that my sister is a regular too.  Apparently the manager knows the guys who opened Guu here in Toronto.  He asked me to tell them “hi” and gave me his card.  Maybe I can use it to jump the two hour line at Guu.

~ by jlowjlow on April 1, 2010.

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