Last summer I went to O’Doul’s for a bachelorette party during the Jazz Festival and quite enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Planning a date night with Mr. during Dine Out, O’Doul’s menu caught my eyes with items that were slightly out of the norm, so we went there on a Friday night.
As soon as we were seated, we were greeted with an Amuse Bouche of Pork Terrine with a drop of tomato sauce. It’s meaty yet light, a good bite-size treat to start our meal. And dinner just got better from here.
Rangeland Elk Carpaccio was a unique dish that you don’t often see on a DOV menu. It’s like beef carpaccio, very thinly sliced, but the meat was leaner and surprisingly, not very gamey. The shaved, spiced/smoked chocolate, even though it looked like someone just dropped a plate of dirt onto my food, turned out to be a nice touch to the dish. When you combine them, it tasted like chocolate-rubbed elk loin. The celeriac and caper remoulade added some crunch, but it was a bit bland.
The other appy, Pumpkin Gnocchi, was also very good. The gnocchi was pan-seared so it’s crispy on the outside, but nice and fluffy inside. They added just enough cinnamon to the dough so you can taste the spice but without making the dish taste like a dessert. The Poplar Grove tiger blue cheese…Mr. liked it; I would be OK without it.
Mr. ordered Pacific Provider Pink Salmon for entree, as he’s always curious about how chefs cook the salmon, if they would screw it up. This one was definitely up to our standard. The salmon skin was super crispy, and the meat was still slightly pink so it was moist. The smoked pork hock broth tasted like a broth made with Chinese ham (Jinhua ham) and made the dish more savoury. After having the pumpkin gnocchi appy, the herb gnocchi here was just a big disappointment. It was simply boiled, a bit mushy and rather tasteless.
It’s not the best cut of meat you can find out there, but the Curry-spiced Certified Angus Flank Steak was a very enjoyable dish. I like that the rub was a bit spicy, and the meat was quite flavourful. The steak was cooked to medium, so it wasn’t dry. It’s a good portion size too, with 5 thick slices of flank steak. With the addition of potato, the roti became dense and heavy, and after soaking in some of the juice, it just got really mushy. The cucumber salad didn’t do much for me either, so that could go. The mashed potato was quite creamy and was just the right amount of carbs.
For dessert, creme brulee may be a common option during Dine Out, but the apple made this one shine. Mr. thinks that all restaurants should model theirs after the Okanagan Apple Crème Brûlée. The tartness of the apple cut through the sweetness of the custard. It’s very creamy, but it didn’t have the heavy, sugary taste like most other ones.
My Chocolate Raspberry Gateaux was also not too sweet. Perhaps the pastry department at O’Doul’s is light-handed with the sugar. It’s a little bit chocolaty and the wafer at the bottom of the cake added a nice crunch, which I liked. The mascarpone ice cream was very good. Everyone should start serving this as the basic ice cream instead of the boring vanilla ice cream. The cheese made it super rich and creamy, I wish they would give us a bigger scoop.
Unlike the typical impression I have about restaurants during Dine Out, O’Doul’s service was quite good. Server was friendly and we didn’t feel like we were stereotyped as those “cheap people who would only come here for Dine Out”. We had to observe the 1.5hr dining rule but we didn’t feel rushed. The service was efficient, food was served quickly but at a good pace.
I really like the decor too. It’s got some interesting pieces there. It feels like you’re in a lounge, which fits perfectly with its live jazz performance on the weekends.
Of all the Dine Out dinners I had this year (one more post to come), this was hands down the best experience. I think good company plays a part too. Mr. would rate this a 9/10 based on his scale. For me, I didn’t have much to complain about, and I felt that it was a very good value for $28 per person. I would recommend others to give its regular menu a try!
O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar
1300 Robson Street, Vancouver