Another Dine Out dinner that we did this year was a re-visit to the Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Kitsilano. I still remember Mr.‘s meat sweat over his 16oz ribeye when we went there a few years ago. This time around, I’ve arranged a big group – all 9 members of our Garibaldi Beer Club, which also includes Kathryn, Bryan and Mr. The Oakwood had a very appealing menu and I was surprised that I was able to make reservations during prime time (6pm) on a Sunday evening.
The beer club doesn’t usually eat out together. We usually go over to someone’s place, bring over some food and/or beer, and enjoy each other’s company potluck style. So to remember this milestone, in this post not only will I share my experience at the dinner, but I will also include comments from fellow beer club members.
Mr. ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I was expecting one or two pieces of regular-size fried chicken, but to my surprise, they were bite-size nuggets. “Though simple presentation,” according to Mr., “the succulent fried chicken pieces were perfectly balanced by the acidity of the fennel salad.”
For the Lemon Pepper Calamari, DV said: “the lemon pepper was a unique take on calamari, not the Greek style most people would be accustomed to.” I really liked the lemon pepper seasoning dusted on the outside of each calamari piece; the calamari was tender and cooked just right. The rouille sauce (the red sauce) and the garlic aioli added creaminess and spices to the dish. The paprika in the rouille sauce really came through. The only drawback was that there was too much sauce, like, way too much. Those who ordered this all had leftover sauce on the plate.
We were all taken aback when we saw the Olive Oil Poached Ling Cod. “Are those maggots on top?” Those were puffed wild rice! This Asian inspired dish was very well done. The coconut curry was creamy, with just the right amount of heat that didn’t overpower the delicate fish. The ling cod was nicely cooked, meat still flaky. The acidity from the pickled fennel helped balance the heat and richness, and it reminded me of the pickled ginger at Japanese restaurants. The plate was also beautiful to look at too – check out the presentation:
The Smoked Ham Hock Orecchiette was one satisfying plate! You can’t tell from the photo how much food there was, but it was served in a bowl and it was a generous portion. The pasta was al dente, smoked ham chunks brought smokiness and salt to the dish. The fried brussel sprouts were the highlight – a few of us fought over the brussel sprouts on AA’s plate because we love them so much (and AA doesn’t! *gasp*)!
I didn’t take a picture of the Beef Bourguignon because neither Mr. and I ordered it. DV did, and he said the meat, along with gherkins, onions, and more, combined a wide variety of flavours in a single dish.
As for dessert, the Salted Caramel & Apple Cheesecake was a head-scratcher. It wasn’t quite the cheesecake that we were all expecting to see. The “cheesecake” part didn’t have the firm texture like regular cheesecake; instead, it was some runny cream texture with the tart cheesecake flavours. The salted caramel sauce, cooked apple chunks and wafer crumble were all tasty, but the dehydrated apple textually didn’t fit with the dish and Mr. just found them too tart. That being said, AA enjoyed it and polished the jar rather quickly.
I preferred the Chocolate & Orange Tres Leches Cake. The orange and chocolate combination was just a classic, and you can definitely taste the richness and creaminess in the cake. DH thought the sponge cake could be soaked in the cream for even longer, and I too thought the sponge cake could use a bit more moisture.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I was very surprised that we were able to get a table for 6pm on a Sunday night for Dine Out. Not only that, we were also told that the seating time was 2.5 hours — for Dine Out, we usually get 1.5 hours or 2 hours if we’re lucky! That’s very generous of them! The restaurant was fully seated when we arrived, but we didn’t feel rushed whatsoever. Service was prompt, food arrived at the table at a proper pace; the service only started to suffer when the restaurant was in between two seating times and it actually became harder for us to flag down our server!
Here are a few more comments from the beer club members:
- Bryan: Om nom nom #hottake
- TB: Yummy!
- AA: I enjoyed the decor. Cozy/welcoming environment. Friendly and professional service. Just the right portion size. Delish flavour and texture combos made up for lack of fancy presentation. I was a bit disappointed with them not having ginger ale. But overall thumbs up experience!
Overall, we were very happy with the dinner. Great food, great company. Desserts weren’t too impressive, but the other two courses made up for it. A few of my colleagues couldn’t get in for Dine Out, but I think this place is totally worth going for regular menus. Now I want to go back to try its brunch menu.
The Oakwood Canadian Bistro
2741 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver