When Mr. and I planned a dinner out with my colleague SM and fiance CD, we were looking at a number of restaurants in Gastown. In the end, we decided on Wildebeest because its menu was quite intriguing.
Intriguing, how? There’s a lot of game meat on the menu. And we ordered a lot of them.
I don’t think I’ve seen duck hearts on a menu before. These Popcorn Duck Hearts were addictive – they’re crispy outside, meaty inside. Slightly bigger than chicken hearts, and not gamey (to me). The batter was thin, and it wasn’t greasy. The yogurt sauce was like a dipping sauce, bringing freshness and creaminess to the dish. You really could keep popping them in your mouth like popcorn.
This Bison Carpaccio looks like a typical carpaccio, except with the use of bison instead of beef. The bison was lightly seared on the outside so it’s practically rare. Even though it’s leaner, it’s still tender, buttery. The sorghum “popcorn” added some crunch. The highlight of the dish was the sous vide egg yolk.
The consistency is thicker, making it a natural sauce for the meat. Love the creamy richness – all egg yolks should be cooked sous vide!
Sweetbreads are always a curious item. If you really try to figure out what sweetbreads are, you probably wouldn’t want to eat them. But if you don’t think much of them, they are actually quite good. Creamy, rich, luscious. The Roasted Sweetbreads here were fantastic! One of the best I’ve had. I like that the pickled grapes brought some acidity to balance out the dish.
I’m usually excited about having foie gras, but to be honest, the Foie Gras Torchon was the most boring dish of the evening. It was well done – nice portion of foie on brioche toast point, paired with sweet berry sauce. The pairing worked very well. There’s just no surprise in flavours or texture.
We often see beef short rib on the menu, but not pork short rib. Until now. This Slow Cooked Pork Short Rib fell right off the bone. It’s fattier than beef short rib so the meat was softer and juicier. The little cornbread pudding cubes added crunch; fig brought sweetness; and the spiced pumpkin just rounded out everything. It was a good portion size too.
Lastly, some perfectly Seared Elk Loin. Because elk is leaner than beef, you can’t overcook it otherwise it would get tough. This was cooked to medium rare – but don’t be alarmed by the redness. It was tender and flavourful. Gamey? Perhaps, but I didn’t mind it at all. I quite enjoyed the smoked potatoes and shredded, slightly bitter brussel sprouts. Great combination of flavours in this dish.
Sharing is Caring
The menu at Wildebeest is designed for sharing. The “Smaller” plates are appetizer size, and the “Larger” plates are similar to entree. But then, the way how they put each plate together, it just makes sense to share everything vs. enjoying the whole dish by yourself. And this allows us to try more things in one seating too. I was honestly very impressed that SM and Chris were open to trying all the game meat. We’re Chinese so we eat everything, but not many Caucasians are adventurous eaters. They are big on texture and flavours, so not many of them would try the dishes that we ordered here at Wildebeest.
Thinking back, we ordered only meat dishes. As a meat lover, I was so proud but I’m sure my dining companions were missing some veggies. All dishes were thoughtfully prepared and they all tasted great. Wildebeest changes its menu from time to time so I would definitely go back to try a new menu. I’ve also been there for brunch and I would suggest getting the Marrow & Eggs (yes, scrambled eggs with roasted bone marrow!); and their Eggs Benedict had the perfect poached eggs. Kudos to SM and CD for joining our meat game over some game meat.
120 West Hastings Street, Vancouver