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May 18, 2008 02:14 PM

Grub on Main Street, Vancouver

After our Splitz Burger fest on Saturday, we strolled up and down Main a bit to work off the calories. In the middle of the 4300 block (next to My Orange Bag) I spied a new restaurant called Grub. To the chagrin of my companions, I poked my nose in briefly and here's what I saw before I got dragged away: long, skinny but smallish room with modern, not-frou-frou decor. A chalkboard with the evening's specials. Funky Main Street denizens as clientele. Very cool reclaimed wide-board hardwood floor. My fleeting glimpse of the chalkboard said was West-Coast style cuisine, and the prices looked mid-range but I couldn't get any more than an impression, which was nonetheless enough to make me think I would like it. Googling/searching has come up dry. Anyone have any intel on this place?

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  1. There was a bit of talk on another local food forum - nothing substantial, though. Can Main St handle another mid-grade West Coast restaurant?

    7 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      I suppose if it's a good one :-). I'd be willing to give it a try based on the vibe and decor, which is saying a lot for me...

      1. re: grayelf

        My girlfriend and I just had some appetizers and drinks at Grub.

        Room: Love it. Very main street. 60's pleasantville kitchen looking. Really like it.

        Food: All as we had was the fish antipasti platter and drinks. The food, unfortunately, was "meh". It was well priced but it could just have been so much better. The cabbage was unnecessarily bitter, the squid ceviche was over marinated, the smoked salmon, while good, was just run of the mill.

        The drinks were alright, the beer list was a little more esoteric but the wine list is pretty regular.

        This place kind of reminds me of Habit, which is just south of here. Room is amazing and you want to love it, but the food is lacking. I will have to give it another try through.

        1. re: Cancuk

          Thanks for the report, Cancuk. I read a similar one on another site. That commenter also opined that it wasn't just opening wrinkles but rather a general problem with concept. Thoughts?

          1. re: grayelf

            Don't know if you've eaten at Grub since, but I checked it out this week. The food is reasonably priced (~$16 per entree), and the ingredients are of pretty decent quality, portion size is great, but the overall result is only ok. Our table ordered 3 appetizers - spread assortment (humous, olive tapenade, etc.), seafood antipasto, and a duck salad. The spreads were nothing special, the seafood antipasto was a little bit too fishy and everything tasted slightly pickled, and the salad dressing on the duck salad was way to sour. The duck breast was nicely grilled, though. For mains, we had duck confit with yam and potato mash (the confit was a great combination of crispy, savoury, yet tender), pork shoulder on a bed of stewed white beans and tomato (shoulder was braised to perfect tenderness, but under seasoned and the beans were inconsistently cooked), sockeye salmon with dill and chive crust, accompanied by mussels and rice (the dill/chive combo strangely didn't add any flavour to the dish) and a thin-crust pizza with sausage and rapini (good flavour, but the crust was disappointingly soggy). Service was a bit too laid back for my liking.

            I wanted to like Grub - it had all the makings of a good restaurant, but the overall result, like Cancuk said, was strangely... meh.

            Don't know if anyone else here has had a different experience? Debating whether to go back to give it a second try.

            1. re: im_hungry

              Thanks for the update, i_h. I'm not feelin' any love for Grub, at this point, with two reliable commentators giving it reluctant thumbs down. Perhaps the third time will be the charm, but I fear it won't be me at bat :-)

              1. re: grayelf

                Hey there,

                I've been there twice now and both times I had enough of an all around positive experience to have me come back and tell others they ought to try it, something which I don't do often.

                The decor and atmosphere is appealing and I can certainly see what she's going for (a modern kitschy 60s thang) but the ikea chairs are rather uncomfortable, and other Ikea furniture too conspicuous for my liking.

                The menu is a little small but both times I thought my meals (from the specials board) were executed just fine. I had the seared jalepeno-cilantro encrusted marlin/marinated bean salad and was super impressed with the SIZE of the portion. It was a huge piece of perfectly seared delicious fish. Anyway, there was I nice array of flavours that worked well together.

                The second time I had the pasta special. I don't recall what it was but it too was sufficiently good tasting and well presented for the price.

                Desserts are well finished classics, but nothing necessarily to write home about. I didn't like the fact they don't have anyway of making coffee/espresso yet. I thought that was particularly disturbing! Get a bodem or something! Nuts!

                Anyway, I think it's just meant to be a nice neighbourhood restaurant, and definitely a nice unpretentious alternative to places further down the street. It feels more welcoming/homey then similar competitors like Habit a ways done the street, and you certainly your money's worth of food.

                I went once with a strict vegan and they were very good to accomodate her with a grilled veggie pizza that was crispy and ACTUALLY flavourful, I think it was on pesto. I can't recall, I was busy concentrating on my hunk of fish.

                I felt satisfied leaving both times. Keep in mind it's 7 weeks old! You don't iron everything out within a few months (I own my own business and it does take time to figure out what your demographic is feeling), so I think I'll keep going as it's just down the street and beats getting Chinese take-away when I don't feel like cooking.

                As for drinks, I would agree the wine list could use some cleaning up, the beer list is decent but there's punch! Great for a group. I'm heading there on the 7th with 7 people. We'll see how that goes!

                If you're looking just to get out of the house and enjoy a fair priced meal with a couple drinks with the ol' ball n' chain or some pals I'd head here if you live realtively close. It's decent and you won't have to break out the credit cards to pay for it.

                1. re: eedwards

                  That was a really helpful report, eedwards -- and your point about it being early days yet is well taken. I think you're saying while it's not necessarily destination dining, it is aiming to fill a particular niche and hitting its mark, by and large. As I'm often in that area to eat, I will put it back on the list. Thank you.