Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > B.C. (inc. Vancouver) >
Jul 8, 2011 10:52 PM

Edible Canada at Granville Island plus other savoury snacks

Today was what I call a great west coast day. Food cart for lunch, Santouka for super early dinner, snack at brand new bistro. Oh and Stanley Park and Granville Island in between.

On the way to the 125th party at Brockton Oval, I decided to hit La Brasserie Street for a chicken sandwich. Very quick service and a reasonable price of $7 ($6.25 plus the dreaded HST) got me a substantial if not huge sarnie. Cold bun (pet peeve) was good quality and contained a decent amount of chicken, some fairly bland and white gravy and a whack of deep fried onion shreds. I added some dijon which gave a little zip, but overall this struck me as an underseasoned sandwich without much contrast. The onions are too small to give real crunch once they hit the gravy, and there isn't any raw veg in there. The chicken tasted a bit odd as well, though that may have been an effect of the beer brining. I didn't finish it and would likely not bother with this one again. No pix because it was too windy.

Noticed that Arturo's and the dimsum street cart were both at Brockton oval but didn't need more sustenance. There was also a catering company doing what appeared to be "native" dishes but their signage was flying around in the wind so much it was hard to tell. BTW if you go on the weekend, do not try to take the free shuttle, just grab the 19 on Pender and walk a few blocks. Total chaos with that shuttle today...

Back to the food: left the park at 5:15 and realized the 19 stops just three blocks from Santouka :-). I still hadn't tried the toroniku and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so without paying for parking or waiting for a table. I got the toroniku kara miso spicy ramen ($13.45). Well boy howdy that is some phenomenal pork. I love the flesh of the pig and eat it often and prepared many ways. This is vying for top spot in my personal hog hall of fame. It has the perfect amount of fat which is so rich and soft that it doesn't seem offputting to eat it (yes, I still get freaked out by eating fat on meat sometimes). Their website compares it to toro or fatty tuna and it is somewhat apt. The flavour was so deep and well, porky. I absolutely recommend you try this as soon as possible. But remember that it does tend to sell out early to avoid disappointment :-). The ramen was very good also, done on the firm side as requested, with bamboo shoot and jelly ear to add on the side but the pork was the star of the show. Lousy photos below.

Meandered up Robson and found myself eying the Kaboom Box menu which looked intriguing but there was no belly space yet. Next time (BTW they were sold out of fish and chips when I went by at 6:15 ish). Grabbed a 50 over the bridge and headed for Granville Island, as it was still too nice out to go home. The SO joined me and we discovered that the bistro at the brand new Edible Canada was also open -- first day, as it happens. I'm not much of an early adopter but the patio looked too inviting, so we set a spell and ordered a few snacks. The SO went for Albacore tuna with yuzu marinated watermelon and other greens, which he pronounced a success (I didn't try as I don't love cooked tuna) and a farmer's salad, which we both thought was a little busy and he found a touch overdressed though I didn't find that. It comes with greens, french beans, tomatoes, carrots, daikon, apples, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and quinoa. The daikon was a bit of head scratcher, served in cubes that tasted of not much. The best item by miles was the fries, cooked in duck fat and served with a serviceable bacon aioli and a very strange tomato "catsup" that to me tasted like pureed canned tomatoes. Who cares about the dips, though, when you are ingesting chips of perfect BC spuds, fried to a turn in rendered duck oil (a hint of smokiness) and sprinkled with just the right amount of crunchy salt. At $4, these are an ideal savoury treat and yes they are available from the handy takeaway window. I see many orders of these leaving with me for a stroll around the market this summer.

The dinner menu is currently available 5-9 daily (the store is only open till 7 pm and appears to have all the inventory from the old location, including my beloved almond brittle), no resos, lots of tables in and out and a cooking demo area that can be used for guest seating as well. Six mains for now, though one staffer said they are going to add more. I hope they don't give in to the temptation to appeal to too broad an audience and add tons of items. Entrees are from $18-25.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thanks grayself.

    re: Santouka, I am exactly like you re: fat on meat, but the bowl of toroniku ramen I had there is one of the single best things I've eaten in my entire life. Seriously. And I kind of get around.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JEheartbreak

      Ha, validated :-). It's the one time in my life I wished I tweeted -- I wanted to send out something like: "Why are you still at home and not down here lining up for toroniku?"

      BTW I forgot to mention that Edible Canada appears to have quite a respectable list of wines, and some decent brews on tap. SO had a half pint of something tasty from Howe Sound.

      1. re: grayelf

        grayelf - I couldn't get the ramen off my mind, so went the following day on Saturday again. my god it's good. :)

        1. re: JEheartbreak

          Glad you enjoyed. Did you have the toroniku too?

          1. re: grayelf

            I did -- with the shoyu (with soy sauce) broth. Now I want it again!

            1. re: JEheartbreak

              Like JE, this chat brought me to the place the past weekend (tonkotsu) and will be in that area again today. Thinking about the toroniku.

    2. Wow great report! Last time I was there, Edible Canada was just Edible BC. Apparently, local food movement notwithstanding, they've decided not to limit themselves to one province. I'll bet the Seal Flipper Pie will be a big hit in the cafe.

      Those duck-fat fries do look tasty, though.

      1. We went to the new Edible Canada restaurant for dinner that recently opened its doors just outside of Granville Island Public Market. (Since when did Edible Vancouver change to Edible Canada?) The meal: My sablefish was definitely starting to go off, it smelled and tasted very "fishy". The vegetables serves with it looked dehydrated. The beet salad was was swimming in oil and salt. The portions were TINY. The staff were young and inexperienced. There is nothing more annoying than a West Coast restaurant trying too hard. Trying to be "fine dining" just didn't work for us. There was bird poop on the tables and chairs, the mushroom heaters outside were empty of propane, there are only 6 entrees on the menu and a handful of appetizers and the servers were completley unfamiliar with the menu....who is running this place? Good luck charging $20-25 per entree. I honestly would have had a more satisfying meal at Cactus Club. Oh yeah, and we paid $3 for a bread basket of bread that was supposedly "amazing". We got three toasted thin slices of baguette with a few dribblings of dipping sauce. Who in their right mind TOASTS skinny baguette slices unless you're serving crostini? Very disappointing. I hope Mia Stainsby gives this restaurant a big thumbs down too. The only thing we liked was the bottled sparkling water.

        7 Replies
        1. re: maria9527

          Whew! Killer first post Maria...I had dinner there on Sunday night but like Greyelf I'm not too keen on early critiques. They have been open literally for a couple of days and a concept with this much potential needs to be given the chance to work out the kinks. Having said that I need to give my feedback as a counterpoint to Maria's.

          I had actually planned to pop into G.I.for a piece of Sockeye for dinner but when I walked by Edible Canada at The Market (heretofore known as ECAtM) I had to give it a try. It was a beautiful evening, the terrace was half full and still had some sun on it. I dropped my dinner plans and grabbed a table and a glass of Joie Rose while I looked at the menu.

          The menu was short but touched lots of bases and took me a few minutes to choose. I ended up with the Spring Salmon salad with mustard greens and the Steak Frites that I thought was a boring choice but when I saw the Duck fat fries I was sold.

          The Spring Salmon salad to be honest was nice enough but certainly not exciting or overly memorable. It was nicely presented and was a combination of what looked to be roasted salmon combined with a touch of smoked salmon in a nicely seasoned but simple dressing. I would have preferred slices of Spring Salmon flash sauteed and combined with the greens. For $12.50 it was a bit on the high side.
          My main course was outstanding. The cut was Flank Steak ($20.) and it was cooked perfectly, MR on the rare side and served with the Duck fat fried potatoes which were topped with bacon salt and a bacon aioli on the side (be still my beating heart!). There was also a housemade Serrano ketchup that was really unnecessary as it didn't have any Serrano heat and tasted of canned tomatoes. In any case all that was needed were the excellent frites and the Tiger Blue compound butter on the steak!
          I was told afterward that the Flank Steak is cooked sous vide which would help with the tourist crowd that wants a well-done steak.

          The dessert list was really short with one main item and a selection of ice creams and sorbets (one of the ice creams was made with the famous brittle mentioned above). I opted for the "real" dessert which was a crispy pastry crust filled with a soft lemon curd and topped with lightly cooked B.C. cherries along with a side of lemon thyme sorbet. It was very tasty.The dessert menu, I'm sure, will be longer and more interesing as they get up to speed.

          This is a really ambitious project with breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch all up and running as of today I believe. My server took pains to mention that they are opening quietly in order to work out the kinks and I had no problem with the small gaps in her knowledge as they get up to speed.

          The beverage list is a lot of fun with many great B.C. wines by the bottle and the glass as well as Driftwood Brewery being the main selection on tap (thank the stars that it wasn't Granville Island Brewery!). All the liquor choices are Canadian with 4 different B.C. made gins, 3 B.C. made Vodkas and Whisky from across Canada.

          The lunch menu has some simpler options with oyster burgers and fish and chips etc. which are all up for take out.
          The tables were all clean on the patio despite the starlings hopping in and out. They even have a cute sign that says "please don't feed the birds or they will poop on you!".

          It's rare enough to find a concept that is tourist friendly in a touristy spot that can appeal to locals but if they play their card right ECAtM just might pull this off. Good luck to them as G.I. is in need of a kick in the ass to try and get it's Mojo back!

          1. re: maria9527

            Edible Canada (formerly Edible British Columbia) is an entirely separate business from Edible Vancouver. Whilst both support, promote and educate the public about the locavore movement and culinary artisans and their products, they are independent owned and not related in any way. Edible Vancouver is a member of the Edible Communities Inc, an international publications group, where Edible Canada is a privately held business.

            1. re: maria9527

              Thanks, Aussiewonder, for explaining to maria9527 that we and Edible BC/Canada are not related. The only thing that we would add is that Edible Vancouver magazine is also a privately held company. We are Canadian owned and operated (Vancouver is our home) and proud to be a member of Edible Communities, a family of almost 70 independent publications across Canada & the US, that tell the story of local food and the people behind it.
              Eric Pateman at Edible BC/Edible Canada does a great job of raising the profile of BC/Canadian food and promoting culinary tourism. We are sure if there are any kinks at Edible Canada at the Market he will have them ironed out very soon and we look forward to checking it out.

              1. re: EdibleVancouver

                The point is that the restaurant, whatever it's called, under delivered beyond anything we could have expected. Work out the kinks? You have to be ready to make a great first impression opening week/month!...Starting with the kitchen chef and his/her team. Not having trained servers isn't the end of the world, but the food better be good and it most definitely was not. There are no excuses for that.

              2. re: maria9527

                So Mia Stainsby has reviewed it and she seems to be relatively satisfied. Not a full two thumbs up but overall pretty positive. I've been for breakfast once and thought it was ok. I wouldn't rush to go back bit I wouldn't steer people away either.

                Here's Stainsby's review:

                1. re: Anne M

                  I've been back once more in the evening and tried the oyster app (ok but nothing to write home about) and the tuna app. It was moist enough and a big improvement over the oysters.
                  The fries were good as usual but like Mia said too many runty little bits - next time I'll make sure to ask for the top of the pile.
                  The steak frites is still a winner though and they've adjusted the home made ketchup to taste less canny.

                  On a side note: If they want a lesson in how to make a salmon salad they should check out the Steelhead and warm potato salad at L'Abattoir. It's absolutely delicious and full of contrasting textures and flavours!

                  1. re: eatrustic

                    Maybe lunch is the way to go, at least till the kitchen gets a bit more of a handle on the dinner menu. I rather like the sound of that burger, wonder if you can get it cooked to order....

                    My second try of the fries was less successful than the first (runts, I'm looking at you) but still very good.

              3. Yes, the duck fries are delicious. They accompanied an excellent pork sandwich. Great place for lunch!