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Feb 14, 2013 09:15 PM

Pidgin, Vancouver

Not sure if I love or hate the play on adjacent Pigeon Park. Lofty ideals, indeed, but how is the food? Anyone been?

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  1. Im not sure how eating foie gras rice bowls, and drinking $15 drinks while viewing the unfortunate residents of the DTES from the safety of a heated restaurant is helping the neighborhood. I'll save that discussion for elsewhere !

    The food looks great and thats the reality of the area.
    Here comes the condos !!

    2 Replies
    1. re: jmil

      I don't think we have a choice about discussing gentrification and food anymore. More of the eateries in the area are being protested against. However it's not just eateries, there are clothing boutiques, art galleries and other shops opening in the area that most DTES residents can not afford. The rents are cheap in the area and it's so close to the downtown core that its too appealing an opportunity for businesses to pass up.

      1. re: moyenchow

        I must say I don't walk around that area enough to notice regular changes (and the "G" word) but that night when I walked by Pidgin I couldn't help to feel like I was in Gastown when I was l within the marginalized locales of DTES (Hastings/Abbott/Carrall/Cordova) and felt a sense of displacement and dis-orientation.

    2. Just came back from din-din with the LR nest at Save-On-Meats. I walked by Pidgin, saw a small group of placard-holding folks standing outside their door, making an anti-gentrification rally.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        Hmm, not much on the interwebs as yet. There's a writeup by Canucklehead on Urban Diner from two days ago. I trust his taste.

        1. re: grayelf

          Some photos on VanFoodster plus a non-food post on Scout re: the protests.

      2. Ate here tonight, ordered 8 dishes so we got through quite a bit of the menu. In general the food was very modern and ambitious. Along with Diva I would say it's in a class of its own in Vancouver. However, unlike Diva not every dish delivered.

        Highlights were the Oyster shooter, Sea urchin, Mushrooms w/ egg, and pig ear salad (off menu special). Canucklehead's review nailed it and I'm still thinking about the Sea Urchin. It really was one of the best things I've ever eaten in Vancouver. A couple dishes, while inventive, didn't quite stand up to the highlights. The Shrimp, citrus and celery needed a bit more acid, the potatoes with spicy cod roe was overwhelmed by the seaweed butter and was a bit too rich for me, and the beef cheeks were slightly under seasoned. The misses were the calamari yakiudon and the scallops w/ fried polenta.

        I think there are going to be some polarized reviews of this place. The group next to us commented, "Now let's go eat", and clearly didn't enjoy the food. It's not cheap (our bill was $135+tip for 2), the portions are small, and many of the dishes are unfamiliar flavour combinations. If "unfamiliar flavour combinations" excites you, then I think you will at best love it or at worst appreciate that a skilled kitchen staff is doing it's best to prepare unique dishes and going against the norm.

        Highly recommended.

        3 Replies
        1. re: zduerr

          Now that's what I call fresh intel! Thanks, zduerr, for taking the time to give us your impressions, and for confirming the uni dish as stellar. I do loves me some pig ear so let's hope that's around when I go.

          I heard off-board that the pork belly is to be avoided, which is sad. I also saw it categorized as Korean somewhere which surprised me. Did you detect any Korean influence?

          1. re: grayelf

            The pig ear salad was great. They used just radicchio and the dressing had a hint of a kimchi spiciness to it. The slivers of pig ear were mostly gelatinous, except they threw in a couple crispy, salty, porky, fried ones. In all it reminded me of fresh kimchi w/ pork cracklings. Yum.

            Korean and Japanese ingredients are used but the techniques are mostly French and Modernist. Nothing I ate reminded me of traditional Korean or Japanese fare.

            1. re: zduerr

              What was the sea urchin like? As a sea urchin fanatic I'm always looking for original ways to eat it. Plentiful urchin or a single chunk?

        2. I went last Friday night. I really, really wanted to like Pidgin but nothing wowed me. Maybe it's not fair of me to have such high expectations, but I wanted it to be "modern" for Japanese/Korean the same way Bao Bei is for Chinese, Vijs is for Indian, Maenam for Thai, etc. Instead, I was bored with the dishes, nothing really stood out and some of it just seemed sloppy and lacking execution.

          I didn't, however, have the uni dish so I may have made a mistake there.

          If there are a ton of positive reviews, I'd go back and try again but until then, not worth it to me. Our bill was $175+ tip for two but we were drinking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cancuk

            Good to see you around these parts again, cancuk, and thanks for the additional feedback. I'm not much of an early adopter so I'll wait a bit and then go.

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