Friday, July 8, 2011

The Kaboom Box - Eat it right there


The Kaboom Box on Urbanspoon

I went downtown on Wednesday to meet a friend with a $20 Groupon (which cost her $10) for The Kaboom Box (at Robson and Granville). It was going to expire in the same week, so time was of the essence.
She'd had their smoked-right-there "World Famous Hot Smoked Salmon 'Salmwich'" before and was impressed, so I aimed to try it. She opted for their Gulf Island Fried Oyster Po'Boy.

We  walked from the stand at Robson and Granville to the very quiet park in sort-of-nearby Cathedral Place (925 West Georgia) to have our late lunch and catch-up chat. That, I think, might have been the biggest mistake.


At $7.14 (basically $8 after 12% HST), the salmon sandwich might look a bit small, but price-wise it is actually quite alright if you compare it to, say, Vera's Burger Shack (Granville store online menu). The very red slab of salmon is big enough to peek out from under the about average sized bun, and sits on coleslaw.
The online description reads, "Hot smoked on the cart, our salmon is local, wild caught, Oceanwise Certified, and some of the best fish available in Vancouver. The salmon is smoked fresh and served on a toasted whole wheat bun with a touch of spicy mayo and our house-made maple-mustard slaw. Taste it and you'll see what all the buzz is about!"
I went in without reading this first, and maybe because I wasn't watching for it, I missed any kick from spicy mayo, nor any sweetness or tang from maple-mustard. Although the salmon seemed nicely smoked (almost break-apart tender, and still moist), what dominated the flavour was that fishiness that comes with salmon. You don't always get it (or get it very strongly) depending on how it's prepared, but it came through very clearly in the burger I had. If you don't like this aspect of salmon much, you might want to give the salmon salmwich a pass.
Also, in discussing it later, we agreed that the coleslaw could have been maybe colder and crisper. But in hindsight, the walk over to Cathedral Place might have killed it as all that time, the it would have been sitting under the hot, grilled salmon fillet.

My friend's oyster burger (also $7.14; and it's not a "real" po'boy by strict definition) turned out to be a fluke disaster. It had weird bitter and sea-like taste that totally turned her off, and when we did an autopsy with a plastic fork, we found chunks of dark green-grey matter which, truth be told, looked like the sort of poop you might find in prawn "veins" (i.e., prawn intestines).
However, as filter feeders, oysters don't really retain any poop. It was more likely some remnant of the algae that is fed to oysters in some oyster farms. When oysters are sold shucked, after taking them out of the shell they are washed in part to to loosen and remove stuff like that. So, it's probably just bad luck that the oyster she had retained some of that residue.
At the time, we were all confused, and I think the folks at The Kaboom Box were mystified by it as well. In any case, they advised her to chuck it and kindly offered her a replacement; she opted for a salmon salmwich.

Overall, this first impression of The Kaboom Box didn't wow me, but it's okay for its price. Your experience may be better if you eat it right there right away, though. And if you get the oyster po'boy, that's definitely advised as you can immediately exchange it if you get an unlucky oyster.

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