Saturday, March 7, 2015

Edible Canada Bistro a handy gluten-free choice

Edible Canada at the Market on Urbanspoon

Walked in for a Friday night 8 PM reservation and it was still busy! Things quieted down closer to 10 PM, but considering there's no shortage of restaurants on Granville Island, Edible Canada deserves a closer look no matter what their online ratings.
This said, because of their sheer busy-ness, if you intend to linger for dinner conversation I recommend a later seating, maybe 8pm when the dinner rush is basically over and people are on their way out. No shortage of tables after that--which means no anxiety on the part of servers to move you along and out the door.

The floor space is mostly restaurant and they do their best with decor, but the architecture doesn't really support that well. At the back is a small grocery store, and beyond that, the pleasantly clean washrooms.
Seating isn't too tight in the open and airy feeling dining area, but if your seat is against a wall, it could be a tad squashy. Also, the broad round base of the tables means you are liable to step on it, so watch out that you don't upset the whole table and tip a drink.

Menus change pretty much monthly, and farm-to-table means they are a bit restricted in what they can compose. Vegetarians should consult the online menu first and vegans could be basically out of luck. Coeliacs (gluten-intolerant), however, can have a great time there as very many items are gluten free.
Edible Canada is also apparently a place of fear and loathing for ducks this month as the menu seems to sport of a lot of duck fat frites.

Duck Fat Frites ($5 as side dish, but an equal portion is paired with many menu items)
  • For some reason, when I read "duck fat frites" on the menu, I thought they would be crispy sticks of thoroughly fried duck fat -- maybe like chicharrón (fried pork rinds), but tastier somehow. But nope, it's just french fries done in duck fat.
  • Really decent fries, very crispy on the outside. They do smell slightly different from fries done in "normal" oil (whatever that is). But they don't smell ducky or fatty.
  • If you are bored or just curious, save the "newspaper" that the frites come in. The articles on it may very well be real articles -- we didn't check all of them, but you can definitely find online the Cape George Fish Chowder recipe at Our Favourite Family Recipes.
    • See the bottom of this article for a copy of the "newspaper".
Nova Scotia Hodgepodge ($16) pearl onion, root vegetables, squash, truffled pomme frites
  • Their current Mealshare item -- through the Mealshare charity, Edible Canada will donate a meal for every Hodgepodge ordered.
  • The soup plate doesn't look very big but it's deep. Still, it's sort of a pricey stew for what you get.
  • Interesting sweetness to this stew that might be a bit too strange if you were hoping for good ol' comfort food stew.
  • Matchstick fries on top, supposedly truffled (and possibly hence the $$$) but it didn't do anything for me, certainly not to justify any extra $.
Chocolate Eggplant Brownie ($8) preserved fruit, hazelnut brittle
  • "Preserved fruit" turned out to be one drunken cherry.
  • Hazelnut brittle can escape you if you're not paying attention: Apparently it's the crushed bits. At least I *think* it's the crushed bits... That, or they forgot it.
  • Some sort of white cream on top so probably not vegan.
  • About two-thirds the size of a deck of cards -- meaning it is horrifically small for an $8 dessert.
  • Grainy feel in the mouth, which can come with the territory of a gluten-free baked item.
  • Good chocolatey flavour. Maybe not sweet enough if you are hoping for a more classic-tasting fudgy-style brownie.
Food is good but not really wow, and for that reason can add up to overpriced. Dinner was over $30, and that smallish brownie was really painful on the wallet.

Service was friendly and prompt, and they also did very well plating all our orders hot -- one of our party arrived a bit later, shortly after everyone ordered. Still, they brought all our dishes out at the same time not too long after.

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