Restaurant: The Hub Restaurant & Lounge – Review
Cuisine: American/Pub food
Last visited: December 1, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (Yaletown/Downtown)
Address: 1165 Mainland Street
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Pub/comfort food/classic American or UK dishes
- A couple classics w/twists
- Pub food served nicely on white plates
- Wine list/bar
- Attracts ages 30-45
- Focus on appies
- Brunch served on weekends until 2pm
- Old/classic rock music
- Good for sports fans/games
- Casual, but lively
- Happy/Appy hour 4-6pm $6
- Hearty food
- Hub prime rib special after 5pm Sunday and Monday 16.99 9oz
**Recommendation: Wok squid, Lobster Wings, Chocolate Chip Pazookie
The Hub is a new restaurant that just opened in Yaletown. It was previously Brown’s Social House and the owners are still the same however the restaurant is now new and independently owned. For me it was more restaurant/pub/sports bar than lounge. It attracts a 30-45 year old crowd and it’s one of those casual places where they serve traditional pub food on nice white square plates.
Located in Yaletown it faces lot of competition. So how does it compare?
Society – The Hub has same comfort food concept, but it’s less gourmet & trendy. Society is more lounge.
Glowbal – The Hub serves their version of Kobe meatballs, but I didn’t try them yet.
Yaletown Brewery – The Hub serves more traditional items (a couple globally inspired ones eg: Wok squid, Teriyaki rice bowl)…and it has the same sports bar atmosphere, but attracts an older crowd.
I came here on a night of an event – their grand opening, so under the circumstances I can’t comment on the service or overall food on a usual night. I personally experienced good service this night though. I sampled their signature dishes, so I will comment on those. That being said, I cannot speak for their overall food since I tried most of the favourites.
The Hub’s claim to fame or signature dishes include:
hubSNAX: wok squid, lobster wings, poutine, bruschetta
hubMAINS: crispy chicken club, beef dip, crab mac n’ cheese, red wine braised beef
hubSWEETS: The Pazookie
The photos are not representable of what they actually serve since everything I had was sample size…except for the Wok Squid, bruschetta and Pazookie.
On the table:
**Wok Squid – 4/6
- Tossed with garlic, chilies and ginger $10
- Basically calamari with an Asian spin. It tastes like deep fried squid you would get at a Chinese place, but made by white people. It’s still good though. The squid was lightly battered and tender, not tough.
- They use fresh ginger, red chilies, and green onions.
- It’s a little spicy and has a nice heat at the end which I like. (Spicier than lobster wings)
- It doesn’t say on the menu, but make sure you get it with their homemade sesame ginger dipping sauce. Great combo because the squid has heat and the dip cool s it down. The balance is great.
- It looked and tasted almost like tzatziki, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s probably made with either yogurt or sour cream. It tastes like sour cream mixed with sesame and ginger vinaigrette salad dressing. It was cool and tangy and the sesame and ginger taste came through.
**Lobster Wings – 5/6
- Crispy coating, sesame ginger dipping sauce $13
- Yes! A lobster wing! You can only imagine my excitement when I saw this. They serve 2 lobster tails split in half. So you get 4 “lobster wings in total”. That would be enough just for me. But I guess if you have to share…I would only share with one more person.
- It has a very light crispy coating or dusting, which is great because you don’t want to waste the natural flavour of the lobster by masking it with a thick batter. The batter is seasoned with salt and something else that carries a little heat…maybe paprika? (The wok squid is spicier)
- The menu says it comes with the sesame ginger dipping sauce, but they decided to go back to tradition and served it with clarified butter. I tried it with the sesame ginger dipping sauce and it was good, but to be honest I actually enjoyed these lobster wings plain. It didn’t need any dips. The batter was seasoned enough and the lobster meat was crunchy and tender…would hate to mask any of those flavours or textures.
- For $13 it is a pricier appy, but you have to somewhat expect it if you’re getting 2 lobster tails. Hmm I wonder if this is on their happy hour menu. Because that would be such a deal for $6! I think it is since the menu says ALL hubSNAX, but they probably give you less. I just don’t really how well this item will do since it is a bit “gourmet”. How many guys go watch the game thinking let’s order some lobster wings? I hope it stays…for selfish reasons.
**Bruschetta on Filone Bread – 2/6
- Tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, shaved Asiago $8
- This was really average for me. It can’t compete with Trattoria’s Bruschetta sampler, but that one is in a different league.I really like that one.
The tomatoes were a bit powdery in texture. I wonder if they used BC tomatoes rather than Roma. It was missing onions and seasonings. They drizzled balsamic glaze over top, but it was nothing I couldn’t put together at home. The Filone bread was nice and crunchy though.
Crispy Chicken Club – 2.5/6 (on left)
- Fresh Filone Bread, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pepper jack cheese $13
- The good: The chicken for sure! This was the crispiest chicken; I almost thought I was eating ground peanuts. Nothing soggy about this, it had almost a nutty flavour because it was so crispy and the chicken was still juicy.
- The bad: I didn’t like how thick the Filone bread was. It got overpowering and I couldn’t taste the other ingredients.
Beef Dip – 3/6 (on right)
- Fresh Filone Bread, prime rib, au jus $14
- Relatively thick slices of beef, not shavings. It’s prime rib so it worked. It was very buttery and juicy meat. The meat was actually kind of fatty so that’s probably why it was so juicy too. They used some grainy mustard instead of horseradish, and I think they could have used a bit more. I would have also like some caramelized onions.
- Unlike the chicken club, the Filone bread worked for the beef dip . Since you would dip it into the au jus, having a thick bread would allow it to easily absorb all those flavours.
Crab Mac & Cheese – 2.5/6
- Gruyere, Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, garlic bread $15
- You know I love mac & cheese, so I can get quite particular about it.
- The cheese sauce was creamier rather than stringy and I like it when it’s creamy AND stringy. You could taste the buttery Gruyere, but it wasn’t really cheesy in flavour. It actually had a little heat to it too. Most of the items had some degree of spiciness, which made the food more bold/pub-ish.
- There was crab throughout, but I didn’t really like the type of crab they were using, or maybe it was how it was used. It was so flaked I couldn’t tell if it was crab or unmelted grated white cheddar cheese. It was a bit dark too so I couldn’t see what I was eating. I didn’t know it was crab until I re-read the menu
- Rich demi-glaze, mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables $20
- I don’t even know how to rate this since it was only a sample…I would need to go back and re-order it to be fair. All the other I can an idea, but with a dish like this – a sample won’t do it. If I were to rate it as a sample I’d say 3.5
- The demi-glaze was reduced with a nice red wine and it tasted like a rich gourmet beef gravy. It was sweet and also savoury and goes great with the mash. They actually used the same demi-glaze as the gravy for their poutine.
- The beef was very lean and the cut was a brisket. It was tender, but not shred away with your fork tender. You still had to work at it a bit, but it was still good. Maybe they could marinade the meat longer to tenderize it…I bet they do slow cook it for a while so I don’t think that’s the part that needs attention. I think it would have been a 5/6 if they used the rib instead of brisket…but it would also be more expensive.
- The mash was a traditional creamy mash…it was actually very creamy and very smooth. There was nothing fancy about them, no chopped chives or roasted garlic, just a creamy smooth, very pureed mash. I liked it.
For my post on The Hub’s signature dessert: “The Pazookie”