Falconetti’s East Side Grill (Best sausages in Vancouver?)

Restaurant: Falconetti’s East Side Grill
Cuisine: Hot Dogs/American/Fusion/Pub Food/International
Last visited: March 4, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Commercial Drive/Grandview)
Address: 1812 Commercial Drive
Price Range: $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5 (based on what I tried)
4.5, for just the sausage itself
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 2
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Locally owned
  • Italian & Polish owners
  • Bar/pub
  • Known for house made sausages
  • Popular for hot dogs
  • Home made sauces
  • International/Fusion pub food
  • Very casual
  • Cheap eats/budget friendly
  • Popular for drinks/beer
  • Nightly live music 9pm and on
  • Lat night hot spot
  • Energetic/loud
  • Open late
  • Brunch/Lunch/Dinner

**Recommendations: Polish Sausage, Hot Italian, Quesadilla with Hot Italian Sausage

My Friday night ended with me tweeting: So full of sausages and it hurts… thanks to Falconetti’s I was stuffed from 6 sausages and a couple stains to help me remember the night. Think foodie mind, not dirty mind! Falconetti’s is a restaurant, not a person, actually it could be named after a person… in which case my first sentence could stir up a lot of rumours!

Falconetti’s is a locally owned pub and restaurant opened by two best friends, one Italian and the other Polish, and I tried both their sausages. Okay I really gotta stop… actually no, you gotta stop! But I really did try their sausages, in the most literal sense of that sentence!

I have to say that I’m really not the demographic for this place. It attracts people my age 20-30 and it’s really lively, fun and energetic, but I felt like the old broad in the corner drinking hot water and lemon. Okay let me rephrase, I was the old broad in the corner sipping my hot water and lemon. The only redeeming factor I had from this crowd would be the fact that I had a table with 6 sausages in front of me. That’s right! I may be the only one thinking it was too loud, and not drinking beer, but I can sure handle my sausages damnit! It’s definitely a joint where people come for a casual beer and some affordable food, but it’s really not a place I would come to on my own.

So, what the hell brought me here then!? Like I said, the sausages! It may not attract a “girly girl”, or it might… but it sure can attract a foodie.

Falconetti’s East Side Grill is notorious for their artisan sausages which are made in house, with natural casings, and no preservatives or fillers. When you bite into these meaty sausages you just know you’re getting a quality product. They don’t have snappy skins and they’re all coarsely ground tender meats and each one has a different seasoning. It’s moist without being greasy and oily, and they’re excellent sausages made with house blend seasonings and spices. So I was actually more excited to see the sausages than they were to see me 😉 (Side note, to see a very greasy sausage, but very delicious for different reasons, see my post for Smitty’s Market here)

I came specifically to tackle these sausages with another sausage… errr I mean friend by my side. Say hello to Sherman! We, or I, encouraged this sausage feast, not fest, and he took the awesome photos to prove it. To be honest I was only keen on trying the sausages since I heard from others that it was the only “rise” in the menu. Overall the sausages themselves were quite stellar and delicious, but in the context of eating them as hot dogs, I definitely had my favourites.

The menu is basically pub food with some Americanized Mexican and Asian offerings, but all the sauces are home made and it’s all very affordable. A couple other dishes I saw looked pretty impressive for this somewhat divey looking bar, so I’ll admit I am curious to see what else Falconetti’s can do.

We came to do some serious sausage research and the meal was partially comped. It’s a dead giveaway with Sherman‘s flash as well, which pretty much acted as the spotlight for the live entertainment. Oops! Anyways, honesty is my policy and I’ll base my experience as a paying customer as always.

On the table:

**Hot Italian 4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)

  • Topped with parmesan, tomatoes, onions and house sauce $7.50
  • And a HOT Italian sausage it was! I mean hot like the Paris Hilton way, not really the spicy way, although it did carry some flavourful heat.
  • The bread and meat ratio was right on for all the hot dogs. The bread was a soft and fluffy Portuguese bun, except it didn’t have a crunch or very grilled or baked exterior.
  • The hot dog reminded me of Mexican nachos or tacos in a hot dog form, especially with the raw onions and fresh tomatoes.
  • The sausage was savoury, smoky and slightly sweet and the pork was meaty, fresh, moist, but not bursting with juice, nor grease for that matter.
  • It had a natural sweetness in the beginning with a slight heat to follow, but everything was well balanced.
  • It didn’t have a snappy skin, but I think the pork was coarsely grounded pork shoulder, with some tender non chewy or gelatinous pork fat mixed in. It gave it such a tender yet firm chew, rather than a crumbly one.
  • The house sauce is a mayo that tastes yogurt based with maybe some cheddar cheese or cream cheese melted into it. It was creamy and cheesy, but it still had a slight tang and spicy heat to it.
  • I wish the Parmesan was a better quality, or more aged, because it tasted more like a Parmesan blend.  It wasn’t nutty or salty, but mild with a Mozzarella, or even White Cheddar cheese flavour.
  • Overall the ingredients didn’t overpower the Italian sausage, but I think it tasted more Mexican than Italian. I wouldn’t have minded if it had more garlic in it too.

**Polish 5.5/6 (Excellent!)

  • Beef sirloin with sauteed sauerkraut, onions & grain mustard $7.99
  • This was my favourite sausage of the night! It was the most memorable and unique.
  • I enjoyed many sausages in Poland and I was really looking forward to this one. I was actually really surprised the Polish sausage was made out of beef, but a nice touch it was!
  • The beef sausage was naturally a bit juicier and it was delicious! It had the meatiest chew and texture, and the casing isn’t snappy.
  • It is a tangy hot dog with just the right amount of mustard to bring out the smokiness, with a slight heat to follow. There may have been some house made honey mustard mixed into it because I tasted a bit of sweetness. It had a nice savoury flavour that was different from all the others.
  • The sirloin was quite lean, tender and it was roughly ground again, but meaty, chunky and fresh with actual chunks of sirloin.
  • It had some whole grain mustard mixed right into it, giving it an extra burst of mustard flavour and mild heat.
  • The sauerkraut wasn’t too pickled, but it did add a nice texture and background tang, however the grainy mustard was also noticeable tangy already.
  • It was the European version of hot dogs with onions and mustard, and it just brought it to a whole new level.

Honey Bratwurst 2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Old world flavor, dressed with our honey mustard, and caramelized onions $7.50
  • The sausage was pretty good, but for some reason it was slightly drier and tougher than all the other sausages… coincidence that it was the German sausage… lol j/k!
  • The sausage was still coarsely grounded and very meaty with a nice balance of pork shoulder and tender fat with no snappy skin.
  • I had many brats in Germany as well, made with pork and veal, so I’m super spoiled in that sense. This one was just made from pork, which for $7.50 is fine, however I found it lacked ingredients. The honey mustard and sweet onions didn’t do enough to really justify its value.
  • This sausage was sweeter with perhaps some honey mustard mixed into it, but I prefer a bratwurst that is more heavily spiced. I think a heavily spiced bratwurst would be a nice contrast to the already sweet honey mustard and onions too.
  • For me a classic pairing with bratwurst is a grainy mustard, so I was hoping for a honey mustard made with a whole grain mustard, or at least a stronger mustard flavour in general. It was made in house and it was sweet with a slight tang, but not that stand out for me.
  • The onions were sweet, but the downtown hot dog vendors have it pretty nailed when it comes to caramelizing onions anyways.
  • Alone the sauce was actually quite sweet, but eaten together with the bread and meat it kind of fell in the background and wasn’t that obvious.

Chaurice 1.5/6 (Poor-Okay)

  • Cajun style chorizo with diced tomatoes, red onion, house & hot sauce $7.50
  • This was my least favourite of the night. It just reminded me of a concession stand hot dog from a baseball stadium that was really hot rather than flavourful spicy.
  • It was pretty damn spicy, and I love spicy, but I couldn’t taste anything for a while afterward.
  • It had this house sauce that ended up tasting like Queso nacho cheese sauce especially with all the other ingredients. It was the same sauce on the Hot Italian, but it worked so much better in that one. Even the toppings were similar, but this one wasn’t as well balanced, but it too reminded me of very spicy nachos.
  • It’s not a smoked chorizo sausage, and it’s made with heavily seasoned pork, but it was to the degree of very hot, and not flavourful anymore. It doesn’t have a chewy, dry or cured quality because it’s not a typical chorizo.
  • The sausage must have been seasoned with hot chili powder and there was too much cayenne pepper going on. It was beyond Cajun, and more Creole, but just really spicy with a heat that lingers for a while.
  • The hot sauce wasn’t a flavourful hot sauce either. It was overwhelming and it was being hit with hotness twice. I found the sauce ended up enhancing the cayenne pepper in the sausage and it almost tasted bitter from the double hit of heat.

Chicken Thai 3/6 (Good)

  • Coconut, curry, lime & ginger, with asian veggies, sesame oil & hoisin $7.75
  • It was not bad, but I wouldn’t care to order it again, maybe because I’m Asian, so it wasn’t anything I’ve never tried.
  • It reminded me of a lettuce wrap meets hot dog and that’s pretty much what it was.
  • It’s tastes more Chinese than Thai and I would actually prefer a Japadog in this case, although the sausages here are better.
  • I could taste the sweet hoisin meets teriyaki sauce in the vegetables, and the meaty sausage was seasoned with coconut milk and curry powder, so it was quite sweet, but the curry did come through. The play on the coconut sweetness and hoisin-terriyaki sweetness was quite nice, but the outcome was less exotic tasting than the description.
  • The sausage again was well flavoured, coarsely ground, meaty, and fresh, without a snappy skin, but it wasn’t particularly special on its own. This one was chicken and it didn’t have as much meaty or savoury flavour as the others, so the flavour was a bit replaced with the coconut curry marinade instead.
  • I couldn’t taste any lime and there was some ginger in the background, but it’s not really spicy. I think these flavours came in the form of a vinaigrette mixed with the Hoisin sauce used in the vegetable sautee.
  • The veggie slaw was carrots, cabbage, sweet bell peppers and celery and that part reminded me of a Chinese lettuce wrap.

**Quesadilla5.5/6 (Excellent!)

  • Grill toasted traditionally with our Chaurice sausage, 2 cheeses and salsa. $11.99 Not feeling spicy? No problem, choose any other sausage at no additional cost. Substitute chicken $2  Add Sour Cream or House sauce. $1.50
  • I tried it with the Polish sausage, but I think it would be better with the Hot Italian sausage. The mustard seed in the Polish sausage just got overpowered and it tasted regular.
  • It’s a very American style quesadilla and it’s freaking delicious! This is something I would nominate to be featured on Food Network’s Triple D!
  • It was almost like a pizza pocket meet quesadilla, without the tomato sauce, and I would have totally overlooked it until it was highly recommended by the manager. I definitely did not expect what I got!
  • It was baked and then pan fried before serving so it had a nice crispy crunch and it was loaded with ingredients. It was definitely a hefty and hearty quesadilla.

  • It was greasy, flavourful, delicious and bursting with loads of ooey gooey cheese, caramelized sweet onions and bell peppers and some fresh tomatoes on top.
  • The sausage was diced up and it no longer became the highlight when used in a quesadilla, but it was still good nonetheless. However the meaty bite of the sausages are something not to be missed, so you have to try them whole, in hot dog form as well.
  • As greasy as it was, it was still made with fresh ingredients and it was served with this wicked house made freshly pureed green tomatillo sauce. It was so refreshing, slightly tangy and sweet and it cut through the grease of the melted Cheddar and Mozarella cheese. This was some serious quesadilla worth trying!

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Falconetti's East Side Grill on Urbanspoon

14 Comments

  • Bow says:

    Mebbe next time eat 1 or 2 with the buns and taste the rest as a mains(without bread and with a knife and fork)…you’ll get the taste without being so full. Of course you could always share…Not a fan of brats, but surprised that the chaurice wasn’t great. Love sausages; h0w did those compare to the sausage ring at that Texas BBQ ?

  • KimHo says:

    Oh, boy, you are hanging with Sherman a bit too long. Even his jokes are starting to stick on you (not sure whether pun is intended here! 😛 ).

    The menu reminds me of Rosamunde Sausage Grill in San Francisco (my post here). It can work both ways; if you are looking just for some food while having drinks or enjoying the music, it will work great. However, if solely for the food, one can get pickier (smaller things get more noticeable) and things like price suddenly becomes an issue. I will have to drop by one of these days and give them a try.

  • Linda says:

    mmmmm i love hotdogs! haha no wonder yours and sherman’s twitter accounts were all about dogs on friday haha

    i wish the hot italian had melted parmasen cheese – maybe that would’ve helped the flavor of it too.. but the fact that you commented that this sorta reminded you of mexican nachos gives this dog a definite try!

    aww too bad the bratwurst didnt get that great of a rating, i LOVE bratwurst – i had some of the best this year during the german christmas market – i will need to try this one just to see if our tastes match 🙂

    haha when i first saw the image of the chicken thai dog, i thought the veggies on top of the dog were noodles – just like the japadog ones lol

    mm besides the dogs and the quesadilla, did you get to try anything else worthy on the menu?

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – you are so smart!!!! You remembered!!! I kept wanting to track back to that post and couldn’t find an appropriate spot for it!! But yes I enjoyed both sausages, but the one from Texas was almost a different category. The ones here were very healthy compared to the Texas one which was bursting with pork fat, juice, and oil… these ones weren’t juicy or oily… so I liked them for different reasons. It was almost like for juicy sausages the Texas ring.. and for leaner yet still very flavourful I’d go for these ones!

    @KimHo – lol too easy to make jokes with this topic! Yup, you make a point… if I’m not paying for the atmosphere it’s solely for the food.

    @Linda – I mean the sausage bratwurst was good, but in the context of the hot dog… and trying so many others that night… it ended up not being as good you know? But give it a try and let me know your thoughts! It’s still worth it if you like bratwurst I think.

    Actually no, that’s what I had to explain in my intro as well… that I didn’t get to try the rest of the menu, but I did see other stuff come out and it did look very tasty. Therefore I’m biased, but I am curious to try other things to get a better idea 🙂

    Thanks for your great comments Linda!

  • arnold says:

    Hey MJ! I always love reading your reviews. Thank you for being entertaining and thorough with your reviews. But you do make me miss home and all the good food that Vancouver has to offer. I don’t have much selection (that i know of) here in Prince George. I guess I have to explore a bit! Anyways talk to you soon my friend!

    A

  • Mijune says:

    @arnold – Hi Arnie!!! Aw thanks for reading!! It’s a long read, so I’m glad you find them entertaining enough! Yowza… hmmm PG might have better exotic meats than us? Like bison? Or maybe more diner like places? Can’t say it’s on my priority list of places to explore for good eats though lol

  • Miss Jane says:

    Oh can’t wait to go and try it! Looks better than Japa dogs. The bun on the Chaurice dog looks so crispy and fresh! How do you choose between Italian and Polish? You had to be a little selfish didn’t you?

  • Mijune says:

    @Miss Jane – LOL It’s so hard not to think dirty!!! If you’re going for Italian or Polish… I’d go for the Polish though…. as long as you like mustard and tang 🙂 The buns were great on all of them…. good ratio!

  • Miss Jane says:

    6 seems quite excessive. I can maybe handle two at most. There’s nothing dirty about these dogs until you get some mustard dripping on your pants. That happened to me when I was eating a wrap on Mtn Seymour. So I’ll watch out for them mustard in those dogs too!

  • Mijune says:

    @Miss Jane – LOL! You’re great!… 2 is easy! 😉

  • Melissa says:

    I just saw this place on Diners, Dives & Drive-Ins yesterday and thought i’d like to try this place and i saw your review. Ha, it’s good to know someone else that drinks hot water and lemon in a place like this!! High five girl! I’d love to try the Polish sausage when i go. Thanks for taking such awesome pics!

  • Mijune says:

    @Melissa – Aww hope you enjoy it!! 🙂

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