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
- Locally owned
- Italian & Polish owners
- Famous 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
- Attracts 20-30
- Open late
**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 famous for their gourmet 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!