Mis Trucos – Modern Mediterranean Tapas (New Summer Menu)

Sorry! Restaurant is now CLOSED. (Trust me, Iโ€™m as sad as you are)

Restaurant: Mis Trucos
Cuisine: Mediterranean/Tapas/Small Plates/Eclectic
Last visited: May 18, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown/West End)
Address: 1141 Davie Street
Price Range: $20-30+

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

Food: 5
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Specializes in Mediterranean tapas
  • Modern style tapas
  • Innovative/eclectic
  • Seasonal menu
  • Quality ingredients
  • Restaurant/bar/lounge
  • Hidden gem/neighbourhood gem
  • Good for groups
  • Shared plates dining
  • Casual/cozy/quaint
  • Great for drinks & tapas
  • Large patio at the back
  • Only Spanish wines
  • Wed-Sun 5pm-late
  • Mis Trucos – Review/Visit 1

**Recommendations: Come for the small plates especially the Sezmu Beef Flatiron Steak. Sangria Pitchers, Pintxos, 64 Degree Free Range Egg, Sezmu Beef Flatiron Steak, Pan Seared Striped Bass, Mis Trucos Chocolate Bar are also solid choices.

Ah Mis Trucos… I can’t help but to smile every time I think about it. What can I say? I really like this place. It’s one of those places that leaves a lasting impression on me, although it always flies under the radar because of its odd location. It’s hard for me to revisit places, since I always want to try something new, but this is one I feel really passionately about and I’d recommend it to locals and tourists.

I was invited to the media dinner of their new summer menu and when I heard that they changed the menu, I was a bit shocked. I thought it was great before so I wasn’t sure what they would do to make it better. But when I heard chef was taking it up a notch, I was very excited to see what he had prepared. If you’ve had a bad experience, I really recommend coming again.

There’s nothing really fancy about this neighbourhood gem, but it’s effortlessly quaint in style. It’s unique because it’s located inside a heritage house, but it actually has a very homey feel that’s cozy and intimate despite its bare ambiance and Ikea like furniture. Other restaurants in Metro Vancouver with this homey feel also include: Le Gavroche, Lupo Restaurant + Vinoteca, The Hart House Restaurant, Le Belle Auberge and Old Surrey Restaurant.

Okay, so if you haven’t guessed, I have a soft spot for small plates and tapas. I love them, providing that they’re good and the portions aren’t ridiculously small and overpriced. That’s the only thing that bothers me, is that they add up so quickly and it’s not really any different here. However at least the food quality and execution is one I could taste, so I can justify the price. I’m the kind of diner that likes variety and to try everything, so I’m all for places like these. It reminded me of Juda’s Goat Taberna, but I prefer Mis Trucos overall.

For me the “small plates” (which are more like big plates) I tried at Mis Trucos rides on the same level of “excellent” as Cru Restaurant, Bin 941 Tapas Parlour, and the formerly known Tapastree, which are some of my favourites in Vancouver. Those are award winning casual fine dining restaurants that are more sophisticated and refined than Mis Trucos, but some of the things I had here can rival what those restaurants offer. For me Mis Trucos is the underdog that belongs right up there with them.

When I really like something I really like something, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I had here. It was all different levels of good to excellent and I really want to see them do well because they deserve it. The food is honest, with high quality ingredients and the chef is passionate and you can taste it.

Mis Trucos really offers something for everyone, but chef doesn’t go beyond what he can do. From meat and cheese to simple tapas and elaborate “small plates”, it has a very diverse and solid menu with few options in each category. It has a selection of meat and seafood choices, light and hearty dishes and a nightly 6 course chef’s tasting menu for $35 too. I’m personally not too keen on meat and cheeses, and I haven’t tried them here, but I certainly had a memorable meal with what was on the table.

Simplicity does play a factor here, especially in the tapas, but it doesn’t stop Chef from being creative and showcasing innovative Mediterranean flavours with classic French techniques in his small plates. What I love is the attention to details and levels of flavours he brings to each component of every dish. The flavours are familiar, but presented in new light, and his execution will keep your palate captivated even after everything is gone.

On the table:

**Sangria Pitchers 4.5/6

  • $15
  • Dangerous! Oh gosh it was so dangerous. It was nice and sweet, and noticeably juicy and fruity. It almost tasted like a berry punch and it was so full of flavour.
  • There was more orange flavours going on than lemons and limes and I could have used more real fruits because I only saw orange slices.
  • There was perhaps a hint of cinnamon, but it was very subtle.
  • The wine they used was great to start off with, so there wasn’t much else required when you start with a solid base.

Gazpacho Shot 3/6

  • Gazpacho shot, avocado, prawns $4
  • This was good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again unless the prawns were BC Spot Prawns. **Apparently they are BC Spot Prawns. So now that I know, it doesn’t really make a difference and I actually wouldn’t order it again although good.
  • It was nice and refreshing as an amuse bouche, except it was on the menu as a tapas.
  • It came with 2 medium sized prawns and then it was topped with diced avocado and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • The tomatoes were fresh and I could feel the pulp in the texture, but it’s not powdery. It’s bright and had the slight heat of black pepper.
  • I’m really happy it didn’t taste like cocktail sauce and it held up well with the richness of the avocado.
  • The prawns weren’t seasoned and I found them a bit random in a gazpacho shot, but they were tender with a crunch.
  • It wasn’t really fluid enough to be a “shot”, but I did like the drizzle of fruity olive oil on top to help bind the flavours together.
  • I would recommend this being mixed up before shooting it because the flavours need to mix.

Buffalo Ricotta 3.5/6

  • Buffalo Ricotta & fresh herb stuffed piquillo peppers, pine nut oil $7
  • This was perfect for the summer. The flavours were simple, yet high in quality.
  • It was surprisingly light since it was filled with mild yet full flavoured buffalo ricotta rather than a rich creamy goat’s cheese.
  • It was a melt in your mouth sweet, tangy and smoky piquillo pepper with a light, fluffy and creamy lemon herb ricotta drizzled with fruity olive oil and topped with toasted buttery pine nuts. I couldn’t tell that the oil was infused with pine nut though.
  • I could taste parsley, lemon zest and a desired bitterness from the rind that helped mellow out the smokiness and cut the richness of the cheese.
  • I loved the addition of pine nuts, which were plentiful, and if anything I just wanted a sweet note with some sticky dates or a drizzle of honey.

Coca (Crispy Flatbread)4/6

  • Crispy flatbread, chorizo & Puttanesca things (olives, capers, chilies, anchovies) $8
  • Another delicious appetizer, but this can be considered a bit pricey since it’s not going to fill you up at all. However there’s a lot of labour involved in each component and you can taste the effort.
  • It’s a Catalan flatbread that was crispy and thin as a cracker and the chorizo is home made.
  • The Puttanesca sauce was made with salty bites of coarsely mashed ingredients, but the salt was coming from the sauce more than the “Puttanesca things”, and I wish it was the other way around. I could have used more olives and anchovies, but I can see people being sensitive to it’s fishiness. I love it though.
  • I actually liked the tomato paste for this as opposed to the fresher tomato sauce, or perhaps one made with sun-dried tomato, because the chorizo needed something a bit denser.
  • It was a smoky with a sharp tang and topped with soft chorizo sausage that didn’t taste very cured. It was more like a regular sausage than a cured authentic Spanish chorizo, which would have been a redder colour and made with fattier meat.
  • There was a moderate spice from the chilies, but it wasn’t that spicy although it did linger a flavourful heat.
  • They used to make this with the chorizo chopped up and the whole anchovy on top (see here) and now they switched it around. I like the switch, but I still could use more anchovy.

**Pintxos (Six little bites)5/6

  • Chef’s inspiration. Changes daily. The ones featured were Truffle Tapenade & Pickled Beech Mushrooms, Steelhead Trout Tartare, and Quail Egg, Candied Garlic Goat Cheese $8
  • These increasingly got better and I highly recommend to eat them in this order.
  • Truffle Tapenade & Pickled Beech Mushrooms4/6
    • It looked boring, but the flavours were bold and it tasted better than it looked.
    • It was bright, salty, tangy and smooth olive tapenade paste with pickled slippery and somewhat slimy Beech Mushrooms on a crunchy crostini.
    • I could smell the truffle, but I couldn’t taste the truffle oil.
    • I just wanted one more aspect to this crostini. Perhaps a coarsely ground tapenade may have done the trick, although I did like the creaminess of a smooth one.

  • Steelhead Trout Tartare 5/6
    • The trout was incredibly well marinaded and it was very simple and very good.
    • It was a nice salty bite with the classic capers, some fresh lemony parsley, and topped with tangy creme fraiche.
    • It was the perfect ratio of everything without being too rich or overpowering the salty trout flavour.
    • A quail’s egg on this would be superb too!

  • **Quail’s Egg, Candied Garlic Goat Cheese6/6
    • This was one bite of freaking delicious! I loved this and I could have eaten six… teen.
    • It was incredibly smokey and I’m not sure if that was celery salt or bacon salt sprinkled on top, but it tasted like bacon salt and it was delicious!
    • It tasted like bacon and eggs with creamy cheese and it was rich and indulgent and so full of savoury smoky flavours and a hint of sweetness from the candied garlic.
    • The goat cheese was mild and almost like a mousse and the egg yolk acted as a sauce adding that richness to bind everything together.
    • It was simply a marvelous one bite and Philadelphia Cream Cheese has nothing on this. THIS is “a little taste of heaven” if anything!
    • They used to make a Wild venison tartar, brioche, truffle + quailโ€™s egg which was just as delicious. I’ll actually miss that.

**64 Degree Free Range Egg 5.5/6

  • 64 degree free range egg, piperadda, serrano ham, cloud of cheese $9
  • I love eggs and I love seeing them used so much in today’s culinary scene – see my post on “The Egg Yolk Series” – a tribute to the egg.
  • This reminded me of Poached Egg at L’Abattoir, but I liked that one even better because it had a crispy texture, which was the only thing missing in this one.

You crack the egg yolk and mix it all up. I would have preferred the egg yolk a little less cooked though.

  • It was a sloppy mess of amazing! It was bacon and eggs Mediterranean style.
  • It was silky, creamy, rich and saucy with the egg yolk making for a natural sauce.
  • I loved the salty strips of Serrano ham and in combination with the egg it reminded me of buttery prosciutto. I wanted some of the Serrano to be fried crispy too.
  • The strips of Serrano ham was wrapped around a warm mixture of sweet onions, stewed tomatoes, and roasted red peppers or piquillo peppers.
  • It was sweet from the veggies and savoury from the ham and the feathery shavings of cheese were too mild to make much of a difference, but had it been mixed with nutty toasted Parmesan shavings or crispy Serrano ham bits… oh god, this would have been trรฉs excellent!
  • This is a very saucy dish and you will want to lick your plate… so order bread (although it should really just come with a couple pieces)

Baguette4/6

  • I’m pretty sure it’s made in house and it was served warm.
  • It was very good bread with a crusty exterior and soft, fluffy, chewy and somewhat cakey centre.
  • It wasn’t as chewy as a baguette, but it did get chewier as it came to room temperature.
  • I would keep this bread around if you’re planning to order the small plates too because the sauces are just too good to be wasted.

Small Plates

The small plates are actually quite large, although I’d need two of them to be full. I’m usually always more impressed with tapas, but in this case it was the opposite. The small plates I tried were divine! The dinner increasingly got better and there is nothing remotely boring about any of these small plates I tried.

Everything was well executed, well seasoned, well balanced with attention to detail, textures, colours and presentation. I actually wasn’t expecting something this gourmet and I love how much credit chef gives to sauces without having them overwhelm the main ingredients. He knows how to make you drool and I can’t ask for anything more.

**Pan Seared Striped Bass5/6

  • Pan seared striped bass, sweet pea puree, crispy ham, olive oil potatoes, oyster mushrooms, romesco sauce $17
  • The fish was perfectly seasoned and nice and crispy with flaky, tender juicy moist meat.
  • I loved the colourful purees it was served with although I’m not sure where the crispy ham came into play.
  • I absolutely love Romesco sauce, which is a Spanish sauce made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and mixed nuts including pine nuts and almonds.
  • This one was coarsely ground and mild on the garlic, but I loved the crunchy nutty aspect it brought to the dish and it suited the fish perfectly with some lemony tang as well. On the other hand it was more nutty in texture rather than flavour, but I still liked it.
  • The pea puree wasn’t actually that sweet and it carried its natural flavour. I would have loved to see some whole sweet green peas on the plate as well.
  • The combination of the purees played with a sweet and tangy aspect and it kept everything light and bright despite them having somewhat creamier textures. Together they almost liquefied and made for a very fluid sauce.
  • The olive oil potatoes were creamy, tender and buttery with skins that just popped off upon biting into them.
  • The oyster mushrooms were a lovely complement although a bit under seasoned.
  • It was a perfect main for the summer and I’d definitely recommend this.

**Sezmu Beef Flatiron Steak6/6

  • Sezmu beef flatiron steak, artichokes, piquillo peppers, carrot puree, creamed barley, beef essence $18
  • When you want to lick your plate clean, you know you’ve hit a 6/6.
  • This was definitely the most memorable dish of the night and a must try item. It’s been a few days and I’m still thinking about it.
  • The steak was medium rare and well seasoned and there were a lot of slices. It was juicy, tender and buttery and the dish was actually quite hearty and reminded me of gourmet comfort food.
  • I loved the play on textures and all the different components and it was a silky, saucy, and rich mess of deliciousness! Foodgasm dish for sure! I can barely look at the picture without drooling!

  • The highlight was the creamed barley which I thought was creamed Israeli cous cous at first. It was ultra creamy, rich and indulgent and almost like a pommes puree with al dente barley throughout. It was almost like grits, but 100x’s better and I’m sure there was lots of butter in it to get it that silky rich texture.
  • The carrot puree gave the dish a nice sweetness and its creaminess just melted right into all the other textures of this dish.
  • Every component just melted in your mouth and the cream of barley and carrot puree just absorbed all the syrupy sweet and savoury beef au jus and fruity olive oil.
  • I could taste a good dry red wine in the reduction and all the sauces went together incredibly well. It was like mashed potatoes and gravy 2.0. It was so saucy and addicting!
  • I loved the tender roasted artichokes which gave it that Mediterranean flavour and the tang that helped break everything up.
  • The smoky tangy and sweet piquillo peppers and fresh lemony parsley just marinated the artichokes and added that extra dimension of summery flavour to what would have been an otherwise wintery dish.
  • Some deep fried crispy capers or buttery pine nuts would be nice too, but there was nothing wrong with this plate.
  • Everything on this plate was heavenly and it’s definitely something you want to wipe clean with your tongue, finger, or fork… or if your classy an extra order of baguette!

**Mis Trucos Chocolate Bar5.5/6

  • Mis Trucos chocolate bar, fruit jellies $7
  • How cute is this?! One of the most creative presentations I’ve seen for a dessert. For having no pastry chef in house, I’ve always been impressed with the desserts here – see previous dessert post here.
  • I was reminded of the playful presentation of the Lindt Single Farm Chocolate and Soil dessert from The Apron, which was also the last restaurant I had a home made chocolate bar at – see Apron Chocolate Bar.
  • This was a full size chocolate bar and it’s quite indulgent, rich and sweet.
  • I loved that it was served with a few home made blueberry sour gummy worms to contrast the sweetness of the chocolate bar. They were very tart and very soft and almost melted in your mouth. They reminded me of Soda-licious, but much softer… wow I just realized that “Soda-licious” was “so-delicious”…

  • If that marshmallow layer had been replaced with a layer of vanilla bean ice cream this would have been a 6/6 hands down.
  • I don’t mind marshmallows, but I don’t really prefer them in a chilled chocolate bar.
  • The marshmallow was homemade but it was a bit spongy and it reminded me of Viva Puffs so it cheapened the quality of the chocolate bar a bit. It did carry a very strong vanilla bean flavour and I’m quite sure there was real vanilla beans in it, which I loved, but it almost just separated from all the other ingredients.
  • It was a soft, creamy and tender bar with lots of good quality bitter sweet chocolate.
  • My favourite part was the contrasting bottom layer of nutty praline which was crispy and crunchy and I think made with hazelnuts.
  • This was simply delicious to look at, playful to eat and a perfect way to end the meal.

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Mis Trucos on Urbanspoon

16 Comments

  • Sean says:

    Really great post showcasing the new menu!~that flat iron steak looks right up my alley!, I always love it when you feature retso’s in my neighbourhood

  • Linda says:

    wow this is a really great post! i love how the items are looking for their new summer menu – everything looks fresh and definitely highlights what’s in season ๐Ÿ™‚

    the small plates look yummy! especially the two egg ones – the quail egg crustini and the 65 degree egg! when i saw the pickled beech mushrooms, i thought they were fake! lol they just look so perfect ๐Ÿ™‚ plus i really love olive tapenade! i could eat that with toast all day! the flatbread looks divine too! the prices are pretty good considering the quantity that you’re getting ๐Ÿ™‚

    the flatiron steak on the larger plates side is definitely something i would order! nothing beats a well cooked steak if you ask me lol i love the presentation of the ‘dessert’ as well and the homemade blueberry sour gummy worm is quite impressive ๐Ÿ™‚

  • vivian says:

    yum everything looks so fresh! This blog brings back memories of spain; the spaniards are ingenious with the tapas idea, we definitely need more good quality places like this that aren’t overpriced. I can barely keep track of all these new places you are trying!lol

  • Jayda Home says:

    YUM! I took my husband and mom there twice in one week since they had a Groupon and I’m addicted to those darn things! I must admit I was so surprised at how incredibly good everything was. The prices are quite fitting in light of the quality and presentation of the food. I really loved the quail egg crustini and the flatbreads. I’m really happy you were able to give them a good review since it seems they were getting some flack for their small portions and ‘big’ prices. It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose.
    PS. I wrote to Sherman about this too, but since I know you like good pizza…. I just learned that Terry Deane, the original owner of Ah-Beetz in Abbotsford, has sold it and is opening a new restaurant in Vancouver. It will be located at 654 East Broadway and will be called Pizzeria Barbarella. I thought you might like to know.

  • Jayda Home says:

    It opens next month apparently.

  • Mijune says:

    @Sean – awesome Sean!! Go try it out.. it’s amazing!

    @Linda – I know right!?! The food looks great and the photos almost speak for the restaurant. You have to try it though! Yes the gummies were quite impressive and there was so much care and detail… it’s almost a one man show in that kitchen so I was very impressed!

    @vivian – omg viv!! I know what you mean!! I hate overpriced tapas!!! stupid!! It’s like charging you extra for being cute.. funny how the world works as that sentence could be interpreted in many ways lol. I’m glad i’m finding restaurants you haven’t tried yet though!

    @jayda Home – ahh I see!! Yes I noticed their low rating on Urbanspoon and I just knew it was due to the prices. He does spend on the ingredients though so I can justify most of the prices on that menu.

    Oh and the pizza!! Yes! I was with Sherman yesterday and we were both talking about going there! Yes, we’re very excited!! Thank you for the tip ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anita says:

    OMG! Oozy egg! *drools*. I saw this restaurant on my way to Stephos to meet an out of town friend for dinner and thought about going there and you beat me to it! ๐Ÿ˜€ I can’t wait to try this! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Mijune says:

    @Anita – you’ll love it! Go try!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • vivian says:

    well maybe it’s an asian thing where we’re less concerned about HOW something looks and pay more attention to how it tastes. And since we’re talking about food, I say tasting good takes precedence over the look otherwise it doesn’t warrant the extra cost! lol

  • Mijune says:

    @vivan – lol yeah you do make a good point… I have to admit, I’m with you in that category.

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