Locus Restaurant & Lounge

Restaurant: Locus Restaurant & Lounge
Cuisine: Pacific Northwest/West Coast/Eclectic/International/Brunch
Last visited: December 19, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Riley Park/Little Mountain)
Address: 4121 Main Street
Bus: SB Main St FS E King Edward Av
Price Range: $10-20 ($15 sandwiches, $20+ mains)

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!

Food: 3.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Pacific Northwest cuisine
  • Restaurant/Bar/Lounge
  • Sandwiches/Pastas/Mains
  • Neighbourhood favourite
  • Popular for brunch
  • Daily features
  • Eclectic menu
  • Extensive menu
  • Extensive drink list
  • Cheap drinks
  • 10pm daily (3.25 Singles / 5.25 Doubles)
  • Mon-Fri. 10am – 2am (Kitchen closes: Mon – Sat 1am)
  • Saturday 9am – 2am *Kitchen closes: 1am
  • Sunday 9am – 1am  *Kitchen closes: 12am

**Recommendations: Hot Pulled Wild Boar Sandwich, Yam Gnocchi

It’s been around for probably about 10 years and I always wanted to check it out, but it’s taken me a while… at least 10 years a while. It’s really popular for brunch, but it also attracts a late night crowd since drinks are cheap after 10pm everyday. I would say it’s one of the Main Street classics. It has somewhat of a dark hipster vibe and eclectic menu that’s supposed to feature local and seasonal ingredients.

I came here after watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which made the experience even more gloomy and creepy. The red lights brought me back to memories of the Narrow Artist Lounge, which is another very hidden gem on Main Street. It’s a very casual and laid back atmosphere and the menu is more impressive than what I would assume.

Based on what I tried the food was good, but at times bordering on pub food. I’m not sure if there’s an absence in chef, but it just seemed to deliver a bit more on the menu. I have a feeling it really depends on who’s making your food and I came pretty late at night. Everything was still home made with pretty decent quality ingredients and eclectic flair, but what I tried wasn’t necessarily memorable.

I wasn’t really impressed or disappointed and I’m still interested to try their brunch. For this type of food in this area I personally prefer Habit Lounge or Crave on Main, but this was still good. The menu is pretty extensive and the mains get surprisingly pricey for the type of restaurant. I was more inspired by the intention of the menu than the actual food, and I just wish it committed more because it had a lot of potential.

On the table:

Complimentary Bread

  • I really didn’t expect house made complimentary bread, so this was quite impressive.
  • It was served cold and it was soft, fluffy, moist and seasoned with herbs, salt, black pepper and maybe paprika (?). I was biting into actual spices in the bread.
  • It almost seemed Indian spiced and I thought the heat was coming from the butter, but it was from the bread.
  • I thought the butter was a creamy whipped sun-dried tomato butter, but there was no sun-dried tomato and it almost tasted like paprika or an Indian spice again.

Organic Hot Chocolate3/6 (Good)

  • $4
  • It was topped with whipped cream and a Pocky Stick which I thought was cute.
  • It was made in house, but it wasn’t indulgent, or that chocolatey or very sweet for that matter.
  • I thought it was going to be really rich and creamy, but it was quite light and milky which also made it easy to drink.
  • It wasn’t a dessert or a sipping chocolate and I was hoping for more chocolate, but it’s still good.
  • For a really decadent and chocolatey hot chocolate try the mocha or hot chocolate at Mink Chocolates.

Feature Pizza3/6 (Good)

  • Grilled flat-bread made in house with roasted tomato sauce, genoa salami, red onions, spinach, Quebec cheese curds & feta cheese $13
  • This was definitely more of a flatbread than a pizza.
  • It looked really “pub food”, but it actually tasted pretty good. Of course, anything covered with this much melted cheese would be though, so it was bordering on munchies good.
  • It was more or less something you could do at home, but they didn’t skimp on the ingredients and it was quite heavy.
  • The tomato sauce was regular and the genoa salami quality was okay and more like ham, but it covered the whole flat bread in one even layer.
  • The Quebec cheese curds were completely melted like mozzarella so they weren’t that fresh or they would melt and squeak in your teeth. On the odd occasion I had a squeak, but I would barely call it a cheese curd.
  • It was pretty salty with the added feta and tomato sauce and I would have preferred basil over spinach, and it was a basic 5 minute flatbread pizza.
  • I personally prefer the flatbread from Joey’s like the Tandoori Chicken Flatbread and the Pesto Shrimp Flatbread which are great.

The flatbread was grilled, but it wasn’t crispy and it was just soft and chewy.

**Hot Pulled Wild Boar Sandwich 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Mushroom gravy, spinach, roasted garlic aioli, & jalapeno jack on house made whole wheat Kaiser $14
  • The pulled boar is one of the signature items.
  • I’m a huge fan of pulled pork and pulled wild boar sounded even more exciting.
  • I loved the pulled wild boar, but the sandwich as a whole could have been better.
  • It came with a salad and roasted herb potatoes which were really good!
  • The potatoes had crispy skins and they were tender, creamy and well seasoned, but at the same time they seemed like they were under a heat lamp, although not dry.

  • It was a heavy sandwich and I appreciated the home made bun, but the kaiser was dry and not crispy and it just didn’t seem very fresh.
  • I could have used more meat and it ended up being too much bun. I was hoping for a crispy, lighter, fluffier and softer bun.
  • Wild boar is more tender but also leaner than pork, so I was a bit nervous it would be dry.
  • The pulled boar ended up being incredibly moist and juicy and even fattier than expected.
  • The meat is naturally sweeter and nuttier than pork too and there were some delicious crispy charred bits.
  • This one was also very smoky and tasted like it was made in a smoker and it didn’t taste like liquid smoke.
  • There was no BBQ sauce but it was still saucy from a rich mushroom gravy.
  • I really wish there were actual mushrooms in the gravy because it had none and it didn’t taste that mushroomy at all.
  • I liked the creamy roasted garlic aioli and mild kick of the jalapeno jack cheese which added to the richness, but the bun really kept it from shining.
  • I also missed the textural contrast and crunch of a cole slaw and the spinach just didn’t carry the sandwich.
  • The pulled boar was fantastic, but I just wish the rest came together for it.

**Yam Gnocchi3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • With caramelized onions, wilted kale, and goat cheese, tossed in sage brown butter $18
  • This was actually pretty good and I liked that it didn’t skimp on the goat cheese. It was quite a substantial dish.
  • The gnocchi was pan fried and semi-crispy, but I did find it on the doughy side and a bit dense and chewy rather than soft and fluffy. I wasn’t keen on the gnocchi, but I am a bit picky with gnocchi.
  • The fluffy goat’s cheese wasn’t that strong and gamey, which I prefer, but due to the amount the dish ended up being quite salty.
  • It was very lightly sauced with a simple brown butter sauce and the kale gave it a nice earthiness, but I couldn’t really taste the sage.
  • I was getting the sweetness from the caramelized red onions more than the yam gnocchi, but the onions were great especially with the salty cheese.
  • It would be nice to have the kale sauteed in a bit of balsamic for a contrasting tang too.
  • It was missing some texture and some added nuts or one more ingredient would have been great.

Gingerbread Creme Brulee3/6 (Good)

  • $7.50
  • All the desserts are from Sweet E’s in Vancouver.
  • The caramelized creme brulee crust was a bit thick and uneven.
  • It was a pretty firm, creamy and eggy creme brulee and it was very mild with the gingerbread spices.
  • It almost tasted like Chai with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (?).
  • It was very light and not that sweet, but I was hoping for more gingerbread flavour.
  • As a side note, for a local restaurant the garnish would be better as a gingerbread cookie instead of non-seasonal fresh fruit.

Cranberry Cherry Chocolate Mousse Tart2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • $7.50
  • All the desserts are from Sweet E’s in Vancouver.
  • This was really rich and a 1-2 biter for me even though I really like desserts.
  • The chocolate was bittersweet and good quality, but it was just way too much.
  • It was more like a stiff and dense chocolate ganache torte and I was hoping for more balance and layers with all the ingredients mentioned.
  • I was expecting a thinner chocolate layer and the top to be covered with plump Amerena cherries and cranberries.
  • The crust was a bit hard, crumbly and dry, but it eventually got soft when the chill came off.
  • There was a thin layer of tart cherry puree with dried cherries/cranberries in between the chocolate and tart shell, but not really enough.
  • I couldn’t taste the mousse at all and I’m not sure if it was supposed to be thawed from the fridge before enjoying because it was almost like a chocolate bar.
  • It’s only because it’s supposed to be a local restaurant that it bothers me, but it probably shouldn’t have strawberries and blueberries as a garnish since it was winter.

Chocolate Ganache with Cashew Brittle Tart2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • $7.50
  • All the desserts are from Sweet E’s in Vancouver.
  • This was almost the same as the Cranberry Cherry Chocolate Mousse Tart.
  • It was a 1-2 biter and it was really rich, dense and heavy with chocolate and more like a chocolate ganache. It would hold a fork.
  • Again it was good quality bittersweet chocolate, but just too much of it and I was hoping for more components and texture.
  • I really couldn’t taste much cashew or cashew brittle and I thought the top would be covered with it.
  • Again the crust was a bit hard, crumbly and dry, but it eventually got soft when the chill came off.
  • I can’t help but to notice the garnish again… non-seasonal. I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t an emphasis on local.

White Chocolate & Chestnut Rum Mousse Tart 3.5/6 (Good-Very Good)

  • $7.50
  • All the desserts are from Sweet E’s in Vancouver.
  • This was the best dessert of them all and the best of the tarts for sure.
  • I always prefer dark chocolate to white chocolate, but this just worked better as a whole.
  • It wasn’t as rich, dense or heavy as the other tarts.
  • It was very light and fluffy with a nice moussey layer that was apparent.
  • There was very little rum and very little chestnut, but I could taste a bit of that chestnut texture and flavour whipped into the white chocolate.
  • Some actual chestnut pieces or an actual chestnut puree layer would have been nice too. I was hoping it would be like the one in Chinese style fresh fruit and chestnut cakes.
  • It wasn’t that sweet and more dominant with white chocolate flavour, so I still could have used more layers and components.
  • Again the crust was a bit hard, crumbly and dry, but it eventually got soft when the chill came off.
  • There was a nice tart raspberry sauce to contrast the sweetness, and the non-seasonal fruit garnish should be changed for maybe roasted chestnuts.

Locus on Urbanspoon
Sweet E's Pastries and Sweets on Urbanspoon


  • Bow says:

    I love wild boar…ground wild boar in pasta sauce is amazing definitely more vibrant than other meats; hard to find it now. Restaurants have a better source of supply. Too bad the flatbread pizza costs so much, but one goes here to drink not eat, and late at night people don.t care. one gets hungry. Still searching out the desserts,eh ? Actually I never expected them at a bar.

  • LotusRapper says:

    @Bow: +1. I had wild boar in a pasta sauce once (forgot which restaurant) and it was so deep in flavour, it’s like comparing 3D movies to regular 2D when compared to regular beef.

    FWIW, Famous Foods on Kingsway sells ground lean bison/buffalo and it’s not expensive neither.

  • Linda says:

    wow.. i always pass by this place and have always wanted to try it =it’s always booming on the inside but i always opt to go to crave when i’m down in the mount pleasant area.. i’m hooked lol after seeing your suggestions, maybe i’ll head down there for brunch one weekend!

    the hot pulled pork sandwich looks amazing! i probably would prefer a softer bread since the meat is already so heavy.. the yam gnocci looks interesting and innovative for sure 🙂 i love everything made with brown butter and i really like that there’s so much goat cheese one top lol

    the desserts look yummy too and that’s a big thing for me since i;m not really a dessert person 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – Good points!! I agree with all of it actually.

    @LR – Nice 3D 2D analogy!! I’m a bit jealous. I like that analogy! Thanks for the tips too!

    @Linda – I like Crave better too, but trying something new always gets me. Let me know what you think of brunch if you get there before me! I’m going to turn you into a dessert person one of these days 🙂 xo

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