Edible Canada at the Market (Granville Island)

Update! New chef as of January 2013.

Restaurant: Edible Canada at the Market
Cuisine:
Canadian/Pacific Northwest/West Coast/Brunch/Local
Last Visited: March 25, 2012
Location:
Vancouver, BC (Granville Island)
Address:
1596 Johnston St
Train: Yaletown-Roundhouse Stn Southbound
Price Range: 
$10-20 (brunch/lunch) $20-30 (dinner)

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

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

  • Local ingredients
  • Canadian Bistro
  • Sustainable
  • Popular to tourists/locals
  • Family friendly
  • Gluten-free options
  • Specialty market
  • Local wine/beers
  • Heated patio
  • Brunch/Lunch/Dinner
  • Guest Chef Market Dinners
  • Takeout Counter Service: 11am – close
  • Lunch (weekdays): 11am – 3:30pm
  • Dinner: Tues-Sat 5pm – 10pm
  • Saturday Brunch 9am – 3:30pm
  • Sunday Brunch 9am – 5pm

**Recommendations: Grilled Cheese, Duck Hash, Apple Cake and I hear the Reuben Sandwich is good.

As soon as Vancouver gets a hint of sun locals and tourists flock to restaurants with patios and many scenic ones can be easily found on Granville Island. It’s definitely a tourist attraction in Vancouver, and although locals eat there, it’s not exactly up and coming with the best new restaurants. The restaurant scene here is relatively stable and static so while many diners have heard of most of them, there’s never really an enthusiasm to check out the new menus or refresh the memory.

Edible Canada at the Market opened Summer 2011 and they’re really capturing and keeping the attention of locals by supporting Canadian suppliers. With a small retail store attached to the restaurant carrying specialty BC products, and regular Edible BC Market event dinners and tours, it’s really a well marketed concept.

The whole “local ingredients” “farm to table” dining is not particularly new to Vancouver, but how it’s being done is what interests me. Simply writing “local ingredients” doesn’t really mean anything and how these ingredients are being showcased is what I value.

There is no doubt Edible Canada supports local suppliers and embraces seasonal ingredients, and I would say it’s a very West Coast version of Canadian cuisine. The food is obviously fresh and good quality, but it does fall in the slightly traditional side considering the clientele it likely caters too. The menu is simple and straightforward, but the ingredients are gourmet. Basically it offers sophisticated versions of the basics that are still very much approachable.

Although I enjoyed my experience and there wasn’t really any disappointments, I found it showcased the ingredients more so than the talent of the chef. With some simple tweaks here and there, it could have been excellent. Perhaps I just have to come back for dinner for more stylized offerings. If I look at the overall picture, I think the philosophy is great and it fits perfectly with the Granville Island experience in a casual, but nice and inviting context.

Note: I didn’t realize until coming in that I had actually met their Chef, Tom Lee, who competed in the BC Chinese Chef of the Year Award at BC Foodservice Expo. On that note, there was an unexpected complimentary appetizer (not shown), and then a very well presented dessert platter. The following was all paid for, on my own time, and there were no expectations for the outcome of this post.

On the table:

Yarrow Meadows Duck Confit Hash4/6 (Very good)

  • Soft poached free range eggs, roasted potatoes, wild mushrooms, arugula $15
  • A hash is probably one of the most easiest things to put together for brunch. No presentation required and almost anything goes. It’s a morning “stir-fry”.
  • Although good, I did have high expectations for this hash and I was hoping for more duck.
  • The duck was actually quite sweet rather than salty (cured) and it was relatively moist, but I was just getting lots more potatoes.

  • The poached eggs were nice and runny, but I wish they were sous vide although that might be asking for much.
  • The runny yolks were the only sauce to this dish so I would have appreciated a demi glace, duck jus, or hollandaise because it needed a sauce.
  • The potatoes were fresh and hand cut and the hash was well seasoned and not dry, but it got a bit plain without the egg yolk.
  • I’m not sure if the potatoes are being sauteed in duck fat, but it didn’t taste like it.
  • There was some roasted cauliflower and wild mushrooms and arugula in the mix, but more duck or a duck jus to make up for the lack of duck would really help.
  • Personally I would have loved some diced apples fried with the potatoes just because duck and fruit go so well together.

Mushroom Crusted Wild Albacore Tuna Salad 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Warm fingerling potatoes, kale, roasted squash, wild mushrooms $15
  • This was very simple and I would consider it more of an appetizer than a main. I have a bigger appetite, but still it’s not that substantial.
  • This was a very basic salad with fresh ingredients, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.
  • The tuna was nice and oily, but I couldn’t taste the mushroom crust and I think it was just mushroom scented salt. I really had to look for the flavour and there wasn’t really a crust.
  • The fingerling potatoes were sliced thin in circular disks and they were tender and buttery with the skins on.
  • The butternut squash was in cubes and I was hoping for a puree of it too to act as a bed for the potatoes and mushrooms.
  • The kale would be great deep fried, but that’s just me. Speaking of kale I did mention it in my post regarding 10 Food Trends in Vancouver for 2012.
  • The dressing just tasted like a simple olive oil and lemon dressing, but the olive oil was high quality. It was fruity and full of flavour.
  • I could have used more of the reduced balsamic vinaigrette too because it was really the only flavouring besides the natural flavour of the ingredients.
  • The salad wasn’t bland, but it was just a bit unimaginative although good for what it was.

**Grilled Cheese5/6 (Excellent)

  • Brioche, farmhouse brie, smokehouse cheddar, dundarave olive jam, okanagan apple $10
  • I have a thing with grilled cheese because as much as I love them, I always think “I can make this at home” (Sh*t Foodies Say).
  • This was a perfect looking grilled cheese though and the ingredients and quality was worth it.
  • It wasn’t just cheese and although rich, it wasn’t “I feel sick after” rich.
  • The bread was crispy, cut with a crunch, and well buttered and browned.
  • The cheese was ooey gooey, but not stringy and just full of good quality cheese.
  • The buttery brie and flavour of the cheddar was a good balance and the olive jam was sweet more so than salty, unless I was getting that mixed up with the apple. I actually didn’t even realize there were olives in this at all.
  • I could taste equal cheese and bread and the cheese wasn’t overly oily and the bread wasn’t soggy.
  • The apples were sliced very thinly so I actually couldn’t really taste them at all so I wanted a bit more apple in there to complement the smokehouse cheddar.
  • I expected them to be tart since they were Granny Smith apples, but they weren’t tart either.
  • The bread tasted more like a sweet Taiwanese egg bread than a brioche and it was closer to a Challah bread (for a non-Asian reference).
  • The bread was a brioche loaf so it had a tight crumb and wasn’t light and fluffy and more sweet than ultra buttery. This is supplied from a local bakery.
  • If I made this at home I would try using the Vista D’oro Turkish Fig & Walnut Wine Jam, or a regular fig jam, and add some toasted walnuts and thyme leaves.

Fish & Chips 3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Rice flour tempura, sesame cilantro coleslaw, crispy duck fat fries $15
  • This has been on the menu since the restaurant opened so I figured I should try it or they would have taken it off.
  • It’s a gluten friendly option and since Vancouver is “gluten-free” obsessed, it stays on the menu.
  • I loved the concept and it looked great, but I was hoping for a better delivery and it could have used some tweaking.
  • It was in no way disappointing, but it had more potential to be even better.
  • Sesame Cilantro Coleslaw4/6
    • I loved this and I would have had it with the seared albacore tuna salad above.
    • It was fresh and crunchy and it tasted more Chinese than Japanese with lots of sesame oil and some gluten-free soy, but not much acidity.
    • It was aromatic and well flavoured, but I missed that yuzu or ponzu vinaigrette. I know it’s typical, but it does make it better.

Fish3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • It was 2 nice big and thick strips of fish and it was Steelhead salmon or Steelhead trout, both look and taste similar so it’s hard for me to tell. I’m going to go with trout though.
  • Steelhead is sustainable and it flakes wonderfully and the texture is buttery and smooth, so it’s naturally quite moist.
  • The fish itself was bland so seasoning before the batter would help, as the flavour was in the crust.
  • It was perfectly fried golden brown and not greasy for being fried.
  • There was a nice crunch, but the batter was slightly thick which caused the fish to continue cooking.
  • The fish ended up being slightly drier than it could have been, so it just wasn’t as juicy and would have benefited from coming out a bit earlier.
  • Even after an hour the batter was still crunchy and it adhered to the fish, which I appreciated.
  • The batter had some black sesame seeds, parsley and seaweed and because Steelhead is already fishy it almost tasted extra fishy with the seaweed enhancing that flavour.
  • They were well seasoned with salt (as you can see), but it would have been freaking awesome seasoned with wasabi furikake. It’s an amazing wasabi, sesame seed, and nori Japanese seasoning salt traditionally sprinkled on Japanese rice. I love it!
  • The tartar sauce was house made, but quite standard although better than your store bought mayo and relish combo.

“Chips” or Duck Fat Fries3/6 (Good)

  • It’s funny how people get so excited when they see the words “duck fat” and it’s almost the same people who get excited about the word “bacon”. As @angrybobbyflay says “throwing bacon on your piece of sh*t dinner doesn’t make it delicious, it makes it a piece of sh*t dinner with bacon on it.”
  • Don’t get me wrong, I do like bacon and the use of duck fat, but it still has to be used properly and showcased well.
  • At times I find that people are convinced by just the name alone and not the outcome.
  • In this case the fries were fresh, crispy and well seasoned with salt, but I couldn’t taste the duck fat at all.
  • The fries are very good fries, but I would never think of them as “duck fat fries”.
  • It’s actually half duck fat and half vegetable oil, but the duck fat really gets lost so I’m not sure if there’s a point.
  • The ketchup was house made with some real tomatoes and paste (?) and it was smoky, not too sweet with lots of garlic powder, some caramelized onions, but no kick. Some Worcestershire sauce would be nice, but no complaints here.

East Coast Lobster Mac & Cheese4/6 (Very good)

  • Canadian cheeses, double smoked bacon, caramelized onions $20
  • I wish they called this “Spicy East Coast Lobster Mac & Cheese” and in the description was something about citrus.
  • The description set me up for a traditional mac and cheese and this one wasn’t really, although still great, just unexpected.
  • It’s a spicy and tangy mac and cheese, so the bechamel like sauce had some lime for acidity and Sriracha sauce.
  • I started to get curious what would happen if they used coconut milk instead of cream for the sauce too. It could be a South East Asian twist, but that’s just something to test at home.
  • I did enjoy it more than the one I had at The Onyx Steakhouse, and that one had truffle oil too.

  • There was a lot of sauce and it had a crispy bread crumb gratin crust, but I would have loved the crust to include some Parmesan.
  • It had a decent amount of lobster (not just claw) but the meat didn’t have that lobster crunch so I think it might be frozen. It’s not a bad thing, but the end result is never quite the same.
  • The pasta I wouldn’t mind firmer and due to the type of noodle sometimes they were hollow without sauce. Not a big deal because the extra sauce it came with solved the problem.
  • The sauce was ultra rich and super creamy and smooth and the cheeses were a Canadian type of Gruyere, Parmesan and White Cheddar, but I could taste the White Cheddar most. Nonetheless, the quality was all very good.
  • The bacon was subtle and put in last minute, but I did notice the spice and tang first.
  • I personally enjoyed the mac and cheese and its richness, and the fact that it was inventive and different, but expect the tang and kick.
  • Is it bad that I wanted a poached egg on top of this? I actually started dipping my grilled cheese sandwich into the leftover mac n’ cheese sauce and that worked too!

Dessert Sampler

  • I didn’t realize until coming in that I had actually met their Chef, Tom Lee, who competed in the BC Chinese Chef of the Year Award at BC Foodservice Expo. On that note, there was an unexpected and very well presented dessert platter from the sous chef.
  • The following was all paid for, on my own time, and there are no expectations for the outcome of this post.
  • The desserts here are offered on a verbal menu, so they change daily.
  • There’s no pastry chef and I would consider them experimental desserts, but they were actually quite good.

**Apple Coffee Cake with 5 Spice & Yogurt4/6 (Very good)

  • $6.50
  • This wasn’t that sweet at all so it was nice to have the house made caramel sauce to add to the sweetness.
  • Since there was less sugar, the top of the cake didn’t have that caramelized crunchy muffin top or sweet crumble that’s typical of many coffee cakes.
  • There were some candied walnuts and a nutmeg and cinnamon apple and raisin chutney on top.
  • The gingerbread crumbs around the side were nice for an added crispiness too.
  • The apples on the side were infused with lots of vanilla bean seeds and I could also taste the subtleness of thyme in the background which I loved. It was very aromatic and well made.

  • The cake itself was slightly on the dry side so it was nice to have the yogurt although I wish there was more.
  • There wasn’t enough yogurt so there wasn’t a tang to contrast the sweetness, but since it wasn’t that sweet to begin with, the yogurt was there just to add moisture.
  • The cake was made with a bit of sour cream, but it wasn’t that rich or heavy although still substantial as a dessert.
  • The edges were dry, but the middle was relatively moist and I think if the yogurt had been a marscarpone whip that would have made it stellar.
  • The 5 spice was very subtle and I really could have enjoyed this for breakfast because it really wasn’t that sweet.

Honey & Lemon Crème Brûlée2/6 (Okay)

  • $6.50
  • The presentation was smart and impressive and it inspired me to want to try it at home.
  • I would have liked this much more if I didn’t know it was supposed to be honey and lemon because it tasted plain to me.
  • I couldn’t really taste the honey or lemon, and in a crème brûlée it was slightly odd since I would expect the custard to curdle.
  • The custard was very thick and quite smooth and the brûlée was crisp and not too thick, but I just couldn’t taste any flavour.

Chocolate Lavender Tart3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • $6.50
  • If you like a well made chocolate lavender tart, it’s exactly what you’re going to get. No surprises and just well done.
  • The tart was pretty perfect and it was crisp and not too thick and completely even, but it wasn’t made in house.
  • The chocolate was 65% so it wasn’t that bitter, but also not too sweet. I like 75%+ dark chocolate, but this was still good.
  • The chocolate ganache was infused with lavender and it was smooth and creamy, not fluid or hard and the quality was good.
  • The lavender was obvious, but not overpowering and for what it was it was simple and well made.
  • The variety of garnishes were quite impressive with a pink peppercorn, red wine, citric acid and pear gelee, sliced raw pears and a candied orange.
  • I was pleased to see no berries on anything since they aren’t in season yet, so the philosophy was quite well translated from start to finish.

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