My day started at 8:00am and didn't end until 5:30pm with a meeting in Ladner. Yes, call me a wimp, I'm not used to this type of schedule! I had made arrangements to meet up with Whipping Girl and TS from [eating_club Vancouver] for dinner after my meeting. Now, if you ever tried driving in from Ladner into downtown during rush hour, you'll understand my utter frustration. When 5 lanes of highway traffic must merge into 1 lane, mass chaos and congestion erupts. After I got through the tunnel, I had to navigate Vancouver traffic to get to downtown. Most people want to escape downtown during this time. Of course I was doing the complete opposite and got stuck on the Burrard street bridge. What was I doing on the Burrard street bridge when our destination was on Granville??? You see, Whipping Girl did not want to walk to the restaurant. Thus, I had to fight through Burrard all the way to Dunsmuir to pick her up. Upon picking her up, I had to navigate through traffic back to Granville and Helmcken. That detour took over 30 minutes. When we arrived, we tried to get the only window seat; but it was taken by a large group. Now if we were on time...
Well, I hold no ill feelings towards Whipping Girl because she is a good dining partner and those are not easy to find! Together with TS, we decided to share 2 pounds of the mussels to start. On Tuesdays, 1 pound of mussels is only $8. Another special was their 3 course meal for $25.00. TS and I were all over that. TS ordered the Prawns and the Pan-Seared BC Halibut. I went for the Snails and the Beef Bourguignon. Whipping girl decided on the Cured BC Duck Breast. We actually all decided to share everything so we could get a taste of every dish.
The Mussels arrived with frites on top and that probably contributed to them being soggy. They tasted fine, especially dipped into the tomato herb cream; yet they lacked crispiness. The mussels themselves were sweet and not a single one was unopened (although they weren't that plump). Luckily we got complimentary rolls since we used them to mop up any remaining cream at the bottom. One note about the dinner rolls, they are quite dense, one is more than enough. Up next were the Grilled Prawns with chipotle, thyme, garlic & fresh melon salsa. The prawns were cooked nicely retaining it's crunch when bitten into. Eaten with the melon, the sweetness of the melon and prawn was quite refreshing. I would have have liked a bit of acidity like lime juice to further enhance the flavours.
The Garlic Snails were prepared with leek, mushrooms, caramelized shallots, tomato basil sauce, fresh arugula. There was an impressive quantity of snails on the plate. As we kept eating them, there always seemed to be more. Personally, I'm not a big fan of snails and tomato sauce. I prefer them in a simple butter and garlic sauce. That way I can enjoy their flavour and texture without anything overpowering. I find the acidity in tomato sauce a poor compliment to the tender snails. It's also the same with frog legs, I really don't like them with tomato sauce, only butter and garlic. With that being said, the dish wasn't horrible, in fact, I enjoyed eating them despite the fact I don't prefer them.
While we were waiting for our mains to show up, we realized that the big group ended up moving to a table in the back. I was so choked that the one window seat was never used! Argh! Anyways, the Beef Bourguignon was very rich in red wine flavour. It was prepared very well since it had the richness of the red wine and shallots; but did not have much in the way of bitterness. Although the beef had been cooked for a long time in the sauce, it was curiously dry. We hypothesized that the cut of meat might have been too lean. Regardless of that, the dish itself was quite good.
The Cured BC Duck with ratatouille, potato puree and cherry chutney was impressively presented on the plate. The duck itself was quite salty due to the curing. However, if combined with the chutney and ratatouille, it helped cut the saltiness and became more balanced. With that being said, we probably would have all preferred the duck confit instead. TS' Halibut came with ratatouille, artichoke puree, baby carrots and corn relish. The halibut itself was ever-so slightly overcooked; yet was still quite good. Combined with the relish and ratatouille, the sweetness from the corn and peppers really complimented the halibut. One nit-picking observation was that the asparagus was overcooked, although the green beans and carrots were excellent.
Rounding out the 3 course meal were the desserts. I went with the Lavender Creme Brulee and TS opted for the Profiteroles with Hazelnut Ice Cream. We peer pressured Whipping Girl into getting the Chocolate Terrine so we could try it. She folded like a deck of cards or maybe she just felt guilty in getting me to pick her up. Again, we shared the desserts. We thought that the creme brulee was a little on the light side and could have stood to be a bit more luxurious. Yet, it was still very good and TS enjoyed cracking the burnt sugar on top. The profiteroles were a bit hard to eat since the choux pastry was a bit stiff, possibly from the cold hazelnut ice cream (which was divine). The terrine was quite large and beautifully presented. The chocolate was decadent and the layer of coulis running through it gave a nice fruity contrast to the dish. The sorbet added some much needed lightness to the rich chocolate.
After we finished our meal, we were stuffed and I wasn't even remotely thinking of having a Filet-o-Fish. Overall, the food was pretty good and at these prices, it was downright excellent. The Twisted Fork is a little gem hidden among XXX shops along Granville. It is an area in transition; but with restaurants like the Twisted Fork, it definitely helps change the landscape.
- Outstanding value
- Food is both plentiful and delicious
- Service was friendly and casual
- Small restaurant, it can fill up fast
- The location is still in a seedy area, but it's changing