Oh great. Viv went on a shopping trip with her co-workers down to the States and both kiddies end up being sick. What horrible timing! I guess I deserve it though. She puts up with my exploits. Call it payback. Yet, an opportunity was born out of a potentially truly ugly situation. You see, my parents decided to give me a hand and feed the kiddies dinner. Hey, a 2-hour window to go out and grab a bite! I wasn't too enthused about doing it alone though, so I decided to check with good 'ol JS/TS from Eating Club Vancouver. They were game with one caveat. We had to go to Eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge. You see, TS bought a Groupon not too far back and really wanted to redeem it. No problem with that. We were having a heck of a time figuring out where to go anyways. You see, TS doesn't like to travel very far for food. There is like this imaginary wall around Knight Street and beyond. I'm surprised she even made it out to Surrey once for dinner! That's like another country for her!
Situated in a multi-level heritage house, Eight 1/2 is a quaint little restaurant tucked away on 8th Ave, a block West of Main Street. If the outside looks traditional and conservative, it doesn't prepare you for the nice renovations within. Looking very much like your typical modern bar/restaurant, it's a welcoming dining space. Better yet, the Canucks game was on! I could go eat and still watch the game. Unfortunately for us, there was no more pizza dough. So no pizza. What we did end up ordering were 2 appies to start with the first being the Mini Ukrainian Perogies. It seems that the trend towards making mini versions of popular foods is moving along without end. It's just something about little pieces of food. They're so darn cute! Anyways, cute doesn't necessarily mean good tasting. In this case, it did taste fine with the usual potato and cheese filling with caramelized onions. The exterior dough was not too thick and fried up until crisp. A good amount chrizo with sour cream and ancho chipotle drizzled on top rounded out the dish. The only issue I had was the temperature. Everything on the plate was lukewarm. Our second appie was the Halibut, Tuna & Shrimp Ceviche. This was not one of my favourites. There was too much acidity in the mix; thus overwhelming every single component. Furthermore, it appears they blanched the seafood rather than having it "cook" in the lemon juice. Not a huge issue; but I found that some of the seafood taste was lost as a result.
For my main, I went for meat in the form of the 10 oz Grass Fed Steak. I asked for mine to be cooked medium rare (closer to the rare side) and it was beautifully executed. Moreover, the meat was very tender and required very little effort to chew. The simplicity of its preparation allowed for the natural meat flavour to shine. Fluffy, creamy and garlicky, the roasted garlic mashed potatoes were also very good. The same can be said about the fresh, barely cooked carrots. TS went for something usually reserved for salmon. We see cedar plank salmon all the time; but not Cedar Plank Halibut. She thought the halibut was cooked perfectly. The dipping sauce was a citrus-soy sauce concoction that worked although there was not much lemongrass flavor as per the description on the menu. The fish and sauce components of the dish were good. The "risotto" that accompanied the fish was not. It wasn't a risotto by any stretch of the imagination and it was seriously bland. Also, she wasn't sure this risotto-type dish, even if it were successful, complemented the citrus-soy direction towards which the fish was heading.
JS had a hard time deciding and settled on the Pacific Bacon Mini-Burgers. As described on the menu, they are 3 local BC beef patties, Pacific pepper cheddar, alder smoked bacon, Dijon aioli and fresh corn salsa. Overall, the burgers were pretty good except slightly oversauced. Furthermore, the artistic sauce underneath made it messy to pick up. Mind you, sometimes the messier the burger is, the tastier it is. In general, the food with this visit to Eight 1/2 was not bad, except for a few things. With that being said, all of the proteins were cooked perfectly and were quite good. It's really too bad we couldn't try their pizzas because they ran out of dough (and really the reason why TS wanted to try the place out in the first place). However, with the items we did try, it showed that Eight 1/2 is a decent enough place to grab a drink, feed oneself and even catch the game on TV.
- Well-executed proteins
- Relaxed and comfortable atmosphere
- A few misses with the food
- Not expensive; but not inexpensive either