Rogue Kitchen and Wet Bar

Gadget Girl doesn't like to go out of her comfort zone when it comes to late night eats after Friday hockey. So much so, we have to eliminate areas such as Downtown and the North Shore (although we play our games on the North Shore... ???). So when a few of us decided to head to Rogue after the game, we had to think of a game plan to convince her to join us. Think of it, Downtown is only a mere 10 minutes or so from the 2nd Narrows if one uses Powell. And since it is late night eats, parking shouldn't be an issue in terms of cost or availability. Yes. That was the argument we were gonna use on her. Well, it was all for naught because Sweet Tooth had actually driven Gadget Girl to the game. She was our food hostage! Bwahahaha...

Another reason I suggested Rogue was due to the fact I had been there earlier in the day on the Taste Vancouver Food Tour of Gastown. The sample of Lobster Mac n Cheese was pretty impressive and since they open late, it was an obvious choice. On that note, Rogue was one of the only stops on the food tour to offer up a sample large enough to get a good gauge of the food. Hence, it lured me back. The other stops (other than Brioche) had tiny portions that didn't leave a lasting impression. As the adage says, "you only get out what you put in"... I digress.

So despite being hopping for a Friday night, we were able to score a table quickly. In order to get a good idea of their menu, I decided to share some things with Gordo. However, I had the Fries X3 all to myself. It included 3 types of fresh cut kennebec fries: Poutine, Truffle Oil & Parmesan and Gorgonzola Cream & Bacon. First or all, the fries were pretty good on their own being crispy and having that "fresh cut" quality. The cheese curds in the poutine were squeaky while the gravy was thick and mild. My favourite of the 3 had to be the truffle oil and & Parm because the fries maintained their crisp texture. Moreover, the right amount of truffle "mustiness" and salty Parm made them quite tasty. The gorgonzola cream was creamy and rich. It wasn't as sharp as I would've liked as it was quite mild.

Onto the items I did share with Gordo... We had the Seafood Linguine with prawns, scallops, salmon, halibut, lemon, herbs, red and yellow peppers. This was a fairly generous portion with al dente pasta and a considerable amount of lemon flavour (with lots of garlic and herby taste as well). For me, that was really appealing because more often than not, seafood pasta can be pretty bland. I was a bit indifferent with the large amount of crunchy veggies though. On one hand it offered up a textural contrast, yet on the other, it "got in the way" of the pasta. If the seafood wasn't overcooked, this would've been really good. Our second item was the Spicy Tiger Prawn Pesto Pizza (prawns, red onion, pesto, mozza, feta, grana padano Parmesan) which was actually quite spicy. It was just spicy enough to add a kick without overwhelming the rest of the ingredients. The prawns had a nice snap and were naturally sweet. The crust was mostly crispy on the outer edge while being soft in the middle. We thought the pizza was more than acceptable.

Gordo didn't stop there either and got an order of the Lobster Mac n' Cheese for good measure. Consisting of four cheeses, mac and lobster, this has been one of the better versions I've had lately. I like that they use a variety of lobster meat rather than just from the claw (since it is kinda spongy). Also, the mac is al dente while there is just enough sauce. So the mac is not wet and it not too rich either. The crumb topping adds texture and I appreciate that the whole thing doesn't reek of truffle oil. Moving over to Gadget Girl and Emilicious, they shared 2 dishes beginning with the Baha Fish Tacos. Although the menu stated Basa, we were informed they used Mahi-Mahi instead. It was Cajun-spiced with avocado cream, mango salsa, house coleslaw wrapped in white flour tortillas. When it arrived, it looked to be rather small in size, but then again, there was a good amount of fish and mango. Despite being $14.00, they thought it was well-worth it since the fish was moist and flavourful while the abundance of mango really amped the flavour quotient. For their second dish, they had the Coconut Poached Chicken Salad (snap peas, red and yellow peppers, mango, mixed greens, cashews, thin Asian noodles in a sesame soy dressing). This was a really mild tasting salad with fresh ingredients which provided different textures.

Bear and Milhouse also had the Lobster Mac n' Cheese as well as the 9.2 oz Rogue Burger with house ground sirloin (cooked to medium) with bacon and cheddar on a sesame brioche bun. The patty was juicy and moist, and when combined with the rest of the fresh ingredients, it turned out to be a solid burger. The brioche bun became a bit soft on the bottom because of the moisture content, yet still held together until the last bite. Now when it came to desserts, Bear was all over it. He went for the biggest one being the Apple Pie & Ice Cream. It arrived in a cast iron pan and somewhat resembled a galette. The "crust" was actually puff pastry which was flaky and crispy. The sliced apples on top were soft with still some appleness to them. The pie wasn't very sweet where the ice cream made up for it. Sweet Tooth and Gordo shared the Hot Fudge Sundae and well, it was a large sundae. Not bad, just a bit too much whipped cream. Lastly, Milhouse and Emilicious had the White Chocolate Cheesecake with an oreo crust, dark berry compote and caramel drizzle. The cheese cake was smooth and rich. Pretty good for late night eats. Actually, we agreed that practically everything was either decent or above-average. Of course nothing would win any culinary awards, but Rogue is pretty good for this class of restaurant.

The Good:
- From the sample size we had, the food was above-average
- Place has a good vibe and decor
- Diverse menu

The Bad:
- Service was mostly attentive (especially the drink refills) but there were long gaps where we couldn't find our server
- Portion size varied from dish-to-dish (naturally, the ones with more expensive ingredients were smaller)

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