Since I could bring a guest to the Pop Up Soda Shoppe by Swallow Tail, I immediately thought of Bear. After all, he is my defacto dessert expert. Wait. I really wasn't intending on asking him first... I was going to ask Mijune, but she was already invited on her own. So yes, Bear was my second choice. Sorry Bear... Mijune looks better than you. It's a fact. But similar to Mijune, Bear loves to eat and we decided to meet up for dinner prior to hitting the sweets. Hey, there were no objections on my part! So we headed down somewhere close by to our final destination of the night, which was the Ridge Theatre.
Located amongst high-end stores and other established restaurants such as West and Vij's, it would appear that Ouisi Bistro is somewhat of a curiosity in the neighbourhood. Judging by their pricing, we thought it fit in just fine... As a starter, we were presented with some Cornbread. A touch dry, we found it to be pretty decent and of course, it didn't hurt to have a side of butter. The most interesting appetizer in my eyes was the Gator Bites. These were sauteed in a hot n' spicy sauce with a dollop of Cajun tartar sauce. I've had alligator in the past and this was pretty much what I expected. The texture was akin to pork with only the slightest tinge of fishiness. The sauce was indeed spicy and zesty. We were okay with this dish, but didn't love it either.
Next up was the Seafood Chowder in a tomato broth with sweet potatoes and veggies.They split into 2 bowls so we could share (therefore, the regular portion is double what you see in the picture). I found the chowder to be quite mild and tomatoey. The veggies were crunchy while the use of salmon belly resulted additional flavour. I really wished that there was more depth of flavour. We ended up sharing 2 main dishes starting with the Jambalaya. It consisted of tomatoes, smoked ham, andouille & chorizo sausage and two sautéed Gulf prawns. This was a very hearty offering where there was barely any rice. Instead, there were large chunks of sausage and 2 nicely prepared prawns. The spice level was noticeable while not really spicy. The dish was quite tomatoey and tart. The veggies in the dish were firm, yet tender.
Our second dish was the Ale Marinated Chicken Thighs & Hot Smoked Duck Sausage Gumbo. It arrived looking very rich and dark. The roux was thick, nutty and buttery with a noticeable ale hit. The sauce started with a bite and finished with an unpleasant ale bitterness. The chicken thigh was super moist and tender while the duck sausage had a firm, yet easy-to-eat texture. There was no mistaking it was made of duck due to the "duckiness" (is that a word?). As part of the entrees, we could select 2 sides each. We decided on Rice & Beans, Creamed Corn, Potato Salad and Veggies. Everything was pretty typical except for the veggies as they were soggy. Also, the creamed corn was pretty good being creamy and buttery, yet there was too much vinegar which we didn't care for. Overall, our meal was fine for what it was. Sure, some Louisiana purists might think otherwise, but then again, there aren't a whole lot of Cajun restaurants in Vancouver either...
- Something different
- Energetic vibe
- Food is quite heavy, but that is not really a bad since it usually is
- Food is okay, but not really that memorable either