For the longest time, The Cannery was one of the most popular seafood joints in town. Sure, the decor was a bit rustic (and so was the food to a degree), but who could forget their Lobster Oil, Seafood Platter, Salmon Wellington and Lobster Bisque? Before "trendy" was a word in Vancouver, The Cannery was an ol' standby. Sadly, with the expansion of the port and post 9-11, there were security concerns that led to the closure of The Cannery at its unique and scenic location. Instead of resurrecting it at another spot, it was left to live out its last days at the very location that stood since 1971. But a few years ago, Edward Geekiyanage, who was the lunch chef at The Cannery, opened up The Pink Peppercorn out on Kingsway & Knight. And yes, you guessed it, he brought all the favourites (including the lobster oil and a few former employees) to the place. I originally wanted to hit up the place 2 years ago, but somehow it just never happened. So with Costanza treating for dinner, I suggested we head there (although he was thinking along the lines of McD's LOL...).
Now if you were looking for a tricked out modern abode, please move along to the closest Glowbal Group restaurant instead. This place has a 70's charm about it. We were greeted by our server, who was decked out with a Cannery apron and tie clip. Shortly after, we were presented with what I consider as one of the top 40 things to eat in Vancouver - their signature Lobster Oil with balsamic vinegar. Super aromatic and just downright yummy, I've never wanted to soak my bread in so much fat in my life. It made me want to do a Joey in Friends where he only ate the bread and drank water at a fancy restaurant. No, we didn't leave after the bread, rather, we started with some appies including the Warm Spinach, Prawn & Papaya Salad with cilantro, chili garlic dressing. There was no way anyone could use the word bland with this offering. It was zesty and spicy. The prawns were cooked beautifully where they had a firm snap and a natural sweetness. Where the salad fell flat, figuratively and literally, was the obscene amount of dressing. It wilted the spinach excessively and there may have been too much flavour.
For myself, I went for the classic Lobster Bisque with baby shrimp. Rich, thick and full of lobster flavour, this was exactly how I remembered it. However, there was a tad too much cognac, which overwhelmed the flavours somewhat. But honestly, I really didn't care as I tried to eat every drop. Costanza and Elaine shared the Panko Crust Pan Goat Cheese Salad with scallion, Dijon and balsamic dressing. It was interestingly plated surrounded by a garden of mesclun greens. The round of cheese was pan fried nicely with a golden exterior which was crunchy. It contrasted well with the soft cheese. Okay, I'm not going to delay this any further... This visit was about the classics and we couldn't do without the Salmon Wellington. This massive amount of food was The Cannery's signature item in terms of execution and quantity. It consisted of local salmon, fresh baby shrimp & mushroom duxelle baked in a golden puff pastry served with a side of Pinot Noir Sauce. I am happy to report that nothing has changed as the portion size could be only described as large. The thick piece of salmon was still moist while the mushroom duxelle added a woodsy essence. The whole thing was enveloped by a beautiful golden brown crispy puff pastry. The heavily reduced pinot noir sauce was thick and rich.
For my main, I went for the chef's creation which was a filet of John Dory Fish with a lobster tarragon mushroom sauce. The fish was prepared properly being flaky and moist. The plethora of sauce was welcomed as it was flavourful with a nice mix of lobster, Earthy mushrooms and sweetness. Costanza had our least favourite dish being the Pacific Rim Seafood Pasta Linguine. Nothing wrong with the bounty of mussels, clam, smoked Alaskan black cod, Bay scallops toasted in pesto cream sauce, as they were cooked perfectly. And there was nothing amiss with the pasta as it was al dente. The problem was the sauce. There was far too much of it and it was way too sweet. Looking conspicuously like the aforementioned pasta, Viv's West Coast Bouillabaisse was infinitely better. It consisted of fresh fish, shellfish & julienne vegetables, simmered in atomato saffron & fennel broth. Once again, there was essence of lobster in there, yet we weren't complaining as it added a certain level of depth to the broth. Viv is usually not a fan of anything licorice but the she liked how the fennel added another layer of flavour. Once again, the seafood was prepared exquisitely where the fish was moist and flaky while the shellfish was just cooked.
After the really large portions, were weren't all that hungry but forced ourselves to share 2 desserts starting with the Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble (a la mode). Although the filling was a nice balance of sweet and tartness, we found the crumble on top too excessive and dry, it could've used a touch more moisture. As for the Cheesecake, it was pretty standard. I found the edges to be slightly gummy, but the centre was creamy and dense. Although the desserts were anti-climatic, the rest of the food was quite good in a non-modern kinda way (except for the pasta). Plating was not really all that interesting and refinement might've been lacking, not to mention the high prices (considering the neighbourhood). Yes, there are things that might lead me down the path of "not like" on Urbanspoon. However, the Pink Peppercorn brought us back to the days of The Cannery and that my friends, is what the place is all about.
- Large portions
- Nicely executed seafood
- Professional service
- A little lacking in refinement
- Pricey, but worth it
- Cramped seating