This re-visit to Tuc Craft Kitchen has been a long time coming. As much as I enjoyed my initial visit, there have been a slew of other restaurants I needed to try (and some I still haven't gotten to). But really, I was pretty anxious to return because the last time, I only tried 4 dishes during their lunch service. I did consider enlisting the help of Whipping Girl, but she has gone MIA as of late (busy whipping? er..) Anyways, thanks to Doc and The Ringer, we checked out Tuc late after the Canucks final game of the season.
We began with their signature dish being the Gelderman Farms Pork Belly Cracklings with coarse salt and on the side, star anise red wine reduction. I felt they executed this better than last time as each nugget of pork belly was firmly crisp on the outside while still retaining a moist meatiness (last time, it was more dry throughout). Of course we couldn't forget about the wine reduction as it provided the nicely tart and aromatic balance to the rich pork belly. Next up, we tried the Parsnip and Smashed Potato Fries with toasted coriander ketchup. The smashed potato fries were pretty much as described being large and potatoey with a lightly crisp exterior. Light and crunchy, the parsnip ate like shoestring fries. Although not a particularly exciting dish, the side of coriander ketchup was money as there was a fragrant tangy sweetness.
Although their cracklings are addictively good, we felt the Australian Orange Glazed Lamb Ribs were off-the-charts. First of all, the amount of lamb was quite generous. Secondly, the lamb was super moist and succulent. But third and most importantly, the jalapeno pepper orange glaze hit our palates with full force. It started off sweet and citrusy, then moved onto a background spice that was just right. Next, we moved onto a larger dish in the Cabernet Braised Double R Ranch Beef Cheeks with red wine glace, gratin potatoes, shallots & wilted spinach. Don't let the size of the cast iron pan fool you, there was a significant amount of rich, succulent beef cheeks nestled within the creamy and cheesy potatoes. Unlike many other restaurants, they were able to infuse a noticeable amount of flavour in the beef cheeks without being just plain salty. There was depth from the Cabernet to go with the natural gelatinous flavour of the cheeks.
Staying with red meat, the Port Glazed Grass Fed Beef Short Ribs arrived next. This was accompanied by caramelized pearl onions, kohlrabi, herb nugget potatoes and chocolate port sauce. Much like the beef cheeks, the short ribs were fall apart tender while retaining an appealing amount of moisture. Although more mild in flavour, the meat was the beneficiary of a rich reduction which was slightly sweet and a touch smoky. At the same time, we tackled the Braised Pork and Cranberry Chutney consisting of herb roasted Fraser Valley pork shoulder, double smoked bacon, roasted nugget potatoes and cranberry chutney. The pork shoulder itself was somewhat dry, but the ample amount of sauce (which was somewhat similar to the previous dish except more meaty and mild). I found that the tart cranberries helped bring brightness to the dish.
Moving away from the pork and beef, we had the Pacific Seafood Stew with pacific oysters, Lake Louise steelhead trout, manila clams, salt spring island mussels, basmati rice and lemon grass & white wine broth. At first, Viv thought the rice was underdone, but as it began to soak up the ample creamy broth, it was just right. The white wine was not that apparent while we did get a hint of lemongrass. All the seafood was on point, especially the trout as it was moist and flaky. For dessert, we shared the Doughnuts with spiced rum caramel sauce. As much as the doughnuts themselves were greasy and a bit too fried (moist cakiness though), the side of caramel sauce was money. It was purposefully sweet with a touch of booze. Once again, Tuc Craft Kitchen didn't disappoint. Fantastic food at a reasonable price point.
- Dependable and solid food
- Reasonably-priced for what you get
- Nice vibe
- Not really a bad, but the menu could diversify a bit as there are very similar dishes
- Dessert selection is small