Sherman's Food Adventures: Tap & Barrel Shipyards

Tap & Barrel Shipyards

Location, location, location - that can refer to anything from a surprise on the sidewalk (think a dog) to where a restaurant is situated.  Most times, it can be a equalizing factor that can make up for other shortcomings.  Take a lot at Salmon House on the Hill and Horizons, great views with decent eats, but not extraordinary.  I guess Miku would be an exception as it combines an outstanding location with equally outstanding food.  Tap & Barrel seems to have the right idea in terms of location as both their Olympic Village, Convention Centre and Shipyards buildings are not only beautiful, they are all at the water's edge.

Milhouse and I thought that since we were playing hockey in North Van already and it was getting late, a visit to the newer Shipyards location was in order. We started with the Fried Pickles which were pretty good.  The pickle itself was juicy and just tart enough while the breading was on the thicker side.  Hence, it was pretty firmly crunchy, albeit heavy.  The side of aioli was creamy and spicy

Despite being late night, I went for the Steak Frites that sported a small sirloin with sea salted fries.  I requested medium-rare and my steak was pretty much bang onAs such, it was fairly tender and well-seasoned.  It was also properly rested where the juices stayed in the steak.  As for the frites, they were okay being crispy and light.  I found them to be a little bit dry though.  Milhouse went for the Fried Chicken Sandwich that featured an aggressively crunchy batter.  Underneath that, the chicken was fairly succulent while the whole thing was pretty sweet with a touch of spice.

On another visit, Milhouse, Lionel Hutz and myself shared a few items including the Pork Belly and Egg Pizza.  We've had it before at the Olympic Village location and this was not as good.  The egg was completely cooked through, so the texture was a bit rubbery and lacking the runny silkiness.  On the other hand, the pizza portion was on point being crispy with a slight chewiness while nicely seasoned.  There was some smokiness from the pork and the caramelized onions were definitely sweet.  We also got the Pulled Pork Mac n' Cheese which was only so-so.  The noodles were a little soft and the aged white cheddar sauce was runny and fairly bland.  It wasn't creamy either where it was more floury.  To top things off literally and figuratively, the pulled pork was dry and flavourless.

Our 3rd item was appreciably better.  The PB&J Burger featured chipotle peanut butter and bacon jam.  This combination resulted in nutty and sweet flavours as well as smoky and saltiness from the bacon jam.  Furthermore, there was some spice from the chipotle.  Add in the pickle and there was almost every flavour imaginable.  The brioche bun was fantastic being soft while not disintegrating, but the beef patty was a little dry.  Groundskeeper Willy went for the Cod and Chips which was on point.  The flaky and moist fish was coated in a thin batter than was flavourful and not greasy.  Okay, remember when I mentioned location?  Well, T&B has that down pat.  But how about the food?  For what it is, we believe the food is more than acceptableIs it awesome?  No.  But it does the job for fairly reasonable prices. 

The Good:
- Decent eats for this type of establishment
- Okay pricing considering everything
- Lively atmosphere

The Bad:
- Hey, it's a casual place to grab a drink AND get some food, so don't expect gourmet 
- Portion size is on the smaller side   


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