Sherman's Food Adventures: Two Rivers Meats

Two Rivers Meats

Ever since Miss Y went on the Paleo diet, I've been trying to find places that could either fit within that diet or come close.  One of the newer spots in town that nearly satisfies this criteria is Two Rivers Meats out in North Van.  They combined their fabulous meat shop with a counter-service restaurant that is truly the definition of farm-to-table when it comes to the meats.  We headed out there in hopes of trying their beef tartare, but alas, due to the health inspectors, this was temporarily off the menu.  No matter, there was still lots to choose from.

Before we got to the things we ordered, they presented us with a nice little bite consisting of Tallow Popcorn.   For those who aren't familiar, beef tallow is essentially rendered beef fat.  This may sound highly unhealthy, but compared to frying in vegetable oils that change composition under high heat, beef tallow does not.  Whilst eating the peppery and salty popcorn, I didn't notice it to be greasy in any way.  We began with the Charred Chicken Drumsticks dressed with jalapeno buffalo sauce.  I found the meat to be tender and succulent, but the drumsticks could've been charred more aggressively as I didn't get much smokiness.  The sauce on the other hand was super impactful being spicy (lingering) and tangy.

For my main, I went for the Bavette Steak with a side of Tallow Fries.  It was prepared a beautiful medium-rare.  The meat was super tender with a bite while being juicy.  It was nicely charred on the outside where it was smoky and crispy.  The herbed butter on top added all the aromatics and seasoning the steak needed.  The tallow fries were very crispy and not greasy.  On another visit with, we went for the featured steak once more with the 6 oz. Wagyu Tri-Tip.  It was nicely charred, seasoned and topped with the same silky herbed butter.  We asked for it to be prepared medium-rare and it was done so perfectly and evenly.  The meat itself was juicy and well-rested.  Due to the our requested doneness, some of the rich fat in the steak was not rendered, hence being a bit chewy.  But that would be our fault, not theirs.

We also ended up sharing the Pork Cracklings that were more like fried pork belly bites a la Tuc Craft Kitchen style.  However, unlike Tuc, these were much larger and far less rendered.  Hence, they were lightly crispy on the outside, but very fatty otherwise.  They weren't bad per se, but we couldn't eat all of it due to that.  They were well-seasoned, but then again, something like an acid would've been good to cut down the heaviness.  Lastly, we had the Dry Aged Cheeseburger with a side of tallow fries.  We liked the bun as it was soft and airy, but still held everything together.  The patty was juicy, but curiously dense and not as impressive as we would've expected from Two Rivers.  Also, the decision to use processed cheese was another curiosity.  We also added bacon and it was fantastic being crispy and meaty with rich smoked flavours.   After these 2 visits, we came away only mildly happy.  The meat quality and execution of the steaks were pretty much on point, but the rest of the items were average at best.  Lots of potential here though.

The Good:

- Fresh meat, really...
- Steaks executed expertly
- Good tallow fries

The Bad:
- Other items were average
- A little pricey for the type of restaurant

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