Sherman's Food Adventures: "Kick the Blues" Menu @ The Rise Eatery

"Kick the Blues" Menu @ The Rise Eatery

Ever since The Rise Eatery opened up shop on Granville near 15th in 2017, I had my eye on the place.  The heavily Asian-influenced menu is right up my alley.  However, for some reason or another, I totally forgot about the place.  Even through an entire softball season (where we play nearby), we ended up dining at Bin 4 several times and even a return visit to The Marquis.  Yes, these spots are literally down the street from The Rise Eatery and we didn't even think of going there for our post-game dinner.  Eventurally, it took a tasting of their "Kick the Blues" 3-course menu (available until Feb 3rd) to finally check out the place.  

Before we got to the food, we were served 2 of their signature cocktails including the Lolliwood North and Castaway.  With a melting cranberry popsicle, the combination of Joie Farm noble blend, lychee liquor and elderflower was strong enough to be noticed, but not enough to overwhelm.  So the balance of the sweetness and alcohol combined with the floral notes made for a refreshing cocktail.  Presented with a message in a bottle, the Castaway featured coconut rum, grapefruit aperitif, lime, olive brine and pickled pineapple.  As expected, this was tropical tasting and aromatic.  Again, the drink was balanced and smooth.  Essentially a beet carpaccio (or beet salad), A Different Beet sported orange cashew cream, mandarin oranges and pepitas.  This was a fairly simple and straightforward dish that was nicely plated.  The tender beets were lightly sweet and earthy where the orange definitely helped brighten up the flavours.  Loved the crunch from the sweet potato chips as they provided the necessary textural contrast.

My favourite of the 2 appies was the Larb Affair with ahi tuna, thai herbs, kefir lime oil and rice paper crisps.  This was a generous portion of buttery soft tuna that was dressed in classic larb seasoning.  Hence, we got the mild hits of fish sauce, mint and the impactful heat of the peppers.  With that being said, the spiciness was not over the top where we couldn't taste the tuna either.  Although it was a bit clumsy, the airy rice crisps were a nice eating vessel for the tuna.  By far, my favourite dish of the meal had to be the Uni-versal Pasta XO Edition.  Beyond its stunning appearance, all the components were expertly prepared and the flavours were well-thought out.  I found the squid ink pasta to be perfectly al dente while the briny sweet uni cream combined with the egg yolk bathed the entire dish in a silk richness. The XO sauteed prawns were meaty with a snap where the XO sauce provided a slight briny saltines spiciness, but was tempered so to not overtake the dish.

Onto the other 2 options for mains, we had the Belly-to-Belly 2.0 and Cheeky Business.  Served on a bed of kabocha rice and accented by buttered salted egg yolk, pickled apples and daikon, the bruleed kakuni smoked pork belly was a sight to behold.  For me, I loved the butteriness of pork belly, but if it is predominantly fat, I find it too heavy and lacking in substance.  This one here was more meaty with only streaks of rendered fat.  Therefore, it ate much leaner and was more robust.  There was just the right amount of smokiness and the crunchy skin was packed with caramelization and umaminess.  Presented as a fairly large portion, the star-anise braised beef cheek was fork tender and full-bodied.  The natural gelatinous texture of the cheek ensured a certain richness to the meat while the braise was flavourful, but not salty.  It was served atop a creamy cauliflower pomme puree and accompanied by charred root veggies.  The side of pinot gastrique helped add even more body to an already tasty protein.

For dessert, we had the Luv U So Matcha tart and the Pot of Gold.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much out of dessert, but the matcha tart blew me away.  The tart shell was appealingly firm and crunchy, even better than some patisseries.  No joke.  Nestled inside was airy and light matcha cheese that was not overly sweet, but full of aromatics.  I thought the raspberry coulis was provided the "pick me up" tang that enhanced the rest of the dessert.  Lastly, the dark chocolate pot de creme was also good.  It was semi-sweet with a slight bitter finish while the blueberry compote on top provided a mild fruity sweetness.  Adding crunch, we found honeycomb on top as well as some lemon chantilly.  For $30.00, this set menu is a bargain.  Considering some other options for the official Dine Out cost more, you can't go wrong with the well-prepared and appealing eats at The Rise.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Well-priced
- Flat out tasty food
- Balanced cocktails

The Bad:
- Nothing really bad to say about the food or pricing, but parking in the area can be tough

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