Sherman's Food Adventures: Linh Café (Granville Street)

Linh Café (Granville Street)

It has been a long time coming, but I finally made it out to the Downtown Vancouver location of Linh Café.  Interesting spot really as it sits underneath the Granville Street Bridge a stone's throw from Fresh Street Market.  Compared to their much smaller original location, this one sports a full-service bar, open kitchen and many more seats.  They still feature most of their popular items including many more deluxe ones too.  This blog post is an amalgamation of 2 separate visits 2 days apart.

They have a featured menu at the moment where the first item is the BC Spot Prawns sautéed with garlic butter (also the option to have them deep fried).  Sure, this won't be available much longer, but we couldn't resist.  Good choice though as these were perfectly prepared.  Spot prawns are notoriously delicate and can overcook easily.  These were still buttery soft and tender.  They had all of the natural sweetness and the garlic butter was a delicious compliment.  We dipped the bread into it.

Staying with seafood, we got the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare atop avocado and dressed with soy and sesame oil.  It was served with a side of house made potato chips.  The was a study of textures and not necessarily about strong flavours.  The buttery soft tuna and avocado were balanced off by the crispy potato chips.  Since tuna is rather delicate in taste, the restraint with the soy ensured it wasn't overdressed.

On the other visit, we went for the Steak Tartare with shallots, capers and parsley.  This was also good with tender cut-to-order striploin.  They were not shy with seasoning it where the tanginess really came through as well as some noted spiciness.  Hence, every bite had layers of flavour where it started off tangy and gave way to the aromatics of the shallots and then finished off with spice.

We really enjoyed the Foie Gras Parfait as it was super smooth, appealingly sweet and full of aroma.  Of course the butteriness and creaminess of the parfait made it texturally delicious.  We had toasted house-made brioche on the side to act as a vessel for the parfait.  To compliment the richness of the foie gras, there was some tangy and sweet strawberry jam.  I actually didn't need any of that because I wanted the full force of foie gras on the airy brioche.

Since I wasn't ordering any dish with Fries, I decided to get a side of them.  Spoiler alert, I didn't get the Steak Frites because I got something a bit bigger...  Anyways, back to the fries, they were actually starch-coated.  Usually, I much prefer house-cut fries that are not coated in anything, but these were pretty good.  They were crispy with lots of potato goodness inside.  Unlike the Cavendish brand type of starch-coated fries, these didn't have that greasy sliminess.

Onto something that really piqued my interest when I first saw the menu - Lobster Benedict on brioche.   It featured a split butter-poached lobster tail with a runny poached egg in between.  Then it was topped with a seriously rich and thick Hollandaise sauce.  I found it to have quite a bit of acidity, which helped cut through the heaviness.  The egg was perfectly poached while the lobster had its classic rebound texture.  I liked this dish, but felt the Hollandaise was probably just a touch too rich.

Continuing with the larger items, we had the Ling Cod with baby bak choy and velouté.  The fish itself was prepared properly with flaky and moist meat while the skin was hard-seared until crispy.  There was enough seasoning for the fish, but the velouté underneath had good flavour and wasn't too thick from the roux.  There was some slight pepperiness to go with a surprising amount of acidity.  But it worked with the fish.

We also had the Brome Lake Duck Breast atop duck jus, glazed grapes and apples.  This was served medium where it was fairly tender and moist.  Loved the natural duck essence which was complimented by proper seasoning.  The duck jus added both moisture and body.  Underneath, the grapes and apples were cooked through being soft with lots of inherent sweetness activated by the cooking process.

Okay, we went big with the 40oz Côte de Boeuf (rib steak) that was prepared a perfect medium-rare.  It had been rested properly where the juices stayed within the meat.  That meat was super tender with natural meat texture while being well-salted.  Underneath, we found a creamy peppercorn sauce that was rich and only amped the decadence of the dish.  This was quite the steak and was enough for 2+ people.

Of course we couldn't forget about the Phở Bò with braised beef brisket.  There are many options on the menu to amp this bowl of pho, but we chose not to since we had enough food already.  So the basic bowl was pretty small in portion size.  I would say if you want this as your meal, you need to add extra noodle and meat.  We found the broth to be clean with deep flavours.  It was meaty and full-bodied bordering on salty.  The noodles were still a little soft while the beef was buttery and tender.  Yes, we added the chili vinegar condiment to this and yah, it tastes good.

For dessert, we had the Lemon Tart as well as the Matcha Cream Puff.  The lemon tart featured a firm, yet somewhat crumbly shell that the creamy lemon curd resided.  It was tangy with just enough sweetness. But our favourite was the cream puff.  The choux pastry was on point being crispy on the outside with a soft and airy inside.  The matcha cream in the middle was fairly light and not overly bitter.  It was a nice study in textures too.  Overall, the food at Linh was a quite good with a few standouts.  Sure, the prices are on the higher end, but what isn't these days.  Love the location as it is bigger and more spacious.  As good as the Pho was, I would recommend that you go to an actual Pho shop instead because you would get a better value.  Come for the French food though.

The Good:
- Nice dining space
- Excellent service
- Food is generally good

The Bad:
- Can get spendy
- Pho is delicious, but not a good value here


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