Friday, 10 May 2013

Cork & Fin-tastic!

May 1, 2013

Another Gastown pearl all Vancouver dwellers should try.

Located half a block away (much to my surprise!) from the object of a previous blog post, Pidgin, the Cork & Fin is exactly what it's name promises: wine and seafood, with a twist! (get it? you twist the cork...)

Happily for me, this was the Canucks' first game of the playoffs, so there weren't many people out for a nice meal, which left my table and another guy to occupy our waiter, Rodney - who was down to earth, charming, attentive without being annoying, and incredibly knowledgeable about everything on the menu.

As we walked in, Rodney informed us that we were just in time for "Buck a Shuck" oysters, so we ordered 18. Probably the freshest oysters I have ever had, and these guys only solidified my opinion that west coast oysters are better than east coast. (I hope that I didnt just lose a few followers for that comment!)

The 2009 Chenin blanc from the Okanagan Valley complimented the oysters quite well, and showed its chameleon-like tasting notes once we started the first of our three-course tasting menu, which costs less than $40. The first course was a cold salad composed of shaved cucumbers, peeled gem tomatoes and a pile of fresh dungeness crab, all bathing in what they called "tomato water". The waiter gave us a spoon saying that we'd probably want to drink the water... I was doubtful until I tasted the unique combination of acidity from the gem tomatoes, coolness of the cucumber and viscosity of a clearly high quality olive oil. If it wasn't rude, I would have licked the bowl.

Our second course was even more impressive - a generous portion of salmon tartare, topped with a 5-10 egg and sturgeon caviar, accompanied by pickled shallots. Flavour bomb! After I finished, I wish that I had ordered that dish, twice.

Now, I am not sure if I was just fully satiated, or simply unenthused by the last course, but I found myself quite neutral toward the Ling cod. While it was cooked perfectly, encrusted with hazelnuts, the overall result was luke warm.

What will a remember specifically about Cork & Fin? Not the oysters or outrageous value for quality in the 3-course menu, no. It will be the quirky olive oil ice cream that I had for desert, which came with homemade peanut brittle. You don't know what you've been missing your whole life, until you taste this ice cream.

- Rating: Definitely worth the trip to Gastown!

- Rachel

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