(this post was from this summer.)
I go back to Vancouver after about half a year or so, and every time I go back, I always make plans to meet with an old friend – none other than J. Lee herself, the co-author.
Catching up over social media versus the one on one meeting is just not the same and it was great sitting down and catching up over dinner.
I’ve never really been to the Cambie and Main area along broadway, so we thought to head over to Burdock and Co., as J eagerly suggested that she has been meaning to go there for the longest time. Once you’ve been away from your home city for awhile and only come back sparingly, you tend to feel like a tourist, so I let her lead the way.
Stepping into Burdock and Co, we were met with unfinished wood and white painted walls. The kitchen was at the back and because the space was greater in length than in width, it felt kind of crammed. Though, it was clear that the real colour was going to come form the food, as the restaurant was laid out to be not distracting but a comfort. If you go to their site, you can expect a similar feel in their location.
Service was timely and so we were sat and given apt time to decide on what to get. We skimmed the menu the night before, and J had been eyeing the Harvest Pork Belly Ramen, Candied Bacon, Nori, Fried Egg ($12), and so she made sure she got that.
Upon presentation, J and I were surprised that the egg was served sunny side up as the menu did specify “fried egg”, which implied that the egg would be thoroughly cooked. While the Candied bacon, Nori (dried seaweed, commonly found in all ramen bowls) and lettuce had very little to offer to the ramen, the Harvest Pork belly was quite memorable. While Ramen shops usually prepare it where the pork belly is tightly rolled up and then after cooked, is cut into medium – thin slices, this Pork belly was in a regular, rectangle cut. When the pork belly is rolled up, it retains flavour while cooking, but this one did not lack. Unfortunately there was only a small piece (in comparison to the rest of the ramen bowl), but it had a kind of crackled skin and the texture was a “melt in your mouth” goodness. The Ramen broth was nothing extremely special, but just “spicy”. Overall, it was a sort of confusing attempt at a remake of a Japanese classic that if it were to showcase it’s harvest pork belly, along with perhaps a more bodied soup and just some green onion instead, would have come out stronger.
I chose the Slow Roasted Bison Ribs, Spicy Tomato Glaze, Charred Green Onion ($18).
I wasn’t sure how Bison tasted like, so tasting this was like tasting a milder beef – it was tender and easy to get off the bone. The “Spicy” tomato glaze was spicy, but I think that even if it wasn’t, it would not take away from the flavour of the glaze – which was sweet and tart, but not overwhelming like the Bbq sauce that is normally lathered on ribs. The Tahini sauce is mild – but nothing much to be expected from it because its really just plain yogurt. What I found was the best addition to the dish was the charred green onion. It offered a smokiness and garlicky flavour that was very welcomed to an otherwise -even though well executed dish- was nothing too special (except that they used Bison, and not beef), and added a nice colour to the plate.
For dessert, we ordered the FarmHouse La Pyramide Cheese, Hives 4 Humanity Urban Honey ($12)
The bread (which I think was a French Baguette) was crisp and slightly burnt, which presentation wise was not the most appealing, but it went well with the sweetness of the Honey and the mild cheese. The Cheese was similar to brie in texture and mildness but tastes like a goat cheese, but not as strong. The wooden board was unexpected but nice, and this offered a subtle finish to the meal.
Burdock and Co., while impressive in its decor and overall settings and service, was kind of amiss in its food. Since our trip, they have expanded their menu with more appealing items. Is it worth the mini-splurge? If they make a few tweaks here and there, perhaps. But then again, to each their own, right?
Note: even though we order only three dishes, it was plentiful for J and I (average height asian females)