Dining Review: Straight and Marrow – Vancouver, Canada
Our first dinner in Vancouver! Located in the East Village neighborhood, opened in July 2020 and survived the craziness of the pandemic, and featured almost all of our favorite dishes – this dining spot easily made its way as one of our coveted dining spots for this trip.
We were the first to arrive at open and got to pick our seats so we decided to grab the bar to get more interactions with the staff. This fun and intimate interior featured a crew of four guys making dreams a reality – two in the kitchen, one working the bar, and one filling in all the rest. It was obvious from the second we sat down this was a passion that is succeeding because of the dedication to their vision to give quality ingredient in a creative way.
This menu had many of our must try menu items so we could hardly contain our excitement and had a very difficult time narrowing down our selections. The small plate style menu was right up our alley to allow us to try more dishes and we had flexibility to add more along the way.
For drinks, I ordered a glass of wine (Marichel Viognier from Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada) and Kevin ordered from the cocktail list – his recent Spritz obsession has spilled over into restaurant life so it has been fun to explore cocktails. The bartender was fantastic in picking something that fitted his taste and went with the Sea Serpent – Long Table Akvavit, Temper Rum, Bitter Bianco, Dry Vermouth, Cucumber Bitters.
Bone Marrow – pickle shiiake, porcini dust, chicken cracklin’
It is hard for us to ignore bone marrow on a menu and we almost did until the server encouraged us to try their version and we did not regret it! This bone marrow was prepared wonderfully, a great size, and the addition of the pickled mushrooms added such a great acidity to the dish that counterbalanced the fat. We both agreed the addition of the pickled mushrooms was a brilliant move. And the chicken cracklin?? Forget it. This is one of our favorite renditions of bone marrow to date.
Lamb Sweet Bread Tonnato – celery curls, charred sourdough, parmesan crisp
Sweet breads are one of our favorites and something we see even less frequently than bone marrow on menus, especially in USA. We love Canada for offering french style dishes! These little gems of sweet breads were perfectly prepared and seasoned. The bread was a good accompaniment to soak up the fat and the parmesan crisps offered a great contrast in texture and that salty bite. I feel like we blinked and the dish was cleaned of everything!
Soft Shell Crab – crab butter aoli, green cabbage slaw, avocado salsa, prosciutto crisp
And soft shell crab??? The only thing missing from this menu was foie gras and zucchini blossums and all my favorites would have been on one menu! This soft shell crab reminded me of the version we recently had at Her Place Supper Club by using the crab as a salad. This dish was a rainbow of flavors and we made sure to allocate each ingredient equally. The stand out of the plate was the crab butter aoli which isnt butter at all but an emulsion of oil with the crab brain and this was dynamite – if they sold it as a squirt bottle we would have bought them out. We could have each had one of these plates it was so delicious.
Pork Belly – scallops spatzel, lobster bisque, mustard greens
Pork belly can be hit or miss and it was definitely a hit here. The pork belly was prepared by pressing it to make the layers nice a thin which really gave the pork belly a great texture without losing the juiciness of the fat. The flavors on the plate were so good – scallop spatzel was super creative and I will we had an entire bowl of that lobster bisque.
Chicken and Waffles – fried chicken oysters, red eye gravy, brown butter powder, burnt honey
We ordered all the above and still felt that we could fit one more plate and it was a tough decision to pick the lucky dish. We ultimately selected the chicken and waffles – I do not think there was a bad decision to be made on this menu. I love chicken oysters used for chicken and waffles and all the separate ingredients made the dish pop with savory and sweet notes. Just such a fun dish.
We had to make sure we left enough room to try two of the three dessert offerings. With the main dishes being so incredible, dessert was a no brainer.
S’more – flexible chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallow, bourbon pecan candy graham
The more traditional dessert but done up as the fanciest s’mores we have had. The chocolate was not overpowering and have a great consistency. What really hit the grand slam was the bourbon pecan candy graham – a great combination of flavors all in one bite.
Hoof Wing and Fin Mille Feuille – puff pastry, chicken liver mouse, fish sauce caramel, duck fat icing sugar
The dish that sent this restaurant straight to the top of our must try list. Ever since we had the foie gras mousse in Quebec and the foie gras profiteroles in Portland, OR, I have been a huge fan of this sweet and savory combo. This dessert did not disappoint! The ability to mix such savory ingredient with sweet elements is such a talent – fish sauce caramel and duck fat icing??? Get out of here. Could have had this dish over and over again.
We loved our dining experience at Straight and Marrow. It certainly has followed in line with our previous trips to big cities that the good stuff – the really good stuff – the new, exciting, and experimental stuff – you will find outside the downtown area and in neighborhoods like East Village. If we lived here I could honestly see ourselves as regular visitors to experience all the new dishes and flavors the chef puts together as a part of a rotating menu of what is fresh, in season, and new. We cannot recommend Straight and Marrow enough for your Vancouver dining!