WildTale Coastal Grill

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With 2017 Dine Out Vancouver underway, our first dine out of the year was at WildTale Coastal Grill in Yaletown. The interior has a rustic charm and is great as a date night spot.

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The Dine Out menu this year is $30 per person for three courses with wine pairings and add-ons available for extra charge.

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WildTale Seafood Chowder

S started off with the WildTale Seafood Chowder which came with a corn and crab fritter. I found the chowder to be very flavourful and probably best of the night. However, the chowder was extremely small even for an appetizer. Looks like they gave us half the portion because of dine out.

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Albacore Tuna Carpaccio

For myself, I had the Albacore Tuna Carpaccio with a baby gem citrus salad. The tuna itself was not seasoned and therefore really required the citrus fruits to enhance the flavour. Still, I found the dish to be rather bland and the tuna texture doesn’t really work well as a carpaccio since it’s rather mushy.

 

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Herb Crusted Wild Soho Salmon

For his entree, S got the Herb Crusted Wild Soho Salmon, which came with risotto, bay scallops and brown butter caper sauce. S actually disliked the dish and ended up trading it with mine. The salmon itself was cooked to medium rare, but we found it to be almost slightly undercooked. Definitely not dry, but parts of it was almost raw. The cook on the salmon was not the biggest issue. I think it was the sauce it came with and the risotto. Something about the flavour was really off and was too strong in lemon juice. Not sure if it’s just our personal preference, but we didn’t like the flavours at all.

 

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7 Hour Braised Alberta Beef Short Rib

For myself, I ordered the 7 Hour Braised Alberta Short Rib which came with a celeriac pomme puree and roasted bone marrow jus. The short rib was very tender and came apart easily, but again, the flavour was off. I wish they had marinated the short rib ahead of time as the inside of the beef was very bland and you really had to soak in as much jus as you could. The puree itself was pretty good though, but the overall dish was quite bland in flavours.

 

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Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

There was only one option for dessert, which was the Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse and it came with a housemade biscotti. I found it odd that our two jars were different, and I thought they should’ve at least presented the same types of jars for the same tables if they were short on jars. The mousse itself was also extremely sweet given the menu name said it was bittersweet. You really needed to mix it with the cream or it was too overwhelming. Still, we couldn’t finish the jar as it was quite sweet.

Overall, we were quite disappointed with our experience at WildTale for their Dine Out menu. I hope this is just a one off whereby their regular menu is executed much better. I understand that they are busy during dine out, but I was extremely surprised how fast the food came out. It was as if everything had been prepared in advance. Our total dinner took 45 minutes because of how fast our food came out. It almost felt uncomfortable as we had no breaks between our food. We personally also did not really enjoy any of the dishes on the dine out menu. Nothing blew our mind and made us want to come back. We’ll have to try their regular menu on a normal day to really see how it compares.

Pros:
– Date night ambiance
– Reasonable prices

Cons:
– Flavours were a bit bland
– Dishes came out way too quickly

Price Range: $30 based on DOVF menu price

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 2.5

WildTale Coastal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant

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The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant opened up a few months ago in Richmond. It is located next to Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity.

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The restaurant offers dim sum in the early mornings and lunch and switches to Cantonese cuisine for dinner service. What is more interesting is that they serve sushi and sashimi during dim sum service. Yes…that is a sushi bar behind the counter. Honestly, that made me question the food even more because who comes to a dim sum restaurant for sushi?

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The decor inside is definitely pretty nice, on par with the Yuan’s next door. They also have private rooms if you are hosting parties.

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Tea came in a fancy teapot along with a heater. However, because of all these appliances, we found it took up way too much space on the table.

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Shrimp Dumplings

We started off with the Shrimp Dumplings which were quite typical. Large shrimps inside but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Beef Rice Roll

The Beef Rice Roll came accompanied with two gai lans. The rice roll itself was quite thin and smooth.

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Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was a decent size with a variety of ingredients including minced pork, dried shrimp and egg yolk.

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Steamed Custard Bun

Next up were the Steamed Custard Buns. Not super pretty in appearance with the odd bumps here and there, but there was a good amount of filling and the bun itself was light and fluffy.

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Pork Shiu Mai

They offer truffle shiu mai here as well, but we opted for the regular Pork Shiu Mai as my mom doesn’t like the taste of truffle. These were quite large and the wrapper was thin.

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Taro Mushroom Bun

An interesting dish was the Taro Mushroom Bun. The bun itself is actually filled with taro and the outside is decorated with cocoa powder to imitate a mushroom.

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Is this cute or what? Even has the stem! The bun itself is nothing special but the appearance definitely won us over.

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Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake

To finish our meal, we had the Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake. This was a big portion but I found it to be a little too dense for my liking.

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Overall, we found The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant to be quite average for the price we were paying. The price is slightly higher than average, but the food was nothing too special. We also found the selection of food to be quite limited unless you want to venture into trying their sushi (which is quite expensive by the way). Not sure if I would return given the many options there are in Richmond.

Pros:
– Luxury ambiance
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Limited selection
– On the pricier side for the quality of food

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Milk & Eggs

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Milk & Eggs is one of the newest spots in Richmond, located in the plaza on Odlin and Cambie. They started off with only dessert, but looks like they have expanded their menu for dinner. I decided to check it out with J on a weekday for dinner, but was surprised to find we were the only patrons dining. Seems like not many people know about the place. However, later in the night, it did pick up but most people only came here for the desserts and not dinner.

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Garlic Butter Fries

We started off with the Garlic Butter Fries which came with a side of home made ketchup and aioli. The flavour was on point, but I have no idea why the fries were so short. It made it very annoying to eat and it felt like we were given the scraps. If they could fix this, then they would be perfect.

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Mussels in White Wine Cream Sauce

We ordered the Mussels in White Wine Cream Sauce but got it in the appetizer size, which was great for sharing. Sadly, we found these to be just average. Nothing wrong with them, but the sauce was not as good as many other restaurants we have tried. For the price, I would much rather go to Rodneys.

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Shitake Mushroom stuffed Meatballs on Fettuccine 

What we enjoyed the most for dinner was the Shitake Mushroom stuffed Meatballs on Fettuccine. The flavours for the pasta was spot on and we loved the cheese on top. The meatballs were stuffed with shitake mushroom and were huge and crispy on the outside. Really tasty, but the portions are quite small for $15. For a cafe style restaurant in Richmond, the prices are hard to compete even if the quality is there since there are so many options for diners.

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Ice Cream Party Bowl

We decided to go all out for dessert even though we were super full and got the Ice Cream Party Bowl. It’s recommended for a maximum of 4 people, but J is a huge dessert guy, so I was counting on him to finish this. Milk & Eggs is known for their homemade ice cream with many Asian flavours, such as durian and thai iced tea. We got M.E. Vanilla, Black Sesame, Thai Iced Tea, and Earl Grey. The flavours were all really strong and we especially liked the Thai Iced Tea. However, they can work on the consistency of the ice cream as it’s not creamy enough. As for all the decorations for the party bowl, I honestly didn’t really like it as they were too sweet with fruits and oreo cookies. Therefore, next time, I would just stick to the individual scoops of ice cream and skip the fancy party bowl.

Overall, service was friendly and attentive. Ambiance is dimly lit and very cozy for a restaurants in Richmond. However, I don’t know if I can justify coming back for dinner with some of the prices and portions you get. It’s hard to compete with chain restaurants and I feel like the clientele in Richmond just won’t pay these prices. However, I am excited about their ice creams as we really don’t have any homemade ice cream shops like Earnest Ice Cream in Richmond. Plus, they open late so it’s a great place to go for a date or hang out with friends.

Pros:
– Ice cream flavours are very strong
– Open late

Cons:
– Dishes for dinner are slightly on the pricey side

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Milk & Eggs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bao Down Gastro Bar and Pub

Bao Down‘s Gastown location has been around for a while, but they also opened up their Gastro Bar and Pub in Olympic Village earlier this year. S and I decided to check it out for dinner.

The interior is quite casual with a cool modern vibe and colourful painting on the wall.

On one side, they also have a bar.

Fraser Valley Huli Huli Chicken

We started off with the Fraser Valley Huli Huli Chicken which came with a chicken thigh and breast in a Hawaiian marinade, topped with a cane vinegar glaze, tamari, and a side of asian slaw and garlic fried rice. The chicken was tender with just the right flavour, but the cane vinegar glze was way too acidic. It tasted as if they put too much vinegar and didn’t taste the sauce. This made the asian slaw extremely acidic and it also seeped to the bottom of the garlic fried rice. The garlic fried rice at the top tasted pretty good though with the garlic flavour extremely strong.

Locally Sourced, Local, Organic, Free Range, Free Run, Antibiotic Free, Hormone Free, Unvaccinated and Socially Adapted Chicken Wings

Onto the extremely long named Chicken Wings which we chose the crispy garlic & fish sauce caramel flavour. There is also Thai spicy or salt and pepper. S can take really salty food but this had to be the saltiest thing we’ve ever ate! They literally dumped fish sauce onto the chicken wings… It was pretty much inedible. After we posted about this on Instagram, the owner told us that they had received a different brand of fish sauce from the supplier. However, I would think that the chefs still taste the sauce they make before they put it on the dish. Just didn’t make sense to us. I have to say, their batter is really crispy though. What a shame that the sauce ruined everything.

Bao Chicka Bao Bao

Onto what Bao Down was first made famous for: their baos. we tried the Bao Chicka Bao Bao which came with garlic and lemongrass fried chicken, daikon, carrot, crisp garlic, fish sauce glaze and garlic mayo. These were my favourite of the night with the chicken having a beautiful batter and the sauces not being overbearing. The bao itself was light and fluffy. I highly suggest sticking to their baos, but you will only find a select few of their baos at this location.

Halo Halo

For dessert, I suggested to try their Halo Halo, which came with evaporated milk, banana roll, red beans, young coconut, coconut jelly, palm nuts, and purple yam ice cream. This again, was a huge mess. The dessert was huge for the price we paid, but their shaved ice was not shaved ice. It felt like they had a huge block of ice and just mashed it up so the pieces of ice were large, jagged and sharp. I don’t expect a snow like powder ice, but I would expect at least a simple shaved ice machine type of ice. This ruined the texture of the dessert as the pieces were too large.

In addition, the food took forever to come. We waited for more than 40 minutes to get our food after ordering and the restaurant wasn’t even fully occupied. We were told by the owner later after our complaints that their deep fryer had broke so only one was available. Still, I would’ve appreciated the server letting us know why, but we barely got any service.

Loco Moco

Because we were extremely upset with our experience, the owner later contacted us on Instagram to invite us back for a free meal. We notified him the date and time we would arrive of which he confirmed, but when we arrived for brunch that day, the servers were not aware of this arrangement. In fact, no table was set aside for us. Luckily, there were two spots at the bar, so we took the seats. I mean, imagine if the place was full? Would we have to wait or come back another time? The owner was also not there, which I was surprised, but even if he was busy, I would’ve expected him to communicate to the staff about our arrival. It felt very unprofessional.

Anyways, enough of the talk about service. As we chose to come on a weekend at lunch, they served the brunch menu, so the menu items were quite different. S got the Loco Moco which came with steamed rice topped with a hamburger patty, poached egg and mushroom gravy. The sauce had an Asian flavour, but we found that it lacked depth in flavour. It was okay.

Fried Chicken and Waffles

For myself, I had the Fried Chicken and Waffles. Some of the fried chicken pieces were moist while the others were extremely dry. The dry pieces were the small ones of course, so they should have controlled the cooking by taking out the smaller pieces first. I also found the seasoning to be too salty again for my liking. I feel like their food is quite salty overall.

Banger Bao

The Banger Bao was a surprise and I quite enjoyed it. It tasted just like a Egg McMuffin! It was filled with a sausage patty, scrambled egg, and processed cheese.

Overall, we were quite disappointed with the food at Bao Down Gastro Bar and Pub. Even after giving them a second try, we can’t say that we have changed our opinion on the execution of the food. However, the baos are the stars here so I would revisit at their Gastown location for the baos. Price-wise, they are quite expensive based on what I get. If the food was better, I wouldn’t mind paying a higher price. However, with the unprofessional service and average food, I feel like I have other restaurant options to satisfy me.

They are opening another location in Gastown and San Francisco, so they must be doing something right. Perhaps their food is just not the right taste for us?

NOTE: All food were complimentary during brunch on our second visit.

Pros:
– Baos are great!
– Cool ambiance

Cons:
– Execution of food is poor, most dishes are too salty
– We felt service was unprofessional and lacking while dining

Price Range: $25-40

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 2

Bao Down Gastropub & Raw Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

AnnaLena

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For my birthday, I gave a list of restaurants I wanted to try to S and told him to surprise me with something. He ended up choosing AnnaLena which I was super excited about! Located in the Kits area just before the Burrard Bridge, the kitchen is run by the talented executive chef, Michael Robbins.

The interior is whimsical but cool with modern art and lego toys. The restaurant is quite small, so I’ve heard that people have had to make reservations well in advance. I’m guessing S did just that to secure us a spot.

Because S had mentioned it was my birthday when he made reservations, I guess they noted it down and surprised us both with a complimentary cocktail. That was a really nice touch and the cocktail was delicious!

Chicken

As I had just came from happy hour, I really wasn’t that hungry so we ended up just trying out a few dishes. First was the Chicken, which was buttermilk fried, with a sesame dashi mayo, and accompanied with charred shishito peppers. These were so light and crispy! And the Asian style mayo was a nice twist and complemented the chicken so well.

Scallop

The second dish we tried was the Scallop which were seared, and came with smoked pork jowl, roast turnips, pickled apples, and cauliflower puree. The scallops were cooked to perfection without them being rubbery and the pork jowl was tender with a nice rebound texture.

Chocolate

For dessert, we had the Chocolate, which featured white chocolate mousse, sesame toasted mango, and passion fruit sorbet. Perhaps I took too long to take pictures, but the sorbet began to melt quite quickly. Still, I loved the different textures in this dessert and the strong passion fruit flavour in the sorbet.

Overall, just based on the few items we tried, I already enjoyed AnnaLena a lot and am looking forward to return and try the rest of the items. The portions are quite small for the price, but the quality and execution of the dishes are spot on. A great place if you want to celebrate a special occasion.

Pros:
– Quality and well executed dishes
– Professional service

Cons:
– Portions are on the smaller side for the price
– You’ll need to make reservations way in advance!

Price Range: $30-60

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 5 Service: 4.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 4 Overall: 4.5

AnnaLena Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

As part of a preview for Chopstick Fest, Jacqueline, Dennis, Stephen, Kym, and I were invited to try Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot Restaurant on Robson St., which will be a participiating restaurant for the festival. The festival will run from October 15th – 30th, 2016 and will have a similar concept to Dine Out Vancouver, but feature all Chinese restaurants.

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Liu Yi Shou is a Chong Qing style hot pot chain famous in China. It first brought their chain to Richmond under the name Thumbs Up Hot Pot, which I have yet to try. I think the two restaurant’s menus are pretty much the same though. The interior consists of booth seats with air ventilation from the prior barbecue restaurant.

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I love sauce bars so this is always an added differentiation. Here, I think you pay $2.50 to mix your own sauce with a large variety of ingredients. To be honest though, I usually stick with the simple soy sauce and satay!

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Chong Qing Spicy Broth and Wild Mushrooms Broth

We chose to split the pot in half and have two soup bases. One was non-spicy and was filled with mushrooms and goji berries. The other was their famous Chong Qing Spicy Broth at a medium spice level. They told us that their spicy is quite spicy, so we settled with medium. The medium was a spicy numbing flavour, as expected with Chong Qing style cuisine. However, I think this was tolerable, especially when we had the other soup base to eat in between. I’d definitely say I’ve had spicier at my Szechuan friend’s house.

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Fish Tofu

They have all your typical hot pot ingredients, including fish tofu, fish ball, enoki, bean curd, tofu, lotus root, potato and taro.

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Corn

We also sampled corn, luncheon meat, shrimp paste, fish filet, shrimp, and deep fried pork. All were very standard with everything you could find at your typical Cantonese style hot pot.

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Supreme Lamb

Meat is everything for me at hot pot, so I usually choose a hot pot restaurant based on the quality of meat. We were able to sample Supreme Beef, Supreme Lamb, and Sliced Beef. I loved the Supreme Lamb as it was buttery and tender. It also wasn’t gamey at all so many of the bloggers who don’t normally eat lamb didn’t even realize it was lamb! The Supreme Beef could be slightly more tender if it has more fat, but it wasn’t bad for sure. The Sliced Beef was the most chewy as expected because of the thick cut, but still very fresh.

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Overall, we were all pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at Liu Yi Shou. They are famous for their spicy hot pot, so definitely give that a try if you love spice. If you’re looking to fill up though, your bill might add up since it’s a la carte, rather than AYCE. However, the quality of food is therefore better than AYCE. Oh and for all you hot pot newbies, they have a list showing the time needed to cook different menu items! That’s something I haven’t seen before for sure. And did I mention, this is the only Chinese style hot pot you will find along the Robson/downtown area?

Liuyishou Hotpot Robson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lift Bar & Grill

Looking for a spot to go happy hour, I suggested we try Lift Bar & Grill. It’s situated by the water along the seawall before you enter Stanley Park.

The restaurant has an awesome patio outside perfect for the summer.

Happy hour is from 3-6pm daily, but unfortunately, you can only sit at the bar for happy hour. The bar seats around 10-15 people, so be sure to arrive early!

The decor inside is elegant and perfect for date night. I would highly recommend sitting outside if the weather is nice, or by the glass windows inside to enjoy the views.

Their happy hour menu is pretty good with a variety of food other than their select drinks. Plus, they have buck-a-shuck oysters! As you can see, the prices for happy hour isn’t extremely cheap though. Their regular menu is quite pricey normally, so this is already discounted.

Red Truck Lager, House White Wine

We started off with some drinks which were part of the happy hour menu, all for $5.

Buck-a-Shuck Oysters

I wanted some oysters, so I got the Buck-a-Shuck Oysters. I don’t remember the names of the oysters but they were quite small, but sweet. I think they could’ve done a better job with the shucking though as I found some bits of shell in my oysters. The typical cocktail sauce, Tabasco and vinaigrette comes on the side.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

As I was quite hungry, I decided to get the Lobster Mac & Cheese which was on deal for $10. It came with atlantic lobster, grana padano white cheddar and mascarpone cheese.

This was a pretty good deal since there were chunks of lobster meat in my mac n cheese! Usually, you just find little strands of meat in this dish, but I was surprised how much lobster I found in here. It’ll definitely fill you up as the cheese is very heavy. I also loved the crispy coating of bread crumbs on top.

Fish & Chips

S got the Fish & Chips which normally comes with a single piece of local beer battered halibut and french fries. He was quite hungry, so he asked to add another piece of halibut. The normal size is $14 and I think the additional piece was around $6. So it came to around $20 which isn’t too bad for getting fish and chips (halibut) at a high end restaurant.

Overall, we were quite pleased with the happy hour selection of food and drinks at Lift Bar & Grill. However, service was pretty much non-existent. We sat at the bar without menus for the longest time and we ended up having to ask for the menus. It also took incredibly long to get our bill. I would hope that their service is much better during regular hours, since this is the perfect place to take your date to, but if service is so poor, I wouldn’t risk ruining your date night here. Ambiance is spot on though!

Pros:
– Beautiful ambiance and views
– Great selection for happy hour – $1 oysters, deals on food and drinks

Cons:
– Service was poor
– Not exactly cheap even for happy hour

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 5 Parking: N/A Overall: 3.5

Lift Bar and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cuchillo

After being hungry at a beer event, J suggested we go grab some tacos at Cuchillo. I didn’t know this place existed and it is quite a hidden gem with only a skull on the outside of the restaurant!

We started off with some white wine and rose. I can’t remember the names of these but that they were rather fruity.

Baja Style Battered Rockfish

Our first taco was the Baja Style Battered Rockfish. The beautiful green coloured kale and hemp corn tortilla was topped with jicama slaw, chipotle aioli, and of course the battered rockfish. This had a good spicy kick but man this was good! The batter was light and the fish remained moist. Their tacos are quite packed for the amount of tortilla you get so it can be quite messy to eat!

Pulled Duck Y Cracklin’

The second taco we had was the Pulled Duck Y Cracklin’ which came with roasted garlic, blackberry habanero jam, pulled pork, crackling, and this all sat on top of a black bean corn tortilla. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the blackberry jam against the tender pulled pork.

Pork Belly Confit

We also tried one of their larger dishes, which was the Pork Belly Confit which came with a maple chipotle and tamarind glze, a granny smith puree and was topped with chicharon and patacones (or fried plantains). The ratio of fat to meat was right on and the meat was tender! So much fatty goodness.

This is definitely a great spot to grab some tacos and enjoy Mexican food. I like how the place feels more upscale yet it’s casual enough so you don’t need to dress up. If you’re feeling a little fancy but want tacos, then here’s the place to go. Great for a girls night out or date night.

Pros:
– Solid tacos
– Great ambiance and service

Cons:
– Not the cheapest for portions

Price Range: $25-35

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

Cuchillo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato