Carlo O’Bryan’s

For someone who doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, I sure do visit quite a few bars/pubs. That is primarily because such places often also serve up fantastic food in addition to their drinks. My latest visit was to Carlo O’Bryan’s, an Irish pub located in Kits that has quite a good food menu in addition to an enormous drinks menu. They are probably best known for their Pachos, which are essentially nachos but instead with potato lattice-style fries instead of tortilla chips. They have two varieties, the regular and Extreme Pachos, which comes with extra toppings. I went with their Extreme Pachos, along with half a rack of their Big Hokin’ Ribs.

Extreme Pachos ($16.50):


4.5/5
This consisted of lattice-style fries with cheese, beef, onions, peppers, tomatoes and jalapeno, and is served with a side of Emerald Isle. The fries weren’t exactly crispy, but were well-seasoned and had a nice, slightly chewy texture. What really made the dish for me was the dipping sauce, which was sweet and slightly tangy, and went fantastically with the fries. Personally though, I didn’t feel that the other toppings added that much to the dish; I think that the regular pachos probably would have just been as good (for cheaper). Even though they have options for a double serving, I found that the single version was already quite generous, and probably enough for two if you’re having other dishes.

Half Rack Big Honkin’ Ribs, with hand-stuffed champ potato ($21.75):


3/5
This comes with your choice of rice, potato, or lattice fries; I had their hand-stuffed champ potato. The ribs were quite tender and came off the bone. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the bbq sauce, which was too tangy for my liking. The potato was tender and luckily seasoned; it was a bit bland on its own but went pretty well with the ribs.

The pachos at Carlo O’Bryans are seriously fantastic; I think that they are better than nachos. The ribs were just fine to me, nothing to really rave about. The only thing that could rival the pachos was the server I had, who was very sweet and welcoming. Though I haven’t tried any of the drinks, but the pachos are definitely worth visiting the place for alone.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Pachos
Carlos O'Bryan's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Cove

So I tried visiting NSCS Discovery Cafe recently. They are a spot located in Jericho Beach, which from all the photographs that I’ve seen online, appear to serve some seriously tasty comfort food. Unfortunately, the cafe was closed when I arrived (I don’t know if it’s permanent or a seasonal thing). Now, normally this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but I was out seemingly in the midst of nowhere, with no other alternative spots in sight. I ended up walking several blocks to a bus stop on 4th Avenue and travelling a couple of stops to Alma where a couple of joints were available. I headed into The Cove, a sports bar/pub. They have a pretty good food menu consisting of classic pub fare, including a couple of seasonal features. I had their Feature Flatbread and Pulled Pork and Grits.

Feature Flatbread ($15):


4/5
This was on part of their features menu and consists of four strips of bread that’s topped with sausage, cheese, and caramelized onions, and is served with a side of salad. The flatbread was well toasted and crispy around the edges. The toppings were very flavourful; I particularly enjoyed the onions, which provided a great sweetness that complimented the saltiness of the sausage and cheese. The salad was also quite nice and contained a fair amount of tangy dressing as well as pumpkin seeds, which provided a great flavour and texture.

Pulled Pork and Grits ($17):


4/5
This was served with a biscuit. The pulled pork was tender and juicy, and very flavourful with a really nice sweetness. I was a bit put off by the shredded vegetable (I think it was beets) that was mixed in with the pork however. The grits was very smooth and creamy; it was a tad bland on its own, but paired very well with the pork. The biscuit was also buttery and tender.

Although I was disappointed not to have visited NSCS Cafe, I did quite enjoy my visit go The Cove. The food was quite tasty and fairly reasonably priced. The service, while a bit slow, was also quite friendly. While I can’t say anything about the drinks (being a non-drinker), I think that this place is worth visiting for the food alone.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Flatbread, Pork and Grits
The Cove Neighbourhood Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Wolf and Hound

Wolf & Hound is an Irish Pub located on Broadway, near Alma. I’ve passed by the place several times on my way to and from UBC, but being a non-drinker, I’ve never had any particular interest in visiting the pub. Not too long ago however, my supervisor organized a research conference at UBC and he was looking for pubs for the attendees to hangout post conference since scientists appear to have a great penchant for alcohol (guess that’s why I’m never going to become a successful scientist). One of my co-workers (who is French) suggested Wolf & Hound, claiming that the food there is delicious. Seeing Wolf & Hound has a stamp of approval from a snooty French person (she’s seriously one of the nicest people I know), I was now interested in checking the place out. I’ve finally had the opportunity recently. In spite of being a pub, they have quite an extensive menu filled with classic comfort/pub food. I had a 1/2 Order of their Beer Battered Cod and Chips and Homestyle Meatloaf.

Beer Battered Cod and Chips, 1/2 Order ($11):


4/5
This came served with a side of tartare sauce. The batter on the fish (which is pacific cod) is wonderfully crispy. The quality of the fish was not the greatest – I did find the texture to be a tad mushy, but not fishy. I really enjoyed the fries, which were again wonderfully crispy while having a somewhat starchy interior. The tartar sauce was wonderfully thick and tangy.

Homestyle Meatloaf ($19):


4/5
This came served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The meatloaf was tender and well-seasoned, and had a nice sweet glaze. The potatoes were well-seasoned and quite smooth and creamy. The vegetables, which consisted of zucchini and carrots, were simple and nothing to write home about, but well-cooked and not overly bland.

I really enjoyed my trip to Wolf & Hound. Even though I haven’t tried any of their drinks, their food is absolutely delicious. Service-wise, the waitress I had was relatively friendly but a bit slow; I can’t really blame her though since she was the only person present and there were several tables that she had to manage. This is definitely a place worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beer Battered Cod and Chips, Homestyle Meatloaf
The Wolf and Hound Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Storm Crow Alehouse

I’ve just found the geekiest pub in Vancouver and that is Storm Crow Alehouse. The latter is located on Broadway near Granville (they also have a second location named Storm Crow Tavern located on Commercial Drive). From the moment you walk in, you just feel happy. The walls are decorated with various sci-fi/fantasy posters (I’ve got a huge crush on Nathan Fillion and got a kick out of seeing a poster of my future husband Malcolm Reynolds), they have anime on the televisions (they had One Punch Man playing when I visited; seriously addictive show), and they have a large assortment of various board games stored in the back of the room. The names of their food is also unique, with references to geek stuff like Game of Thrones (which I love) and Star Wars (which I honestly am not big on – please don’t kill me). I had their Chalet Poutine 2000 and Mac & Cheese KD6-3.7.

Chalet Poutine 2000 ($14):


4/5
This is regular poutine (fries with cheesecurds and gravy) that’s served with sour cream, bacon bits and pickled onions. The fries that have not been soaked in the gravy were fresh and crispy, and well-seasoned. I quite enjoyed the gravy as well, which was not overly starchy and had a nice hint of pepper flavour. The sour cream and bacon bits paired surprisingly well with the poutine; I do wish that there was a bit more bacon present however.

Mac & Cheese KD6-3.7 + Pulled Pork ($15 + $4):


3/5
The noodles in the mac and cheese were tender while still retaining some texturing. I did find the sauce to be a bit too dry, causing the noodles to all clump together. More importantly however, I found the dish to be quite underseasoned and bland. I added pulled pork to my dish, and for $4 they do give you a pretty generous amount. Unfortunately, while the pork was tender and juicy, it was also quite bland and had only a mildly sweet flavour without much salt.

Although the food at Storm Crow Alehouse was not spectacular (although still enjoyable), their unique catering to those who like sci-fi/anime/fantasy makes this place worth checking out. If you are into geek culture, this is definitely a great place to visit with a group of friends.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chalet Poutine
Storm Crow Alehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato