Brassica, Gibsons.

February 2023

This place looks like another increment of the groundhog of great eating nosing its way out into the Coast Sunshine. It’s no Michelin star candidate but easily the kind of place you might go in a Vancouver neighbourhood for service, surroundings, and good food.

It’s along the lower Gibsons retail Gower Point Road strip which doesn’t completely stop moving in the winter but really rocks with hungry tourists come summer. It’s in a new (renovated)? building and the room has a potentially inviting outdoor venue and a clean West-coast modern interior. We offered by phone friends a birthday gift as they were having their celebratory dinner a few months ago on the staff were very helpful.

Lunch at 130 on Friday found the place about 15% full but the kitchen was in full swing.

There was an abbreviated but very BC-oriented wine list, and three menu categories (small, medium and large) on the lunch card. Seaweed beignet suggested the restaurant name might indicate a veggie direction among “small” dishes, but kale with beef and nduja (spicy sausage) aranchi suggested otherwise. Oysters and marinated beet root were among medium choices, and we opted for a lamb shoulder pasta and gnocci with mushrooms and an egg from among the nice-looking “large” choices.

Our oysters were medium-sized, accompanied by nice contrasting sauces, and perfectly-shucked. The gnocci needed salt but perked up with it, succulent under the melting yolk. Lamb shoulder radiatore-like frilly pasta stole the show with a heat-infused sauce and contrasting flavour of tiny olives. Pretty delicious. A northern-Rhône-varietal BC Terra Vista “Figaro” for $72 was nice if a bit sweet and murky in its varietal flavour.

Our server was businesslike and quick in spite of the small subscription at an off-rush time, but certainly not unpleasant. $168 including wine and a tip let us know that this place appreciates its position among competitors, and knows what a comparable show (for no doubt a much higher venue overhead) would command in the city.

Food 8.9 service 7.8 ambience 9.1 value 8.0 peace and quiet 8.5 (but could be much different at dinner)

February 25 2023

We returned for dinner on a special birthday. Although it was snowing like mad outside the restaurant was almost full and the atmosphere was warm and cheerful.

Our server was a young man, solicitous but moving quickly. We (having told ourselves a dozen times never to do so) let him talk us into ordering all three of our courses at once. Even though we told him we wanted a slow relaxed cadence the food arrived pretty promptly as we finished each course. We were out of there in an hour.

But the food was quite lovely. Their popular “seaweed beignets” were deep-fried crunchy ping-pong balls with a soft centre, accompanied by a flat dish of a very nice contrasting beige mayo. Next were two of their “medium” items, one a smoked salmon and radish plate with a wonderful deep-fried but light bread about the size of an inflated saucer. The other a marinated beet salad that had a strong tangy dressing the flavour of which I couldn’t identify which isn’t described in the menu. Quite delicious with a few accompanying solid dressing items.

Finally a maincourse shared between us which was roast octopus with pork belly. The pork was ethereally tender and succulent and the octopus fully softened by pre-cooking which not everybody accomplishes. The dressing for this was quite similar to the one on the beet salad, very tasty but not very different.

We brought a 2012 village Chambolle-Musigny from Roumier which I brought home from the producer about five years ago. I still have three bottles but wish I had three cases: fabulously fragrant. The corkage was $25.

This place is certainly the class act on the Coast now and we will definitely be back. We would have liked to take our time a bit more than we were able to and once again promised ourselves to stick to our “one course at a time” ordering strategy. The serving staff seem a little inexperienced and probably will settle into a more professional approach. But the overall experience was quite lovely.

$106 pre-tip remembering that we brought our own wine is still a pretty good deal everything considered.

This time I would say food 9.2 service 7.9 ambience 9.3 value 8.8 peace and quiet 8.3.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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