Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blood Alley Tapas

Last week, my friend came up from Blaine for good eats, craft beer drinking, and a concert. During our lengthy evening of carousing, we hit-up three restaurants in and around the Downtown Eastside's lubricious Blood Alley. In the midst of an inevitable gentrification, this once-perilous locus has evolved into a gourmet, gritty smorgasbord of tapas and charcuterie eateries. While each of these trendy nooks had quality ingredients and dishes, their overall quality and recommendability decreased as the night (and our inebriety) progressed.

Six Acres - 203 Carrall
Located in Vancouver's oldest brick building at the entrance to Blood Alley, this cozy bar offers tapas-like plates designed for sharing and grazing. Once we recovered from the shock of discovering that the establishment lacks draught beer and fought our way through the forest of hipsters mulling about the ground floor, we identified and ordered victuals that met our needs. Even though I automatically resent places that fail to stock draught beer, I must admit that Six Acres has an impressive bottled selection. With an emphasis on Belgian blondes and saisons, Six Acres has over 40 bottled beers to choose from. While the Six-Layer Dip that we ordered was satisfying in its mediocrity, the stand-out dishes were the Wild Mushroom Risotto and the Black Truffle Sliders. I think Six Acres might be on to something with this greasy spoon tapas concept.

Salt Tasting Room - 45 Blood Alley
I had dined at Salt in the past, and thought it would be silly to visit Six Acres and Judas Goat (see below) without stopping in for some serrano and Piccantino salami. I like Salt for a number of reasons: they promote local products, they are always featuring new and interesting items, and it's a convenient place to grab a meaty snack before a show. From reviews I have read, it seems as though many make the mistake of assuming that Salt is a restaurant. This assumption will lead to an empty wallet and high cholesterol. It is a tasting room based on charcuterie, and its far superior to its twin below...   

Judas Goat Taberna - 27 Blood Alley
I have a fairly small stomach and a fickle appetite, so I am never one to complain about portions. Having said this, the portions at Judas Goat were ridiculous considering the prices. With the same owners as Salt and The Irish Heather - which serves hearty, bold pub food just a block or two away - I wrongly assumed that Judas Goat would also offer the same value with their Spanish-themed tapas. All of the items that we ordered were creative and delightful (especially the foie gras with rhubarb foam and the braised pork belly), but they should have been 1/3 cheaper. Nobody, and I mean nobody, should pay $2.25 for thin slice of baguette with a sparse spread of salsa verde and a few puny, pea-sized blobs of white anchovy. This isn't bruschetta! Judas Goat won't last...you heard it here first!

Keywords: "Vancouver Tapas"

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