I’ve read some great reviews on Tuc Craft Kitchen on Yelp and have heard some good things about them from friends. Having also tried their excellent offerings at the Gastown BBQ Festival, I was really excited to finally check out their actual restaurant! (Q: the other girl and I were quite scared walking around that neighbourhood at night…)
The space is fairly big – they have two floors of seating and bar space on the lower floor. Even with all that space, I had to call in and make our way down to the restaurant before they filled up for their Friday evening dining service.
We managed to get a table for four on the second floor! This is definitely the space for bigger parties.
Going out on a Friday night necessitates a good beer. They’ve got some good ones on tap and the price isn’t too bad – I ended up getting a pint of Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Howe Sound Brewing.
The items on Tuc Craft Kitchen’s menu all sound really good! Here’s a better view of their menu. We decided to share a starter and then order a main for each of us.
Q immediately suggested parsnip & smashed potato fries. They come with a side of toasted coriander ketchup! (Q: our friend also wanted to try the smash potato fries as she has always wanted to make them herself!)
The parsnip fries were really nice and crispy. The smashed potato fries were pretty good too, but the parsnips were way better! (Q: totally agree! The parsnip tasted like taro fries and they were way more delicious! I love the light and crispiness of the parsnip. The smashed potato fries did not impress me. I think it is the texture that made them paled in comparison to the parsnip fries. They were flatten mini potatos fried…) The toasted coriander ketchup was pretty interesting – the taste was reminiscent of a curry chutney but sweeter. Really good with the smashed potato fries, but the parsnips were good on their own. (Q: the smashed potato needed that extra kick to them where the coriander ketchup was in to rescue!)
One of my friends, EA, ordered the Faux Lamb Tagine. It had braised yakima valley lamb shoulder, parsnips, braised navy beans, water chestnuts, dried cherries served on gnocchi romaine. It’s quite the delicious looking dish!
Unfortunately, Tuc screwed up a bit here. EA absolutely hates cheese. She had asked whether the dish contained any cheese and the server said it didn’t. After taking a bite of the gnocchi, low-and-behold, cheese! I tried it as well (it tastes great to me!), and it had a pretty strong goat cheese flavour. The rest of the dish was great though, which may have been why EA didn’t return the dish. I simply finished off the gnocchi for her (woohoo!). (Q: poor EA…for someone who hates cheese, getting goat cheese is like the worst nightmare!)
My other friend, BC2, ordered the Clam and Coho Bake. It’s an awesome dish with manila clams, salt spring island mussels, wild coho salmon, chorizo sausage, mini nugget potatoes, roasted butternut squash, and white wine fumé. I didn’t get to try it, but she seemed to quite like it!
Q ordered the Chicken Confit. It’s a fraser valley free run chicken paired with wilted kale, basil pistou, biscuit, and consommé. This dish was reaaaaally good! (Q: LIKE REALLY GOOD!) The chicken had a really nice crispy skin and the chicken was so tender. The kale was super delicious, and they really packed it on the plate.
(Q: picture does not even do the dish any justice of how delicious it really is! The chicken is quite well seasoned on its own. The server told me not to pour out all the consomme over the chicken as it would make the dish too salty. I think the consomme is also chicken which really enhanced the flavor of the chicken meat. The basil pistou was strong in basil flavor. I think the chicken paired much better with the basil instead. It was a taste of heaven with the moist, flavorful chicken with basil! The kale salad was incredible enjoyable as well! I wouldn’t even call it wilted…it is perfectly dressed with some lemon vinaigrette that cuts the saltiness of the chicken. It is a completely balanced dish in terms of taste and your fiber/protein.)
The biscuit was very buttery (which I like), so it was incredibly flaky. This one is a real winner! (Q: too bad the biscuit was too small! I wish there was more of that! This for sure is winner winner chicken dinner! I polished off the plate completely clean! HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!)
I ordered the Storm Braised Shortribs. It was a hot skillet filled with milk-fed veal, roasted potatoes, white peppercorn gravy, and seasonal vegetables. It’s a good dish, but man was it spicy. There was a lot of peppercorns used in the gravy, and it was pretty tough really tasting anything else. (Q: I had some of the shortribs but man I was too blown away by the chicken to really taste anything else.) I’m glad I had the beer, because the peppery richness of the gravy actually paired quite nicely with it. The ribs were tender, but again all I could really taste was pepper. I think this one was a bit of a miss, and this would be especially true without beer!
Overall, I quite liked Tuc Craft Kitchen. It’s a really hip and happening place! The food is pretty good and somewhat upscale, and they serve good booze. It’s a bit on the pricier side of things, but I would come back (especially for the chicken confit!).