gracecheung604 | write on time: Smoking dinner at Smoking Dog Bistro

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Smoking dinner at Smoking Dog Bistro

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We checked out Dine Out Vancouver and hit up Smoking Dog Bistro. We actually checked it out on Chinese New Years, avoiding the usual rush at Chinese restaurants. Their 3-course menu was just $28 and had a very interesting bacon dessert.
One of the appetizers offered was the Sliced Flank Steak with Ratatouille. I was pleasantly surprised by the portion, because after all, this was just an appetizer. The steak was done medium rare, with loads of ratatouille. Ratatouille is a toss-up mixture of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and flavoured with garlic and onions. It's healthy as it is yummy!
Another of the appetizers we tried was the Grilled Portobello with Mixed Greens, Cherve and Pine Nuts. The mixed greens were a blend of grilled red peppers, beets, arugula, and a shaving of carrots on top. The balsamic reduction was rich and plentiful, so I loved this dish. Not sure how the portobello was prepared, but it kept it's juices and made a nice serving tray for the greens.

If you love, lamb, the you should really try the Braised Lamb Shank. Although not a big fan of polenta, it's not really a large part of the dish, and you've got to have some greens, so the 5/6 haricots verts was just enough. The star of this dish was definitely the lamb. If you fear lamb because it's gamey, you should try this one. The meat was ultra tender and the knife they supply is merely perfunctory. The meat falls off the bone so easily, but it's not mushy. The meat is good and there is a lot of it! 
We also tried their Moules Frites, which I don't think was on their Dine Out menu. Using Salt Spring Island mussels, they were steamed with some garlic, lemon butter and a bit of white wine. It did come with Frites, but I missed taking a picture! The portion was generous, about 20+ for the order. The broth was yummy and I'm glad we saved some of the bread so we could soak up every last drop.
Another menu item that we ordered off the Dine Out menu was their Steak Frites. It's supposed to be a  Striploin but I think they substituted for a different cut. Not necessarily a cheaper cut, just a different one. Bordelaise sauce is supposed to be made with red wine, marrow and butter. This was a good sauce, I just wish there was more of it. My steak was cooked to a medium rare, as requested, and was definitely enough for an entree portion. I didn't like my cabbage and celeriac slaw served in a separate container. Somehow, that screams diner, not bistro. However, the dressing was good and I did finish the whole thing. And yes, pommes frites were good...crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside...not as crispy as you get to the bottom, but still good. 
This was the much anticipated Candied Bacon Chocolate Fudge Cake. We expected crisp bits of bacon sprinkled amongst rich dark chocolate fudge. Unfortunately, we were a touch disappointed (having anticipation can cause that) with the cake that arrived. The bacon was mixed into the cake and the fudge was the topping. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as we had hoped.
As a fan of tart desserts, I was delighted to see the French Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis. The crust was surprisingly light, and the lemon curb was nice and dense, just the way I like it. The fresh whipped cream and mint were a nice touch, as was the coulis, but I was all about the lemon tart!
I noticed that many of the Dine Out dishes are not on the regular menu, and this baffles me. Why would you introduce people to your restaurant with dishes that they might fall in love with, only to never serve it again. Shockingly, the lamb shank isn't on their regular menu (at least it's not on their online menu). I just don't get it. 

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