gracecheung604 | write on time: Merchant's Oyster Bar on Commercial

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Merchant's Oyster Bar on Commercial

The owner of Cork and Fin in Gastown brings us Merchant's Oyster Bar on Commercial Drive as well. This oyster bar is on the corner with a little patio on the side street, Graveley St. It was a little chilly on the night we went so we opted for their indoor seating, and I'm sure glad we did. It was still a little chilly with the side door open, but at least we didn't have to wear a jacket like some of the people outside did.  
We started off with a few cocktails Vesper Martini and a Gin-Ger Fizz. The martini packed quite a punch and I really liked it. Good way to start the night.  
tagliatelleAlthough we are huge oyster fans, we had just missed their Buck A Shuck by 45 minutes, so we decided to sample their other offerings instead. First up was the House made Tagliatelle, served with a duck egg in some  cream with slices of oyster mushrooms. The serving isn't too large, and served as a nice starter for two people. Crack the egg over the pasta and mix vigorously. The sauce then turns a golden orange and the creaminess is intensified. Another "crack egg over pasta" favourite is from Cotto Enoteca
The pasta is a little thinner than I expected but it was cooked to a perfect al dente. There was a slight tang in the sauce, but we couldn't quite figure out where that came from. It's a really rich carbonara sauce. I loved the rough edges of the pasta, it gave the noodles a very homey texture.codNext we tried the Cod en Papillote,, a very traditional way of cooking fish in parchment so as to hold all the juice inside. And that is exactly how they presented it. I didn't expect the baguette so that was a nice touch.  
cod 4Inside the parchment package was the cod, along with some slices of lemon, some tomato, and a few cubes of potatoes. The fish was buttery and flaked off nicely. It was really juicy. I liked the baguette but felt that it could have been lightly toasted instead of just slice and serve. The bread was useful in sopping up the juices, although the whole thing could have benefitted from a little salt, perhaps using salted butter in the preparation?Pork Belly 2The other dish we tried was the Roasted Pork Belly. I've been to many places where the serving was really tiny, such as Fray, who has now taken it off their menu. Thankfully, this wasn't the case here.  
Pork Belly 6 The skin of the Pork Belly was crunchier than others I've had, but it did still have a bit of chew to it. The meat itself was perfect, a balanced blend of fat and meat. And this dish was definitely salty enough. The parsley salad and tomatoes accompanying it was great too, very refreshing!
Considering we had no idea what to expect when we came down, we were really happy with our selections. We will have to return during their happy hour to sample some of their oysters.
Take Note:

  • Happy Hour (Buck a Shuck) is 5-6:30 and 9 until close
  • Great atmosphere by the bar and the bartenders know their stuff
  • Their chalkboard has a huge selection of pricey old world reds and whites

   Cork and Fin 
Merchant's Oyster Bar  on Urbanspoon

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