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Kloom

Gastropod Restaurant

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I am one of the two partners of Gastropod, a new restaurant soon to open at 1938 West Fourth in Vancouver, in between Cypress and Maple. We are just going through inspections now, but expect to open within the next two weeks, possibly sooner. I wanted to reply to someone who posted earlier about Gastropod being a 'clever' (or, possibly not) conflation of the words Gastronomy and iPod. There was never any thought given to the iPod. I thought of the name and after much discussion, including Pied Bleu (too French, difficult to pronounce, and possibly obscure come reference) and other gems, Gastropod was agreed upon. I thought Gastropod would be a nice cross between new English and French (Gastropode) and a reference to Paris' famous Restaurant Escargot as well as London's St John where periwinkles are on offer. It suggested food away from Steak, Lamb chops and Salmon, although we do have all three meats offered only not in the usual way. Anyhow, I think you know what I mean. The room is a quaint 42 seats and 7 seats at the bar. None of this cube chair and globe lamps with piped in 'House' music. Bar chairs have backs and seating on banquettes. Table will have linen. Service will be assured. There will be 7 appetizers, 7 mains and 7 desserts, all made in house (all pastries, ice cream and pasta, for instance, made in house) and any combination of the 3 categories for $42.50. The Chef is Angus An, a young chef who just returned from working in some high profile London restaurants. In Canada, he worked at Montreal's Toque. The room is beautiful, the kitchen brigade is top notch, the prices are reasonable. Our aim is for a new type of neighbourhood bistro. We look forward to our neighbour Fuel opening up as well. Hope to see you at Gastropod soon.


Edited by Kloom (log)

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Thanks for introducing yourself and Gastropod, Kloom. Welcome. I look forward to a visit to Gastropod soon.


Cheers,

Anne

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Looking forward to your take on the Parisian and London theme. Having eaten in Paris for six days and now back in London for the rest of the month. Helen and I are off to St. John's with a group of foodies this Monday evening. Looking forward to eating at your establishment in December.

Stephen Bonner


"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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Oooh I'm anxious to check out the restaurant. Any specific date of the grand opening? I think I checked the restaurant website recently and the menu hadn't been added yet. If it is, any idea when the site will be "updated"?

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Oooh I'm anxious to check out the restaurant.  Any specific date of the grand opening?  I think I checked the restaurant website recently and the menu hadn't been added yet.  If it is, any idea when the site will be "updated"?

Gosh, I should know the answer to your question regarding the website update, but I don't. I will bring it up at the restaurant today regarding website. Very likely Gastropod will open this Saturday November 25 but definitely next week. Do call 604 7305579 to confirm. Initially, we will open only for dinners--until 11 pm, by the way.

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^Welcome to the board and Gastropod sounds intruiging! Looks like I have another spot to check out on my list :biggrin:


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Went last night and enjoyed the food tremendously. Stand outs for me were the oysters with horse radish snow - fresh, refreshing flavours that did not overwhelm the oysters, foie gras bon bon's - fluffy mousse w/ tart fruit puree and pistachios, slow cooked lamb loin w/candied butternut squash, and the desserts - a chocolate fondant, and a nutmeg pannacotte (perfectly set between liquid and solid).

$42.50 for three courses, $69 for a bottle of 2004 Black Hills Note Bene - tremendous value.

Cooking is really assured and confident, no hint of opening week jitters - the "composed" plating and flavours skated that line between innovation and simplicity perfectly. Service is a little nervous feeling - but it's really a minor point.

Really enjoyable evening. Great job guys

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Hat's off to you, Angus! You did it! The pictures look amazing and I've been hearing nothing but great things about your place. Can't wait til I can travel from MTL and eat!!

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Went to Gastropod (which always, always evokes images of Donald Sutherland screaming - to me anyway... Invasion of the Body Snatchers, for those who are shrugging shoulders) with a group just before Xmas. I tasted:

- the oysters w/ horseradish (very soft both texturally and flavour-wise), tuna mille-feulle (having trouble with my spelling today, but an oustanding dish - loved the daikon and slight vinegary tang)

- beef short rib (only okay, perhaps in comparison with the other stuff that was coming to the table - texture excellent, but imo it was slightly undersalted), pork (beefiest pork I've ever tasted, great charred edges) and lamb (best main I tried that night). Others were raving about the duck, which is now on my to-try list.

For dessert I had the panna cotta w/ butternut squash ice cream - very interesting. The chocolate cake was well received by others. Before, during, between and after we had the Quails Gate riesling, Nota Bene, and the last bottle of the La Frenz reserve 03 (my favourite of the evening). Finished with a nice espresso, made nicer with their rock chip sugar. Mr Moosh and I were eating those afterwards like candy.

Server - Chinese fellow, didn't catch his name - was really great, professional in service yet casual in conversation. Good first impression, I'll definitely return.

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Tonight, we checked out one of the new kids on the block - Gastropod, located on West 4th right beside fellow newcomer Fuel. Still on east coast time (and liking it), we made a reservation for 5:30 p.m. Due to the treacherous driving conditions (I mean, seriously, this is Vancouver not Montreal!), we arrived a little late. Fortunately, it appeared our late arrival didn't inconvenience anyone as the front door was locked when we arrived. A group seated at one of the tables (I believe they were friends of the chef) flagged down one of the hostesses who unlocked the door and let us in.

The menu at Gastropod is small - about six appetizers, six main courses, and six desserts. There is a Prix Fixe option that allows you to select one appetizer, a main course, and a dessert for $42.50 which is a good deal if you're eyeing some of the pricier choices. On this night, my wife was feeling pricey while I opted for a more uncharacteristically restrained meal. She started with the Foie Gras a la Gastropod, two pieces of foie gras (with the consistency of a torchon) served skewered, topped with pistachio and salt, and accompanied by an apple and a rhubarb puree. The foie gras was mysteriously flavorless. She likened the twin purees to dining on baby food. Alas, I didn't fare any better with my appetizer, the Tuna Mille-Feuille - alternating slices of marinated daikon and tuna in a confit pepper yuzu dressing. Unfortunately, the daikon thoroughly overwhelmed the subtleness of the tuna.

For her main course, my wife went with the braised beef ribs with glazed chesnut - accompanied by chanterelle, burdock, wilted spinach, and cipollini onions. The meat was very tender, the accompaniments perfectly cooked. I went with the slow-cooked ling cod with panko and almond cloud - a very nice, very flavorful piece of cod served on a bed of delicious crushed baby potatoes with leek, bok choy, and toasted almonds, the whole nestled in an almond foam. Both main courses were terrific but the portions were surprisingly small. For dessert, I went with the chocolate fondant with Earl Grey syrup, switching out the raspberry sorbet for a nice vanilla ice cream. The fondant was still warm, with a liquid dark chocolate center that married nicely with the sweet Earl Grey syrup. Some nice complimentary handcrafted chocolates completed the meal.

Service was fine although I did find it a little annoying that I was only told of the addition to the menu ("Venison,"I was succintly informed) after I made a point of asking, and only after my wife had ordered her meal. The decor is stark and clean, the wood and frosted glass entranceway reminiscent of my old high school principal's office.

As we were leaving, we popped in next door to make a reservation for Sunday night. Sadly, the gang at Fuel were dealing with a mini-crisis: a power outage that had pretty much shut down their kitchen. Fortunately, their computer systems were still online and we were able to book a table for this weekend, presuming they would have their electricity restored by then.

For the pics on this meal, check out my blog entry dated January 5, 2006 -


www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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We like to wait until a restaurant has settled into its own skin and got past the opening bugs and jitters so had been planning on trying Gastropod out for some time. It has been interesting to see the accolades and awards it has been receiving for such a new restaurant. We had been curiouser and curiouser.

When a restaurant gets as much hype as they have you have to know that expectations are high, however as one who doesn’t listen to hype, we tried to go in without too many expectations.

Arrival – A large group pf people at the door waiting. Being that they all had a glass of something in hand we assumed their wait had been more then just a few minutes. Rather then get lost in the crowd, we stepped around them in front and looked over the dining room. A very attractive simple design. Great light fixture over the bar. Crisp room, good lines.

We waited for a greeting or an approach. And waited…and waited. Lots of staff dashing about, no one making eye contact with anyone. Eventually a youngish man strolled toward us, kicking a piece of paper, not once but a purposeful 3 times, along the floor and under the counter. Perhaps he feared germs and didn’t want to pick it up? Looking vacantly into our eyes he asked, do you have a reservation? It was the first indication that he actually worked there. We were told tables were being set and as the large group was moved to their table we sat down in the entry way for a few minutes before another staff member came to take us to our table. In the entry way was an umbrella stand and a shelf with what I can only assume are postcards (I was hoping they were small menus) and business cards.

Upon opening the menus we discovered that there really wasn’t anything on it that we found appealing. A lot of Sous Vide, that in my opinion more often then not seems to leave all the meat the texture of corned beef. There were odd combinations that were difficult to image working with their fellow ingredients and just an absolute lack of ummm, that sounds good. We settled on dishes that we felt we would be “OK” with and ordered a glass of wine. My main was, as I had guessed, an odd combination of sweet and savoury with meat that had no texture change from the outside to the in, and the texture of afore mentioned meat. Oh I thought, if only for a nice seared piece of meat. How I wish for a lovely caramelization and light char with the succulence of well prepared meat on the inside. Mean while my table companion had fish that was almost cool, had a most unlikely accompaniment and a crust that tasted like a combination of salt and pepper potato chips and Kellogg’s corn flakes.

The table service was attentive, yet somehow unpolished and jumpy. The food somewhere between unremarkable on my plate and inedible on my companions. 2 glasses of wine each, one main course each and the bill was over 100 dollars. Probably the worst value I have experience in a long time – in fact, almost shocking.

Room 4 out of 5

Service 3 out of 5 (although we really should deduct another ½ point for the host and make it 2 ½ out of 5)

Food 1 out of 5

Likelihood or returning – Zero!

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IMHO, the best measure of a dish is the unconscious. When a dish seeps into my consciousness weeks after I've eaten it means that a dish has set a standard whether I like it or not.

That happened with Gastropod's duck sous-vide. Had this as part of the wicked $42.50 prix-fixe, one of the best deals in town.

A rare well-done dish (isn't that sous-vide's bag?) in which each flavour and texture showed well AND worked nicely together to finish strong. I like char-grilling as much as the next (er, previous) guy, but that Maillard Reaction really would have gotten in the way of those Mallard flavours. A char would have killed the subtle flavours and the nuances they pulled from the accompanying wine. It was a plate that deserved a sports metaphor.

That's it. Go to Gastropod if you want some boundaries pushed. If not, the nearest Keg is at 1499 Anderson Street on Granville Island.


Quentin Kayne

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My wife and I had an excellent meal there last week. Duck and Venison were shared and I loved them both. Will be back!

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I found the food very good and inventive on my two visits to Gastropod. Angus has a nice touch in the kitchen (try the oysters). I do have to agree with Fanny Bay about the service and a feeling of being left alone at the front door. I think the room needs a presence, someone to take charge in the foh and make you feel welcome and thanked when you leave. Very fixable in my opinion and they are a great part of the new restaurant destination that W.4th and Cypress has become along with Fuel and Bistrot Bistro.

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We like to wait until a restaurant has settled into its own skin and got past the opening bugs and jitters so had been planning on trying Gastropod out for some time. It has been interesting to see the accolades and awards it has been receiving for such a new restaurant. We had been curiouser and curiouser. 

When a restaurant gets as much hype as they have you have to know that expectations are high, however as one who doesn’t listen to hype, we tried to go in without too many expectations.

Arrival – A large group pf people at the door waiting. Being that they all had a glass of something in hand we assumed their wait had been more then just a few minutes. Rather then get lost in the crowd, we stepped around them in front and looked over the dining room. A very attractive simple design. Great light fixture over the bar. Crisp room, good lines.

We waited for a greeting or an approach. And waited…and waited. Lots of staff dashing about, no one making eye contact with anyone. Eventually a youngish man strolled toward us, kicking a piece of paper, not once but a purposeful 3 times, along the floor and under the counter. Perhaps he feared germs and didn’t want to pick it up? Looking vacantly into our eyes he asked, do you have a reservation? It was the first indication that he actually worked there. We were told tables were being set and as the large group was moved to their table we sat down in the entry way for a few minutes before another staff member came to take us to our table. In the entry way was an umbrella stand and a shelf with what I can only assume are postcards (I was hoping they were small menus) and business cards.

Upon opening the menus we discovered that there really wasn’t anything on it that we found appealing. A lot of Sous Vide, that in my opinion more often then not seems to leave all the meat the texture of corned beef. There were odd combinations that were difficult to image working with their fellow ingredients and just an absolute lack of ummm, that sounds good. We settled on dishes that we felt we would be “OK” with and ordered a glass of wine. My main was, as I had guessed, an odd combination of sweet and savoury with meat that had no texture change from the outside to the in, and the texture of afore mentioned meat. Oh I thought, if only for a nice seared piece of meat.  How I wish for a lovely caramelization and light char with the succulence of well prepared meat on the inside. Mean while my table companion had fish that was almost cool, had a most unlikely accompaniment and a crust that tasted like a combination of salt and pepper potato chips and Kellogg’s corn flakes.

The table service was attentive, yet somehow unpolished and jumpy. The food somewhere between unremarkable on my plate and inedible on my companions. 2 glasses of wine each, one main course each and the bill was over 100 dollars. Probably the worst value I have experience in a long time – in fact, almost shocking.

Room 4 out of 5

Service 3 out of 5 (although we really should deduct another ½ point for the host and make it 2 ½ out of 5)

Food 1 out of 5

Likelihood or returning – Zero!

Thanks very much for the review. I personally enjoy reading all comments, both good and bad.

Edit: I actually find honest reviews from visitors who are not in the industry most helpful sometimes.


Edited by mangez (log)

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A friend and I tried Gastropod a few weeks ago and found the experience ok. The room was quite sleek -- nice, clean lines and comfortable seating arrangements (although my partner thought the tables were a wee bit close for his comfort -- I reminded him that in France, these tables would be considered plenty spacious).

We were warmly greeted at the door and our coats were taken promptly. Our waitress was sweet, patient and informative.

Upon reviewing the menu, we did find it limited but went for the duck. I thought it was quite tasty but did not blow my mind. We had an interesting banana dessert that was fantastic (will definitely have it again).

Service was great. Food was ok for the price point. Dessert was delicious. Will definitely try again ... maybe when new dishes pop up.

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Thanks very much for the review.  I personally enjoy reading all comments, both good and bad.

Ditto from me. I'm also wondering out loud why it is that when someone submitts a negative review (on eG), the reviewer is almost always asked to explain themselves, but that almost never happens for a positive review.

"You liked it?? Why? What did you have? You must have been there on an "on" night."

Just wonderin'

A.

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Thanks very much for the review.  I personally enjoy reading all comments, both good and bad.

Ditto from me. I'm also wondering out loud why it is that when someone submitts a negative review (on eG), the reviewer is almost always asked to explain themselves, but that almost never happens for a positive review.

"You liked it?? Why? What did you have? You must have been there on an "on" night."

Just wonderin'

A.

I'll let you know why, but it doesn't have much to do with culinary matters per se.

Bad is stronger than good.

If you don't feel like reading the whole article, a relevant line is "bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good." It might have an evolutionary explanation, in that in the ancestral environment vigilance towards negatively valanced information and thus avoidance of negative outcomes might have had high adaptive value. Avoiding danger, for instance, was very important. It's not hard to see the corollary here: avoiding bad dining experiences.


Edited by eatvancouver (log)

Jason

Editor

EatVancouver.net

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Thanks very much for the review.  I personally enjoy reading all comments, both good and bad.

Ditto from me. I'm also wondering out loud why it is that when someone submitts a negative review (on eG), the reviewer is almost always asked to explain themselves, but that almost never happens for a positive review.

"You liked it?? Why? What did you have? You must have been there on an "on" night."

Just wonderin'

A.

I don’t think anyone has a problem with a negative review. FannyBay’s review was not negative; it was cruel to the point of being weird. She actually makes personal attacks and the review was written in a childish, condescending tone. I think that is what everyone is taking issue with.

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Upon whom did she make personal attacks?

What am I missing?


The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Cruel to the point of being weird? :wacko:

*goes back to read*

Nope, I don't see anything I'd call cruel. It even has positive points.

Not to mention three more people have come to lavish the restaurant with praise, apparently as a direct result of the negative comments.


Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Eventually a youngish man strolled toward us, kicking a piece of paper, not once but a purposeful 3 times, along the floor and under the counter. Perhaps he feared germs and didn’t want to pick it up? Looking vacantly into our eyes he asked, do you have a reservation?

^cruel, weird, personal attack...

In the entry way was an umbrella stand and a shelf with what I can only assume are postcards (I was hoping they were small menus) and business cards.

^weird thing to say, why do we care about the umbrella stand and shelf?

Maybe it's just me, but her review is one of the most bizarre I have ever read.


Edited by waylman (log)

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