"GOOD FOOD AND A GREAT LOUNGE"
Location: 2616 Main St, Vancouver
It's Saturday night, you and 14 friends want to go out to celebrate someones birthday, have some eats and some funky cocktails... where do you go? Well, actually, in this city, there are alot of places to choose from but this time, our friend Sarah chose to celebrate her birthday at THE CASCADE ROOM. It's a funky joint from the owners of HABIT that, as they describe it, "takes you back to the golden age of the cocktail" which sounds good to me but what didn't was the food. I'd never eaten at CASCADE but from what I had heard, the food was the weak link to this place, so much so, some friends chose not to go back because of it. We were informed that a new menu would be in effect, so we decided to give it a shot and I'm glad we did, the food was great, the cocktails were fantastic and our night at THE CASCADE ROOM was a hit.
First off, let's talk cocktails - this places has an extensive list of kick ass and crazy sounding cocktails. While I stuck with my ususals (Caesars & Cuba Libres), people tried: the cascade room cocktail (bourbon shaken hard with fresh pressed apple & lime juices, vanilla bean, bitters and egg white, served straight up with a shaving of roasted hazelnut), dark 'n' stormy (dark bermuda rum built with fresh lime, bitter and topped with ginger beer), moscow mule (vodka, fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters, topped with ginger beer, served tall), pimm's cocktail (pimm's topped with ginger ale, with mint, cucumber, orange, lemon and an apple thrown in), bellini (peach brandy and white peach puree topped with champagne), mint julep (fresh mint muddled with sugar, filled with crushed ice and a generous measure of kentucky bourbon) and the absinthe cocktail (prepared traditionally, absinthe on the rocks, gently stirred with spring water and flame dripped sugar). All were big, tasty and sensational, this place definitely knows cocktails.
Now, how about the food?!? As I said, previous reports said that the food at THE CASCADE ROOM was quite disappointing but while Sarah was making the reservation, the hostess informed her that a "new menu" was being launched this very weekend, so we gave it a shot. Here's a sampling of what we tried:
- Rocket Salad (toasted pumpkin seeds, dried apple, herb crusted goat’s cheese, black currant vinaigrette)
- Crisp Calamari (lemon & oregano breading, roasted red pepper & smoked paprika aioli)
- Malaspina Mussels Lafayette (white wine, garlic, Cajun spices, light cream & flatbread)
- Tagliatelle Amatriciana (smoked, then braised pork cheeks, tomato sauce, fresh chili, tagliatelle pasta)
- Organic Mushroom Risotto (carnaroli rice, organic mushrooms, rosemary & tempura oyster mushroom garnish)
- Northern BC Buffalo Top Sirloin (aged white cheddar & potato gratin, maple glazed beets, Tawny Port jus)
- Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef Burger (white Ivanhoe cheddar, house made bacon, crispy shallots, three mustard aioli, hand cut fries & mini green salad)
- crisp polenta fries (with curried mayo dip)
I am happy to report that the food is a hit! Honestly out of all of the dishes here, people enjoyed them all except for the Buffalo Sirloin which was surprisingly tough but otherwise, thumbs up all around. I had the Burger and this was one hell of a burger, thick cut bacon, ivanhoe cheddar and crisp onions on top, this thing was a taste sensation. The Polenta Fries were massive and for only $6, a hell of a deal. The Risotto was fresh, light and falvorful and the Tagliatelle, rich, scrumptious and finger-licking good. Another point of concern was that the Mussels were served with crisp flatbread which made it really hard to soak up the yummy mussel sauce, they need some soft bread to help lap up the goodness, crisp bread just doesn't cut it. All in all though, the food was dynamite.
For a group of 15, the service was fantastic, our waitress was friendly, attentive and prompt, the food came quickly despite the business of the restaurant, and as I mentioned earlier, the cocktails were massive. THE CASCADE ROOM is a definite hit with me, not only for their eats but for a place to hang out and have some drinks. Good food and a great lounge make THE CASCADE ROOM a casual winner!
RATING: 7/10 FULL BELLIES