Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vancouver: PiDGin


Yes, DTES. Hence all this

Let's put gentrification aside as I don't think the owners of PiDGiN are trying to displace anyone. Let's also forget the name for the moment - is it cheeky? witty? or just lame?

There was great promise. It had far to fall. And fall it did.

I love the pa/mi-ssion they set out on.  It comes across in their words. Sadly, it didn't come across on their plates. 

Why do I bother? Because I hope they come across my blog. I'm no Jeffery Steingarten or Andrew Knowlton (yes I still crush), but I am their target demographic. 30-something professional with a penchant for fashion, a lust for great eats and a disposable income for the trendy, hip and fabulous. But I, their target market, was disappointed.

I LOVED the interior - my favourite type of decor: clean, white, modern, with unique accents, an open kitchen concept - just a great vibe...

Their food was just okay. But placed in a fine dining context and all that that entails, they were sub-standard. And one dish - rice cakes, pork belly, tomato sauce, furikake - was just plain offensive. The rice cake and tomato sauce combination was a bad idea. I haven't been that unimpressed in a long, long time. Not every play on a traditional dish will translate well - you can fuse things however which way you want but you could be asking for disaster. That dish was a perfect example of fusion gone bad.

These three were good:

cured steelhead, asian pear, ginger, sesame $14 - fresh and tasty
fried chicken wings $12 - fried+chicken=YUM
scallops, fried polenta, brussel sprouts, XO, caper raisin $17 - great polenta

These three were okay:
potatoes, spicy cod roe, seaweed butter $10 - odd, didn't work for me
mushrooms, sugar snap peas, egg, soy yuzu brown butter $12 - meh
foie gras, rice bowl, chestnuts, daikon, unagi glaze $20 - unagi glaze makes everything better

There were complaints of underseasoning, blandness, and just plain, unappetizing.  There were a few praises sprinkled throughout, but it definitely wasn't the majority. Those fell by the wayside when service went from hero to zero. The waiter dropped off the planet after all our dishes came out. We struggled to place a dessert order, and we struggled to get our bill.  It wasn't just me, we all felt it - it was clear he decided to "drop us".

The dessert finally came and I had only one question - what were they thinking?  It was good, but what was with the celery - it added nothing but confusion:

Odd note to end an odd meal.  
Please know, I am sad about this experience...I wanted to tell a different story, I really did.

PiDGiN on Urbanspoon

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