Friday, May 17, 2013

Vancouver: Joey

vancity passion
:Various, Burrard:

Vancouver chain restaurants have become Toronto's local watering holes. You go to hunt, not to eat. But in their natural element, these chain restaurants continue to thrive - a perfect balance of after work fun but always against a backdrop of great eats.

When I was still in Toronto I shared with you how I felt about Cactus Club.  Yes, I still love it, but not as much, especially not after Joey. I'm pretty sure Vancity is the only place where you can love chain restaurants and not fall off your high horse.

After all this time, I finally tried Joey.  I likely avoided it on name alone. I loved a Joey once. A long time, another life ago.

My experience at Joey was guided by Totoro. She has great taste, knows food, and is oodles upon noodles of fun. I don't see Totoro often, but love when I do.

The service is spectacular. It really is. They say as much on their site, and they practice what they preach. I've heard executive chef Chris Mills is intensely passionate about what he does.  The food is a testament to that. No one mentioned how cute he is...but he is isn't he?

I can't eloquently describe the menu, so I won't try. There's an obvious Asian influence, but the food crosses all sorts of demarcation lines without being predictablyfusion. If you know anything about food, you'd know this is not an easy task - especially not for a big restaurant group. Yet Joey pulls it off.

Two of the dishes deserve to be praised. When creativity drives a great dish and melds flavours and textures - it really is phenomenal:

Sushi cones - seriously?
Beautiful, innovative, elegant, delicious
Crispy mashed potatoes (off-menu order of a side)
Unique, unexpected, and delicious
Totoro and I also shared:

Ahi tuna tacos
Not my favourite. They were awkward to eat and I don't like deep fried wontons.
 I love that 
Totoro agrees - we can't both be wrong. Still pretty. 
Lettuce wraps
Crisp fresh lettuce cups (bonus points for attention to detail - these cups were perfectly cut) and a generous serving of shrimp-noodle goodness
We also had a side of fries. Because I always have to have french fries. Joey's fries? Great.

And one must always end on a sweet note:

Have mercy
I f*cking love doughnuts. These remind me of the amazing plump lemon doughnuts I had in Sydney at Rockpool. Just as delicious. Lemon curd mascarpone creme and fried dough. 

Lively, great decor, fantastic service, and above all - affordable and consistent.

I love a new Joey. He's nothing like the first; this Joey's inventive, ambitious, and quite perfect.

Joey Burrard on Urbanspoon

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