THE CHARLATAN – 1447 Commercial Drive Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (604) 253-2777

12 Mar

PRICE: $10-$30

I’m tired.  Well not too tired.  Not yet burn-out tired.  The kind of tired that comes from working all day with a lingering flu, hacking cough, and semi-functioning throat.  The kind of tired that would love to be relieved relaxing at a bar hanging with a bunch of people.

As we enter The Charlatan, I realize that I’m in absolute love with the way the whole place is set up; upon entering, you come across the usual dimly lit bar/eating area, yet keep going past the bar and you come across a small sofa/lounge area that leads into a basement complete with its own bar and a more cozy and intimate setting.  This place is great in that it offers space for the rowdier party crowd upstairs, and a little haven for the people in need of just chilling in its basement.

Unfortunately, the place I need to be in (the chill area) is completely occupied, and our hostess guides us to quite possibly the worst place in the entire pub; the table right next to the goddamn speaker.  As we sit down, I decide it’s not a total loss, but within half-an-hour, the sound guy decides it’s time to crank the speakers to clubbing-on-a-Friday-or-Saturday-night levels.  The young hipsters that compose the majority of the crowd here don’t seem to mind.

“SO THIS IS WHAT BEING A DEAF PERSON MUST FEEL LIKE!”

“HUH?!”

“NEVERMIND!”

“WHAT?!”

“FORGET IT!”

Such was the limit of my ability to interact socially for most of the night.

Fortunately, where the night failed socially, it succeeded culinary-ly (yes, I just made up a word).  Aside from serving high end import and local beers and mixed drinks, The Charlatan is blessed with an array pretty good food choices, providing standard pub food while mixing it up with a few more exotic dishes.

Beer, a Caesar, and a Screwdriver make their way to our table.  The beer is fine; the aptly named ‘Black and Tan’ is a combination of Stout and Pale Ale that results in… a more watery Stout?  While I’ll give them credit for making it pretty drinkable (something like this could have gone horribly, horribly wrong), it didn’t really work for me.  The combination of these two beers sounded interesting, but in practice came across as unremarkable.

  “Seeing food on a menu, then seeing it in real life is just like going on a date with someone you met on an online dating service.”

They forgot to put Vodka in the Screwdriver.  This will probably remain the most expensive glass of orange juice we had ever ordered.

The Caesar is very well made.  Aside from providing extra veggies (something I have a soft spot for), the balance of spice, tomato juice and booze is good, making for a satisfying drink.

The food finally starts introducing itself to us.  Seeing food on a menu, then seeing it in real life is just like going on a date with someone you met on an online dating service.  It usually sounds good and looks good when you’re ordering it, but then you meet the real thing and it melts your face.  In a bad way.

Fortunately, it turns out okay.

The Burger is just that; a typical burger that you can find at any joint, be it Sammy J Pepper’s, Cactus Club, or any other bar.  It’s well made, so let’s call it a higher-end burger, but still nothing to really write home about.

The Poutine A La Maison Charlatan turns out to be quite impressive.   Pulled Pork drenched in Barbecue Sauce sits atop a mountain of Fries, Kennebec Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Montreal Cheese Curds.  While the Barbecue Sauce can be a little over-powering at times, this combination of toppings results in what is generally an enjoyable eat.  The Onions provide a sweet crunch, the Pulled Pork is tender and melt-in-your-mouth, and the Cheese is just awesome.  A very good Poutine.

The real star of the show, however, had to be the Gnocchi Antipasto.  The fact that food like this is served here is one of the main reasons you can call this place a gastro-pub instead of just a pub.  Seared Potato Gnocchi is crowned with fresh Herb Pesto, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Rosemary Brown Butter, and drizzled in Balsamic Syrup.  It’s simply great.  The Pesto is smooth yet retains the zing, the Tomatoes are literally bursting with flavour, and the combination of the Butter and Balsamic Syrup creates a delicately savoury sensation that should really be experienced.  Impressive.

Overall, the strengths of this place lie in the actual layout, design and look of the place itself, and the generally satisfying entrees.  The mixed drinks seemed to be hit-and-miss; stick to straight-up beer to be safe.  Lastly, if you’re staying upstairs, I hope you enjoy extremely loud hip-hop.

“THIS TASTES PRETTY GOOD!”

“WHAT?!”

The Charlatan on Urbanspoon

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10 Responses to “THE CHARLATAN – 1447 Commercial Drive Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (604) 253-2777”

  1. jess March 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Enjoying your food journeys. Keep it up!

  2. Sarah March 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    An apt and entertaining report – and so true! It’s too bad we weren’t in the bowels of the cavern last night…

    What an awesome blog!

    • dashtodine87 March 14, 2012 at 3:54 am #

      I do my best to make sure it doesn’t read like a boring description. Thanks for the love!

  3. Carmen Pinto March 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    “They forgot to put Vodka in the Screwdriver. This will probably remain the most expensive glass of orange juice we had ever ordered.” Lol.

    • dashtodine87 March 14, 2012 at 3:55 am #

      LOL. In retrospect, it’s so much more funny! At the moment its a -__-

  4. Julian March 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    This place looks like you can meet the most outgoing of people around. It’s definitely a place to check out not just for the environment but for the food as well. Because the pictures already got to me I mean comme onnn Gnocchi antipasti * drool *

    • dashtodine87 March 14, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      Yes, a picture I left out of the post was of me wiping up pools of my own drool on the table. :S

  5. Timothy Wan March 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Wow, I should really check out this place one time, you should definately take me there next time

    • Steven March 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

      That I will…♥

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