I love, love, love the chicken-fried oyster sandwich from the Fresh Local Wild food truck. Guy Fieri (shudder) even featured it in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I had high hopes for the standalone bistro that Fresh Local Wild’s chef/owner Josh Wolfe was opening in Vancouver’s Yaletown.
Less than three months old, Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar is a good-looking place. A whimsical blackboard wall has wine bottles stuck on it, with chalk descriptions of different varietals. I liked the feel of the restaurant, all modern woodsy, and butcher-paper specials on the wall.
Unfortunately, our food came in incongruous, plastic baskets — like the kind used in drive-thrus for hot dogs or burgers — and lined with checkered paper. It’s a weird choice amid the polished surroundings.
I wanted to see how the restaurant might be different from the mobile eatery, so I ordered the roasted chicken sandwich ($9), with a side of seafood chowder poutine ($5). I should have stuck with the beloved oyster sandwich.
The roasted chicken was surprisingly flavourless, overwhelmed by shredded lettuce and stuck on a mundane bun that quickly got soggy. To make matters worse, I crunched on a bit of chicken cartilage or bone that got missed.
The chowder poutine was not much better. The New England chowder — with pieces of mussels, clams, bacon, salmon and cod — was really bland, and the fries just got lost under the soup.
I thought perhaps it was just my order, but my dining partner’s B.C. Fish Shawarma salad ($12) was mediocre. The seasoned pieces of salmon, steelhead and ling cod looked quite sad on top of the greens. A pity because the concept sounded interesting.
Our server had to check a few times for the answers to our questions (Is the fish in the salad warm or cold? Is the chicken in the croissant sandwich flaked, or in chunks? What are the day’s specials?). She asked us how our meals were, exactly one minute after putting them on our table. Big pet peeve. I have no idea! I haven’t even had time to pick up my fork.
This was not a great experience. Perhaps these were hiccups as the newer business finds its footing; perhaps dinner is taken more seriously. I really want to like Good Wolfe and will likely return for another try. I should order the oyster sandwich.
Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar, open for lunch Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5 p.m.-midnight, weekend brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., cocktails 3-5 p.m.