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Dine Out Vancouver: The Smoking Dog Bistro

So it was my first time participating in Dine Out Vancouver (yay!) and my friends and I decided to check out Smoking Dog Bistro as none of us had eaten here before and the $28.00 menu was unique and appealing. Our waitress was helpful, friendly, and  forthcoming about what her favourite dishes were and what we could expect. The whole process happened so fast, I would have liked to have sat, digested, and savoured the experience a little before the next dish was brought out.

I ordered the Smoked Salmon Terrine. I loved the red onion jam, as it really rounded out the saltines of the terrine. With the grilled baguette this was very satisfying for an appetizer.

Smoked Salmon Terrine with house made red onion jam, grilled french baguette and pickled golden beets

My friends ordered the Flank Steak with Ratatouille. The steak was tender and perfectly cooked, and I especially liked the slight char. The ratatouille was “flavoured perfectly”.  The portion was really small however.

Thinly sliced Flank steak with ratatouille and red wine glace de viand

We debated which entrée to order, each option sounded delicious, however we craved something hearty and ended up all ordering the lamb shank. I did see the salmon leaving the kitchen and felt a pang of regret because it looked very good – however, I was not disappointed with the lamb.

Braised Lamb Shank with sun-dried tomato soft polenta and sautéed haricot verts

The meat fell off the bone it was so succulent, and I loved the creamy polenta/sun-dried tomato flavour combo – that sauce was so good it could have been it’s own dish, I wish there had been more of it! I ordered a glass of the Sandhill Cabernet-Franc, the suggested pairing, and thought it went very well together.

We ordered all three desserts and decided unanimously that the French lemon pie with raspberry coulis and hazelnut whipped cream was the best. It had a tart, fresh (you can almost taste the individual lemons) citrus flavour which was refreshing after the richness of the lamb shank.

I’ve never had bacon in a dessert, so the candied bacon chocolate fudge cake (an important distinction, since the online menu states that this is a fudge, not a cake) sounded like something I should try. The chocolate fudge and hazelnut cream were great. However, I felt the bacon cooked into the cake, although tasty, was underwhelming overall. The pieces were a little too big, so you’d be left chewing on chunks of bacon in the end.

The wild berry parfait with raspberry coulis and white chocolate whipped cream was mediocre, and as my friend pointed out it’s still “just a parfait”. It was a really small portion, despite probably being the cheapest to produce, and only had a scant scattering of berries. It didn’t help that they put such a small portion into such a large cup. At the level of their other fare, if you are going to serve a fruit and yoghurt dessert, it better be amazing.

All in all this was a very enjoyable meal. I will definitely return to The Smoking Dog Bistro as I was impressed with the ambiance and most of the food.
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