4434 West 10th Avenue
(604) 221 7839
Shokutsu: Big, bold, hearty stews. I think many cultures around the world have them in some form or another. Perhaps, its all derived from our primitive roots when meals evolved into these one pot wonders cooked over fire, that were filled with the meat of animals that were killed on the plains, in the mountains and forests of our great planet, as well as the local vegetation that was available to help flavor everything and provide other nutrients for our human ancestors.
Skipping to the modern day, Burgoo Bistro has taken this concept to heart, priding itself on offering ‘food for comfort’. The ‘classics’ section on their bistro menu features some current takes (some quite liberally I might add) on this stew concept with homages to variations from around the world, such as the Decadent French Onion, Ratatouille Provencale, Lamb Tagine, Butter Chicken and even incorporating their namesake in the Kentucky Burgoo. Having expanded to three locations (two in Vancouver, one in North Vancouver), as well as burgeoning retail and catering elements to their business, the empire continues to grow, and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
As described by the menu, my ordered Irish Stew was comprised of Guinness-braised lamb and vegetables, along with homemade dumplings and garlic tinged mash potatoes. Honestly, I am not a frequent drinker of this dark beer, but could not really tell if it had added anything to the flavor in this dish. Perhaps it was the under-seasoned chunks of lamb meat? I mean they were not overdone, but at the same time lacking any true tenderness, as some took more effort to chew. If there was a positive, for those who don’t like the game-y scent of lamb, there was very little of it here. The added vegetables also did nothing to excite my taste buds as they were also very conservatively seasoned, and the dumplings, other than providing perhaps the softest texture in this bowl besides the soft mash, again did not impress and were clearly an afterthought. Finally, I had wished they had provided more of the broth in which it was cooked and reduced in, as near the end, it was evident that the ingredients were drying out in my bowl, making the glass of water nearby seem more and more appealing. That should never happen when having an actual meal.
And now, without any further delay, I would like to introduce to you all our newest Foodosophy contributor, and my dining companion on this day, for his thoughts on our meal together…
Prefectionist: First off, my thanks go out to Shokutsu and Foodosopher for giving me the opportunity to express my opinions on Foodosophy. I’ve come to appreciate the writing styles of Shokutsu and Foodosopher and will strive to describe my eating adventures as eloquently as they do.
As a relative newbie to Vancouver, I’m still not used the gray skies and the constant drizzle that’s associated with the change in seasons here. So indulging in something warm and hearty was definitely enticing on this rainy day. Looking at my options, I quickly decided on the Beef Bourguignon. This classic French dish is essentially a stew that calls for braised beef, carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions and garlic. Mashed potatoes, rice or noodles are secondary to the stew.
Once my meal arrived I immediately noticed the generous portion of mashed potatoes topped with the beef bourguignon. In my opinion, the key factor that makes or breaks a bowl of stew is the braised beef. It should be moist, tender and be barely holding itself together. Frankly, the beef was just cooked not braised, making for some tough pieces of meat. The pearl onions lacked any good caramelization and much like the beef, the carrots were undercooked. On the bright side, the mashed potatoes were excellent, but unfortunately, I wanted Beef Bourguignon.
Did it satisfy my initial cravings for something warm and hearty? Yes. Would I recommend it? Probably not. I’m a big fan of French onion soup so maybe I’ll give that a try on another rainy day, which judging from the forecast, shouldn’t be that far away.