Dine Out Vancouver 2014: L’Abattoir

L’Abattoir has successfully cinched its place in my heart for favorite restaurant.  Honestly, I’ve never thought I would name one as my favorite, but L’Abattoir has done just that.

I made Fannypack come with me for their $38 Dine Out Vancouver menu.  In my opinion this was one of the better bang-for-your-buck restaurants as an entree easily runs you $30 here, and now you get a full meal for a mere $8 more.  Food quality should also be dependable, even during Dine Out, but mind you I’ve only been here once, so I guess we’re about to find out!

L'Abattoir: Roast octopus and fennel salad

Once again Fannypack allowed me first choice on food.  I had my eye on the octopus here ever since Awkward Diner told me how amazing it was.  So I picked the Roast octopus and fennel salad for my appetizer.  It was accompanied by slices of green olives and smoked pepper squid ink sauce.  Presentation was beautiful.

Even more beautiful??? The taste.  My tastebuds were once again amazed.  The octopus was extremely tender and meaty (nothing like the octopus served at sushi restaurants…tough and chewy!!).  You could slice them with a butter knife (which was what I had) and was soft yet retaining some chew.  The sucker parts were also roasted to a slight crunch.  It was marinated perfectly.

I’m also a fan of fennel.  They seem to be just lightly tossed with seasoning so they were mild, which was perfect as they didn’t take away from the awesomeness of the octopus.  This was my favorite dish of the night.

L'Abattoir: Homemade duck pate

Since I picked the octopus, Fannypack was left to get the Homemade duck pate.  Served on top of sourdough and topped with vegetable pickles and mustard, the tartness easily cut through the richness of the pate.  The ducky “aroma” wasn’t very prominent though, and if we didn’t know it was duck it would’ve been hard to tell.  Some might not like that, Fannypack did though as she wouldn’t have been a fan of too much “duckiness”.

Oh, and since she had originally wanted the octopus too, I made her eat some of mine 😉

L'Abattoir: Veal picatta

Finally I was able to get Fannypack to make the first choice for entrees. She picked the Veal picatta with saffron risotto and mushrooms a la greque. She commented that the sauce was a bit sour. However that seems to have subsided as she dig into her meal. A Google search later reveals that “a la greque/grecque” means cooked in vinegar or lemon juice. There you go.

The veal was a bit tough to cut, but it wasn’t to eat. The risotto was creamy almost like creamed corn.

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Birthday dinner #2 – forage

Forage was a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try so I took the opportunity of my birthday to ‘gently suggest’ to Fannypack to take me there on a separate occasion to celebrate (as that is our thing), so that brings us to birthday dinner #2!

As we were quickly told by the extremely attentive server, the plates here are meant to be shared (although you are welcome to hoard it all if you so choose to), so we (I) picked a few items to share.

On another note, Hitman lost these pictures too so the ones here are courtesy of Fannypack also! Lifesaver much??

forage: Kale and Apple Chips

First up the Kale and Apple Chips ($5).  There’s a mix of purple and green kale which created a very aesthetically pleasing presentation.  The chips were salted just right but I did find them a bit greasy as I suspected them to be deep-fried (I roast mine at home).  Found out from Mary’s blog post about Forage as I was writing this that they’re baked in a convection oven so that’s not so bad then.  I would be happier if there were more apple chips though.

forage: Marinated octopus

Next was one of my choices: Marinated octopus ($15) with roasted garlic crostini, gribiche, and pickled yellowfoot chanterelles.

The octopus was extremely tender and flavorful.  I liked to eat them by themselves as I found the gribiche (a sort of egg-based tartar sauce) too tart and overpowering when combined with the delicate octopus.  The gribiche presented itself like your usual egg salad.

Speaking of tart…the pickled chanterelles were quite up there!

forage: Foraged and cultivated mushrooms

I can eat mushrooms all day, so the Foraged and cultivated mushrooms ($12) was of course another one of my picks.  It had a mix of crimini button, chanterelle, shimiji and oyster mushrooms.  Topped with Happy Island goat’s cheese, it was served with caraway rye bread.

I much enjoyed the mushroom-y parts but I did think this was on the salty side.  It was also really rich.

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Noryanjin / Noryangjin Fish Market – Noryangjin, Seoul Korea

So…now comes the time of the main attraction…the whole purpose of our trip to South Korea.

Prior to the trip we had researched just where would be a good place to have this sannakji: fresh raw octopus, the tentacles of which are served still squirming on the plate.  It turns out, a lot of restaurants that serve sashimi will serve it also, but you have to ask if they have the fresh kind.

Fresh huh….aside from fishing it out of the sea yourself, the freshest seafood you can get it probably if you can pick it out of a tank, then immediately serve it up…

That’s it.  We’re heading to Noryangjin Fish Market (sometimes called Noryanjin), where you pick your kill, then pick a restaurant to have them killed.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

This massive wet market is all seafood.  It’s 24 hours and is just a 20 minute train ride from Myeongdong.  There were hawkers at each stall yelling at you to buy from them.  I think they know you’re here for live octopus, as that’s what they point you to right from the beginning.

Oh ya: most of them speak Mandarin.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

There’s just so much to see.  Massive forearm-sized prawns, HUGE scallops on a rope, a mini shark head, pufferfish…  At a few tanks I swear I saw some fish which I’ve only known to be kept as pets in saltwater tanks.  There’s also alien looking worms that I only know to be 沙蟲 in Chinese.  I asked how they are supposed to be served…the answer was as sashimi.  We silently said no to that.

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