First, I have to apologize for the bad lighting and blurred pictures because it does our night at Catch 122 no justice. My camera was running low on batteries so I had to quickly do with what I can, and these were some of the better ones. As for the lighting, partly me for not using flash, but I blame the street lights and candle that was on our table.
Located in downtown’s historic Gastown, the restaurant is small yet long due to the old buildings’ spacing, with an open kitchen and a full espresso bar. Even though we arrived a bit early for our reservations, we still had to wait about 15 minutes until we were seated. The host was extremely nice, not to mention good looking, so it wasn’t a problem waiting. The place was packed, and more people came in during our dinner. It was dim, so gave off a romantic feel. I liked the decor, especially the brick wall with all its posters and pictures. It gave off a really retro-french cafe feel. Seating, however, wasn’t as comfortable. It felt cold, especially since we were by the door, and the seats were all wood with no cushioning. Not to mention the voices of everyone echoing throughout the narrow restaurant due to the lack of music.
It was during Dine Out, with three choices to choose from for each course, so coming as a party of three was prefect to try everything. Being at $28, and labeled as ‘french food’ is an understatement for this place. I would have paid $38, and felt that it was worth every penny for their flavours and thought put into each dish.
Santa Ana – Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina)
Being a french cuisine, I believe their cafe comes first due to the lack of a wine list. Their selection is not expensive, being between $30-$40 per bottle. Our server informed us that their wines tend to be a bit dry, but recommended one that would be a bit sweeter, and should go nicely with our meal. Even through his thoughtfulness, we left about 1/4 of the bottle unfinished because it was too dry.
Bread came first to help us wash down the wine. It was just plain white bread that looked like it was made in-house, with butter on the side.
Avocado Sorbet & Salmon Tartare; house-made avocado tequila sorbet
The sorbet was interesting, but it tasted more like a mojito than avocado, maybe due to the tequila. The salmon was fresh and had flavours of its own, but together with the sorbet it was perfect. The two complimented each other, it was a shame that there wasn’t more! the little leaf thing, I don’t know what it was, but it tasted kinda peppery and spicy.
Duck Confit Ravioli; house-made duck confit ravioli, ricotta and sage butter
There were only three ravioli, which was a good number for us to share, and also a starter size. It was good, but just felt underwhelmed and missing. Could have done better if it came to the table hot instead of lukewarm.
Prawn Bisque; with seared scallop
Before the soup hit the table, the flavours hit you first. Just like the aroma, the flavours were strong and present, screaming that it’s a prawn bisque. It was good, but aside from the single scallop, it had nothing else. If this prawn bisque were to mix with the lobster one from Ciao Bella it would have been perfect.
Beef Side Ribs; smoked and braised in house-made barbecue sauce with bone marrow mashed potato
Both Fatboy and my brother chose the ribs, so I couldn’t try the Steelhead Trout, but browsing over other tables it looked delicious as well. However, this was not a bad choice nor a disappointment. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone type, and it was huge. Not just the plate or the bone, but the size of that thing was enormous! Didn’t really taste the bone marrow, but it doesn’t matter, because the mashed potato plus their sauce equals sex in my mouth. Aside from the mashed potato, they also had a roasted one, and the Chinese gai lan on the side. The gai lan didn’t strike me as weird as I thought, unlike with the bok choi at Ciao Bella.
Rabbit Three Ways; braised leg, pan seared rack and prosciutto wrapped tenderloin stuffed with mushroom and sage, with lemongrass rabbit jus
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to thee the highlight, and main reason for this visit; the rabbit. I found it interesting since it wasn’t on their regular menu, and how often does one eat rabbit? Especially in Vancouver. I used to have a pet rabbit, so was a bit iffy about eating one, but it felt like one of those things you just have to try in life at least once. The leg was enjoyable, not as tough as I had imagined. The rack was average, a bit dry and flaky, I also found the small bones annoying. The tenderloin can easily be my favourite on the dish, who doesn’t like meat stuffed and wrapped in bacon? It was juicy and flavourful. As the saying goes, “it tasted like chicken”, but with just a bit of gaminess to it. It came with the same sides as the ribs, with the addition of carrots and a very tasty carrot puree.
Belgian Triple Chocolate Terrine; raspberry red wine coulis
PBJ Ice Cream Sandwich; house-made peanut butter ice cream, raspberry sorbet and chocolate chip cookie
Sticky Toffee Pudding; hazelnut Baileys cream
All three of the desserts were a hit for me, mainly cause I was the one that ended up finishing it all. Aside from the terrine, the other two were the complete opposite of what I thought.
The terrine was thick and rich with chocolate, with the raspberry being just tart enough to cut through, but not too overwhelming. As the name suggested, I expected the ice cream sandwich to look more like an ice cream sandwich, like the Klondike Bar. Instead it had the raspberry sorbet covering the peanut butter, and the little round disk on the side being the cookie. The pudding was the biggest throw-off of the night. Being a ‘pudding’ one would think creamy and runny, apparently that’s not the case for Catch 122. It tasted like toffee, it felt like the sticky and gooieness of toffee, but it wasn’t in pudding form, nor can it be considered a full solid. It confused my mouth but in a good way as it swam in Baileys, and covered in whip cream.
Apart from the wine, it was a wonderful night. I would like to come back in the morning for lunch or a quick coffee break instead. Even though they tried to incorporate a fine dining feel, it still doesn’t cut off as one. Especially with the close and uncomfortable seating. I would come for dinner just for their ribs though!