Jethro's Fine Grub, Vancouver

As much as I enjoy a nice steak dinner, breakfast is still my favorite meal of the day. There is just something richly satisfying about eggs, most suitably accompanied by some sort of crispy pork product. When I went out for brunch with some friends a while back, a couple of them offered very high praise for Jethro’s Fine Grub. They told me it was a no-nonsense kind of place that served up some mean breakfast. I had been meaning to try Jethro’s and this recommendation was the final push I needed.

Jethro's Fine Grub, Vancouver

The original Jethro’s is located way out on Dunbar Street. Thankfully, they more recently opened up a second location on Fraser Street near 18th Avenue. That’s far closer to home for me. Inside, the decor reminds me of the greasy spoon diners from my childhood. The menu, on the other hand, is far more contemporary and “fresh” in its approach. You could say that Jethro’s is born out of the same kind of new tradition that brought us Red Wagon Cafe and Yolk’s.

I hesitate to use the term “hipster” in this context, but the recent gentrification of the Fraser Street area has led to that kind of vibe. Matchstick Coffee Roasters is just down the street and the now-closed Fray was just a few blocks in the other direction. The neighborhood is certainly in transition, mixing the old with the new. If you’re expecting higher-end finishes and “new” furniture at Jethro’s, you’ll be in for quite the surprise.

Going through the menu, you’ll find standards like corned beef hash and even chicken fried steak, but they’ve also got huevos rancheros, crab cake benedict, and pancakes folded with espresso and dark chocolate chips.

Jethro's Fine Grub, Vancouver
Catfish Po-Boy Sandwich with French Fries – $12
Battered and fried or Cajun rubbed and grilled. With lemon caper tarter, lettuce & tomato on a soft hoagie bun.

I know. This isn’t breakfast. I honestly went to Jethro’s with the full intention of ordering breakfast, but I just couldn’t resist some deep-fried catfish. The sandwich was substantial and the batter was crispy. Unfortunately, the fish was a little undercooked in the middle. The skin-on fries don’t appear to be house-made, though they tasted great.

Jethro's Fine Grub, Vancouver
South of Denver Omelette – $12
Smokey pulled pork, sauteed onions, peppers, smoked gouda and jalapenos. Served with hashbrowns and toast.

Susanne took the breakfast route with one of the omelettes. Both of us are easily drawn to pulled pork, so this was was a natural choice. The hash browns are more of the “smashed” browns variety. The dark rye “toast” wasn’t really toasted at all. Inside, the omelette featured a healthy portion of pulled pork and a little too much jalapeno pepper.

Jethro's Fine Grub, Vancouver

Jethro's Fine Grub on Urbanspoon

We may have built up too much hype about this place. Maybe we should have ordered some different breakfast items instead. Whatever the case, Jethro’s didn’t “wow” us the way we expected. It was just fine. Maybe that’s why it’s called “fine” grub and not “fantastic” grub. Maybe the better grub is on Dunbar.

Brunch for two came to $28, including tax and tip. The Jethro’s Fine Grub location on Fraser, at least for the time being, is a cash-only establishment. And yes, those are picture frames sans pictures.