A little over two years ago, we went to Edible Canada in Granville Island for the first time. Everyone couldn’t stop raving about the duck fat fries (and the duck fat poutine), so we had to check it out for ourselves. It’s a cool space with an innovative menu typical of Vancouver’s foodie culture, replete with local craft beer. For this year’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival, we decided that Edible Canada at the Market would be our first stop. We were naturally drawn to the $30 three-course menu, which is especially unique this time around.
Edible Canada is doing something a little different this year. This menu is different from what we offer on a daily basis. We have invited Chef Rich Francis, Chef and Founder of The Seventh Fire Hospitality Group, Red Chef Revival & Cooking for Reconciliation, to help us prepare a truly Canadian menu which showcases indigenous cuisine.
Rich Francis was also a competitor on Top Chef Canada (and the only one of First Nations heritage at that).
Seal Tataki (+$3)
I’m not going to dive into an ethical discussion over this. Edible Canada says that the seal comes by way of a sustainable source in the Maritimes where the seal population is large and healthy. From a culinary perspective, seal tataki tastes almost exactly how you’d imagine it would. The meaty texture is vaguely reminiscent of other game meats, but there is a distinct “fishy” flavor to it. With a definite “chew” to it, the meat is a remarkably deep crimson color, almost like a dark purple.
You could say it’s somewhere between beef sashimi and tuna tataki, but not really. It’s certainly not as fatty as I had anticipated either. The dish consisted of eight or so slices of about an inch or two each.
Elk Tartare (+$5)
Grilled onion, mustard seeds, puffed wild rice, onion bannock
What can I say? Apparently, I have a thing for undercooked (or even raw) meat. The elk tartare was well seasoned and not at all gamey. The puffed rice, which were basically like Rice Krispies but with much more of a toasted flavor to them, added a great textural contrast and I enjoyed the slightly denser bannock in lieu of a more typical baguette or cracker. This was definitely better than the the steak tartare I had in France.
Heirloom bean salad, pork jowl, sea asparagus, burnt lemon
I didn’t try this, but the heirloom beans looked good!
Grilled Elk Medallions (+$8)
Anishinaabe wild rice and steel cut oat risotto, buffalo sage, Arctic blueberry
It’s not entirely accurate to refer to this dish as elk “medallions,” as it was really more like a sliced elk steak. Not that I’m complaining. As a leaner meat cooked to a beautiful medium rare, the elk was a little on the tough side. The Arctic blueberry complemented the flavors nicely and I always enjoy a good risotto.
Smoked Arctic Char (+$5)
Celery root, salt pork, Hazelmere kale, wheat berries, apple beurre blanc
Strictly speaking, Arctic char isn’t “salmon” but it is classified as part of the same salmonidae family. The skin had just a bit of a crisp to it, and while the meat had a mild and enjoyable flavor to it, I didn’t really taste the “smoke” indicated in the dish’s name. The temperature was spot on with a bright pale pink color.
Buttermilk Brined Crispy Turkey Leg
Squash purée, cabbage, blackberry honey
I asked my mom how this was and whether the meat was dry, as is oftentimes the case with turkey, and she told me that it probably would be dry if it were not for the sauce. The color of the squash puree just looks crazy too, doesn’t it?
Cedar Roasted Okanagan Apples
Fried bannock, maple brown butter, goat cheese
I’m generally a fan of apple-cinnamon almost anything and I enjoyed this relatively (deceptively?) simple dessert. Three observations stuck out to me. First, leaving the skin on the two pieces of apple left for an unexpected (and undesirable) textural element. Second, the sweet bannock coated in sugar reminded me of a denser churro; I was expecting it more in a flatbread kind of shape, like a beaver tail (or whale’s tail, if you prefer). And third, the goat cheese wasn’t nearly as strong as I had anticipated either. It was almost like vanilla ice cream.
Wild Berry Pot du Crème
Smoky ginger cookie
If it were not for the apple-cinnamon appeal of the first dessert, I would have naturally gravitated toward the classic pot du creme. You can’t really go wrong with either option.
As with my previous visits to Edible Canada, I walked away from our Dine Out Vancouver experience thoroughly satisfied. It wasn’t perfect, as nothing really ever is, but I appreciate the dedication to originality and offering something just a little different (and not just for the sake of being different). We’ll be back for sure. The kid-friendly nature of the restaurant definitely helps too.
The total bill for three adults and one preschooler, including taxes and gratuity, came to just over $140.