Merchant’s Oyster Bar

You probably wouldn’t think such restaurant at this location and this neighborhood. This little restaurant at the corner of E 1st and Commercial Drive, you can see from the outside how clean and simple the place is. Once you enter you will see lots of different type of harbor lamps and anchors, making you feel like you are by the pier. We were greeted right away and seated right away without reservation.

They have only set menus, oysters or a la carte. With the four of us, we ordered three sets to share. Their set menus comes in different combinations:

1.       Snack, 1st course, 2nd course       $29

2.       1st course, 2nd course, dessert    $31

3.       Full four courses                           $37

I have to warn those who likes to have big meals to stay away from this place. This place is great for a drink with some snacks such as oysters and small bites. Even though they are written as course on the menu, they are verily small portions. Also they are quite slow with the meals, okay maybe I am just being nice. They are slow. So if you are hungry and want food fast, do not come here or else you will be pretty fungry.

So we did one set menu 1 and two set menu 2. For snacks we ordered oysters (of course you eat oysters if the restaurant name is Merchant’s Oyster 😛 ) I know the menu combination seems to a little hard to digest but you will understand more when you get there.

Oysters are fresh, good fresh. So if you like oyster maybe this will be a new oyster joint for you. Their quality is Rodney’s and Chewies, minus the noise and at times annoying waiters.

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1st Course:

Roasted Heirloom Beets – Moroccan spiced yogurt, citrus glaze and herbs

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Delicious sweet sweet beets with different colours and herbs, almost looked like a salad… I guess it is sort of a salad. But you know I just can’t get over how sweet the beets are! I absolutely love beets that these ones are so tasty! Sweet and right texture, they were perfect. Seriously, perfect. *in heavn~~*

Beef Tartare – sriracha, pickled shallots

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Don’t let the colours scare you, it is not as spicy as it looks. It is loaded with tomatoes, or maybe they are not tomatoes I don’t know what they are because they taste like tomatoe. But it is not that spicy. This one is actually very yummy also, the light refreshing tomatoe allows the beef to shine. Literally… XD I have eaten some tomatoes cooked with beef but never raw for both, but now I know the secret! It’s so great!

Linguine Carbonara – bacon, yolk, Parsley

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I would give this pasta a meh, because it is not that great. The pasta itself is a little too al dente. Flavour is a little bit lacking. Maybe they are good with meat and seafood?

2nd Course:

Pemberton Flank Steak – pan seared with herb puree, roast root vegetables, onion soubise

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Very good flavour steak, although of course it is not the best cut but the flavour of this totally makes up for it. It is hard to describe, I just really enjoyed it, not too heavy and just right. (Hahah, I guess they are essentially the same meaning. 😛 )

Pork Belly – with Brussels sprouts, House Mustard

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Was surprised how nonfat they were able to make this. Usually most restaurant pick a pretty fat cut, but this one piece is a good balance of fat and meat.

Spinach Ravioli – For some really odd reason I can’t even recall anything about this dish. It must means it is not just a very average dish. Nothing stands out (good or bad).

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Dessert:

Chocolate Ganache with brown butter and rose gelato

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Of course, if you order chocolate ganache you are expecting rich chocolate flavour, but I just don’t know about that think puree at the bottom… I didn’t know what I was eating, it’s just not good. I guess they are not very good at dessert either. But the rose gelato is so good, full of rose aroma in every bite.

They are participating in the Dine Out Vancouver right now, so you can for sure go try it out. Maybe they are still quite young and learning new stuff and styles. Maybe next time I will return with a few friends to see if anything has changes.

Sorry for the bad quality photo, I left my camera at home. 😦

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