At Catch 122, tasty
Eats pre Canucks’ game.
My first visit to Catch 122 was the start of an awful day. It was the Sunday of the 2014 Heritage Classic (a.k.a the final straw for Lu) and I was never more embarrassed to be a Canucks fan. Other fans thought it was a fun idea to boo their own starting goalie, Eddie Lack, who got the start over Lu due to the sheer lunacy of Coach Torts.
The game was maddening and so was my pre game brunch at Catch 122. The sloppy service was excruciatingly slow and the food was so poorly executed; as just one example, I got under cooked beans in my baked bean side dish.
From the pre game meal to the team and its fans, that day was a gong show. Due to the overall suckiness of that March Sunday, I have never stepped foot into Catch 122 since.
However 20 months later, a chef change, menu revamp and some positive experiences shared over Instagram, I thought it was time to give Catch 122 another chance.
Once again my meal happened prior to a Canucks game, but this time it was dinner. The Distributor and I, in our home team jerseys, step into the joint and immediately the experience was positively different.
Our waiter was attentive and made sure our items were sent out a timely fashion so that we could get to the arena to enjoy the game.
We started with the Fried Chicken and Crispy Octopus appetizers.
The chicken was very juicy. Overall, the dish tasted great with sweetness from the maple glazed that coated the meat, and spiciness and creaminess, from the chili dusted smoked mayo. The only downside with this poultry dish was that it was not very crispy. The maple glaze softened the fried coating on the chicken.
The Crispy Octopus was a bit of a surprise. Both the Distributor and I thought it would be similar to calamari but it ended up being octopus hickory sticks. The skinnier sticks were crispy like a chip. The fatter pieces were a bit tough and chewy. The octopus went well with the wakame dusted mayo provided.
I thought this appy was a perfect companion snack for a Happy Hour beer. However I don’t think it worked as a starter to a proper sit down meal.
For our entrees we shared the Potato Gnocchi and the Braised Beef Shin. The gnocchi dish was the blandest and weakest dish of the evening. However, the gnocchi was pillow-y soft and cooked well. Unfortunately the pickled mushroom overwhelmed the consommé and squash flavours with its tartness.
In contrast, the Braised Beef Shin was the standout of the meal. It had bold flavours and each component of dish combined to create a delicious experience. The beef shin was fork tender, savoury, beefy and salted well.
Equally as good was the smoked farro. This grain had a great smoky taste and a nice texture. The hay baked carrots were intensely sweet and the pureed onion were aromatic. The braised beef shins dish was great and definite a reason for me to return.
We concluded our meal with the Pumpkin Crème Brulee. The custard was close to a runnier pudding in consistency than say a firmer pana cotta. It tasted like a pumpkin spice latte; no complaints from either the Distributor or I. It was sweet end to a vastly improved meal at Catch 122.
Like my visit in 2014, the Canucks ended up losing the game but that’s where the similarities ended. The game was entertaining and not a frustrating hot mess. My second visit to Catch 122 was a much better experience from the service to the food. Based on this visit, I would return for a meal and love to try their brunch offerings.
22 W Hastings St,
Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8