Meat tender but not juicy,
Homer Street Café.
I use to work nearby Homer Street Café on Beatty street but moved offices before I had a chance to try it out. The refurbished space used to be a greasy spoon dinner. As a result, I thought perhaps Homer Street Café would have retained that folksy charm of a diner that serves comfort food, like Luke’s Diner in Stars Hollow.
After sitting down for a recent work lunch at the back part of the restaurant I realize I was completely wrong about the feel of the place. I would characterize the place as a bistro situated in an upscale farmhouse, complete with servers in jeans, and big wooden benches and tables.
To start, I opted for a non alcoholic drink (I was still on the clock) called Autumn Apple that tasted like a delicious apple pie. I really enjoyed the mocktail.
To kick off our lunch, we went with the chicken & duck liver brule and the 3 selection charcuterie.
Served in a petite hipster mason jar, the “brule” was essentially a chicken & duck pate with a flamed sugar crust. The enjoyable liver mixture was smooth, umami rich and was semi solid, almost liquidy. It went really well with the quince jam.
The quince is a weird fruit. It looks like a pear mated with an apple but when cooked into jam turns reddish apparently. You think it would look like apple sauce. Strange, very strange.
The only thing I didn’t like was the grilled biscuit, which was chewy and dense. I actually don’t think I would call it a biscuit per se as it was more a bread shaped like a puck. When I think of a biscuit, I think fluffy or crumbly like a scone that ladies, named Agnes or Lady Jane, would eat at high tea with their pinkies sticking out and sandwiches with their crusts cut off.
Fortunately we also got an order of soft rosemary enhanced Focaccia bread, which was better than the “biscuit”.
For the charcuterie board, we went with 1 cheese, the Boerenkaas, and 2 meats, the Smoked Bauernschincken and the Sloping Hills Coppa. All the options available came from around the province. The board was completed with pickled vegetables, nuts and a fruit sauce.
The Boerenkaas, a.k.a Dutch farmer’s cheese, a type of Gouda, was mild with a slight bitter aftertaste with a cheddar like texture.
Of the two cold cuts, I preferred the Coppa. The Bauernschincken had a predominant smoky flavour but it was too dry and leathery. The Coppa with its big veins of fat, made it less dry. It also had a unique spicing which reminded me of BBQ corn nuts (ah memories of high school). I definitely would get the Coppa again.
Both my colleagues went with the daily special Chicken, Kale Gargenelli. Both wanted a lighter lunch but that kind of backed fired. All the components of the entrée were prepared and combined well to form a tasty pasta but it was very creamy.
I went for what Homer Street Café is known for: the rotisserie chicken.
I was impressed with the size of the white meat quarter entrée I got. It was the full breast and wing. In addition, there was a boatload of yellow powdery golf ball sized potatoes, a red wine enhanced savoury jus, and a nondescript mustard dressed cabbage coleslaw.
The chicken was brined as it had the characteristic pinkness in the meat closest to the skin. The skin had a distinct taste of herbs (sage or thyme is my guess), which didn’t infuse into the meat. The only thing that permeated into the chicken was salt. The first ¼ inch of meat was extremely salty. As you moved to closer to the breastbone, the saltiness mellowed out.
With the brining, the chicken was definitely tender and not dry. There was no meat sawdust flying out as you carved out slices. However the meat was not juicy at all. The chicken reminds me of the turkey I prepare for holidays. It’s better than most grocery store rotisserie chicken but I really wish it was juicy for the price. I think I rather pay $20 for crunchy and juicy fried chicken.
To finish off the meal we got a raspberry yogurt panna cotta from the daily special sheet. I didn’t like it very much as it felt like I simply was eating a stiffer Greek yogurt with unsweetened whip cream. The candle is optional but I appreciated the attention to detail and well wishes.
I felt my meal was a bit of a mixed bag. I liked the liver brule and was indifferent to the chicken. Although it would not be my first choice, I would not mind returning to Homer Street Café for another meal.
Homer Street Café
898 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2W5
604 428 4299
Bonus Content: Since I mentioned Stars Hallow, I am so excited for the 4 new episodes of Gilmore Girls coming to Netflix. I miss the rapid fire, slightly random, full of tangents but always witty dialogue.