Perfect Poutine: The Oakwood Review

The Poutine at “The Oakwood”

Among the busy streets of Vancouver, lies the hole in the wall restaurant “The Oakwood.” The Restaurant which opened in 2013 brands itself as a Canadian bistro, specializing in gourmet renditions on Canadian favourites. The confined space has a cozy feel, drawing off the west coast environment. Canada’s nature is displayed throughout the restaurants, with all of the tables and platters being made of Canadian wood.

The head chef, Michael Love along with founder Mike Shea created the comfort menu that is displayed on the chalkboards within the restaurant. The two had a passion for Canadian cuisine and opened the restaurant to display their variations on what is generally considered simple food. The menu includes dishes such as poutine, steak, and fish along with other more complicated dishes. The effort put into this restaurant is unimaginable, and it resonates in the food and staff.

After settling in to my log chair, I ordered the “All Canadian Poutine.” Traditionally, poutine is a body warming, cling to your bones kind of food. A regular poutine is simple; fries, cheese curds and gravy. That’s it; simple, good and nationalistic.  “The Oakwood” adds juicy thin sliced beef brisket on top of the basic ingredients. The heavy gravy blends everything together, creating a dream combination of cheesy brisket and fries. The fries are yet another ingredient which make this dish different than others. Thick and double fried, they are crispy enough to not become soggy among the gravy but soft enough to blend well with the other ingredients. As would a regular poutine, the dish dissolves in your mouth and starts off crispy but becomes smooth just seconds later. The meal is served on an iron skillet which comes right on out the kitchen. Hot to the touch, it keeps the poutine warm the whole meal.

As I began to devour the meal, the flavours all blended together. Like other poutines, it was quick to coat my insides and warm me up. The sharp taste of the cheese curds mixed well with the fries as always, and the brisket was a welcome addition to the plate. The brisket was cut extremely thin, fitting well with the others ingredients and its taste did not retract from the overall experience.

Though a simple idea, the “All Canadian Poutine” was a magnificent rendition on the classic Canadian meal. Having had many poutines in my life, I can safely say that “The Oakwood” has perfected the entrée.

For desert there is a limited menu, only offering three deserts for dinner. I indulged in the “Boston Cream Jar”. The decadent dessert comes topped with pie crumbles and aerated chocolate. The melted dark chocolate added a sharp taste to an otherwise plain desert. Though not amazing, the “Boston Cream Jar” is the best option from an otherwise limited desert menu.

“The Oakwood” also offers brunch. Among the brunch menu there is a rendition of breakfast sandwiches, ranging from brisket sandwiches to French toast. The restaurant is one of the few included in Tourism Vancouver’s “Dine Out” food festival. For $30 they offer a set menu which includes the mentioned “Boston Cream Jar” for desert. It has a 4.5/5 rating on Trip Advisor and is adorned with exceptional reviews from others who have dined at the restaurant. Although it isn’t the cheapest place to go for a night out, “The Oakwood” will not break the bank with the brisket poutine costing $15.

The passion that began the establishment resonates throughout the restaurant, creating an unforgettable experience for every guest who walks through the doors of “The Oakwood”