Posted by Degan on June 26th, 2011
UPDATE: ReFuel is now closed.
It’s been a busy year. We got married, started a company and have been having all kinds of adventures, including many of the culinary kind. But you can’t do everything and in trying to take Matt to all of my favorite restaurants I clearly missed a few. Some friends were talking about Refuel’s Late Night P.I.G Dinner and I got a raised eyebrow and a stern “why haven’t we been here yet?” so when we were invited to come in a try some new things and some old (for me) favorites at the kitchen bar, it sure didn’t take much convincing.
Refuel has been a west-side institution for a while now, starting out with the white tablecloth Fuel that was re-conceived and re-branded as a more casual neighbourhood spot in late 2009.
The menu is full of gourmet comfort food items like their famous burger and poutine, smoked trout and their house-made charcuterie, “The Cure” and they’ve acquired a crew of loyal regulars. The fried chicken dish is so popular that they regularly bring it back for specials.
We started with a couple of glasses of Dr. Pauly Riesling, a fresh spring ramp top risotto with a dollop of albacore tuna tartare and smoked butter, a pork “face and shoulder” terrine that could have doubled as the best breakfast ever with fried asparagus, a fried egg and salsa verde.
What I love about Refuel is that they use fresh local and seasonal ingredients and if you sit at the bar, cook them right in front of you. You always know exactly what the story is and that feels good, even when you’re eating indulgent food.
For the main course Matt had his eye on the burger – handmade from the bread to the bacon – and poutine and I had the sous-vide pork loin with sherry-thyme jus, mushrooms, ramps (perhaps the rest of the ones used in my risotto) and starchless mashed potatoes. This was heartier fare so the Montague Cellars Merlot from Naramata went perfectly although if the weather was nicer I would have ordered the trout.
We paced ourselves, knowing dessert was coming and it didn’t disappoint in the least. The picture I posted of Matt’s peanut butter parfait was full of “likes” before we even got home but I preferred my springtime rhubarb crumble with vanilla bean ice cream.
They call themselves a neighbourhood restaurant and they are the proper kind of eatery you would want to have in your community – friendly, warm and welcoming but also engaged. The kind of business that supports their neighbours and local industry and acts as a host for all kinds of events.
If you go (and you should), there are a couple of events coming up you should know about:
Fried Chicken Picnic
until Labour Day, September 5 our Buttermilk marinated, Polderside Farms heritage breed Red Bro Fried Chicken, is available hot or cold
for picnics to go!
$18 individual: 3 pieces, one side,biscuit & soda
$35 couples: 6 pieces, two sides, two biscuits & two sodas
$68 family: 12 pieces, four sides,four biscuits & four sodas
Late Night P.I.G. Dinner, Wed. July 27 @ 11pm
$59 (incl tax, grat & beer)
Refuel is at 1944 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver.