Someone told me this weekend that my posts are overwhelmingly positive, and that the positivity detracted a little bit from the “food critic” aspect of this blog. I suppose that this blog is less about critiquing food than it is about enjoying it and trying to articulate that enjoyment to other people. The other thing is that in order to have a bad thing to post, I need to have a bad food experience – and that’s just not something that I actively look for. I love all y’all, but not enough to subject myself to bad food for the sake of bad food.
Having said that, I went to the Atlantic Trap & Gill this weekend. I have trouble with the name, because I always think that it should be Atlantic Tap & Grill – but I suppose that’s part of its cleverness. It’s also called ‘The Newfie Bar’, which just gives you some insight into the size of the Newfie population in Vancouver. There’s just one Newfie bar, and this is it.
As you might expect, The Trap & Gill has lots of beer. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary – your standard bottles, Granville Island on draft, a few imports – and certainly nothing that any East Coaster I’ve met would go crazy for. (If you can find a place that serves Oland’s, you’d have a loyal following of Haligonians, I tell you what.)
I made the mistake of ordering the calamari, and it was quite possibly the worst calamari that anyone on the face of God’s green earth has ever made. I mean, it was awful. It was like someone harvested squid twenty years ago, chopped it up into rings and legs, and left it in the freezer until the time the kitchen received my order. The rings were the size of dimes, had the texture of elastic bands, and tasted like nothing. Actually, that’s not fair. They tasted like batter, and by batter I mean some kind of half-assed, unseasoned floury mess that somehow managed to suck every last molecule of moisture from my mouth.
The calamari came in a basket with a “garnish” of an infant-sized handful of raw zucchini, cut into matchsticks. The zucchini and calamari were dusted with a fine coating of what I think was curry powder, oregano and cumin – all of which are lovely spices when properly incorporated into sauces, but are really overpowering and disgusting in a concentrated, naked form.
The worst part was the accompanying sauces, one green and one pale orange. The green one tasted like dijon mustard mixed with mayonnaise (so oh my god, what made it green?!?!) and the orange one tasted like the green one but with that Tostito’s spicy-cheese-saucey-goo-thing added in for good measure. My first taste of the dip was also my last, and even then I’m afraid that I drastically exceeded my monthly quota for all kinds of tasty things like ethoxylated soy protein and sodium stearoyl lactylate. Mmmmmmm.
I haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet. As if the toxicity of the dip wasn’t enough, it was artfully presented to me on a lettuce leaf. There was a ring of green on the outside, with orange dip on the inside. Had it looked like concentric circles, that would have been fine. Instead, it came in a sort of rounded diamond shape, and was, erm, more than a little vulgar. I suppose it was appropriate, given that I was on my way to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s current exhibit of feminist art, Wack!.
In summary: go to the Atlantic Trap & Gill for the beer, for the friendly people, and for the fun atmosphere. But do not, under any circumstances, order the calamari. Just don’t.
The Atlantic Trap & Gill
612 Davie Street