House Guest opened up November 17th, 2011 in Gastown, taking over the former Maclean’s, which took over So.Cial.
The decor inside is eclectic, quirky, strange and morbid, all at the same time.
It’s also present everywhere, from the main dining area to the lounge, and even the downstairs bar area and the washrooms.
To start, I ordered an Old Cuban – aged rum, mint, lime, bitters, champagne $10. Like a Dark ‘N Stormy, but sweeter.
Two appies and mains were available for specials of the day, and the OYSTER ROCKEFELLER – Spinach cream oyster rockefeller topped with bacon $15, sounded the most intriguing and appetizing. It’s a very classic dish, created over a hundred years ago in 1899 by Antoine Alciatore in New Orleans. The sauce is typically green and very rich, hence the name Rockefeller, the richest dude around in America at the time. I like to think of it as classy rich dish.
These ones? Pretty good. Would order again if they had it. Topped with crumbled bacon and bread crumbs (I think) and baked in a creamy spinach sauce.
I ordered the PMC – Pimento Mac & Cheese Croquettes with Red Eye Ketchup $9, and even though I knew it was 5 pieces, I just swallowed the price factor and thought, well hey, it’s Gastown and it’s House Guest. Good, but damn.. that price.
Christina ordered the PRAWN GUAC – Chilled prawn guacamole, smoked tomato and blue corn chips $13, and was dismayed at the portion size. However, it’s just guacamole, simple as that. The tomato emulsion on the side helps to bring out some more flavour and depth. Yes, you can argue that the price is somewhat justified because it’s prawns, but really they’re not very prominent and really just take a back seat. Christina would also like me to mention that the chips were quite hard and tasted stale. Mijune states that they’re made in house.
Tien chose the best item of the night with the FLAT BREAD – Duck confit with poached egg, fior de latte and pear & arugula salad $16. Value wise, this was definitely worth the extra 3 dollars more than the above prawn guac and justifiably so. A soft poached egg served as the “sauce” for the salad and shredded duck confit. A good combination of flavours, would recommend.
After all this food came out, I was still feeling hungry, so I asked the server if we could order the Short Rib Poutine, and how much it was. I knew about this because I’ve already read about it, seen pictures of it, and numerous accounts that if you just asked, they’d make it. She said it wasn’t available as it was on the old menu, sorry. On my way to the washroom, I saw Richard and said hi via Twitter. Then I saw his tweet about Short Rib Poutine. Are you serious?
— Richard Wola (@vanfoodster) February 12, 2012
At the end of the meal after I paid, I actually had a chat with the manager, Justin. I asked about why the short rib poutine wasn’t available, yet I saw it tweeted about by Richard.
I also brought up the fact that I’ve seen it posted about online, which I incorrectly stated as Mijune, but there is another item [Crab Tater Tots & Tarragon Remoulade] that’s not currently on the menu, but, and I quote “These are from the old menu and not on the new menu, but they still make them so you just have to ask.”
It was actually Mary and Sean’s post that mentioned the Short Rib Poutine. Oh wait…it was complimentary. I wonder why? Perhaps their flash off their cameras alerted the staff that there were some bloggers in house. Regardless of HOW or WHY they were given these, it leaves a big stink in my mouth.
Anyways, Justin explained the reason behind Richard getting the poutine is because he knows the co owner, and Mijune has prior relations with the chef, Kayla Dhaliwal. To be fair, he was very honest and upfront about this, which I respect, but it’s not as if I was expecting a free order, I asked how much it was.
Now I know some of you might read this and think “what’s the big deal, it’s just one item, and beside, who the fuck do you think you are, some hot shot?” No.
I’m perplexed, why would you as a business and a restaurant, refrain from serving what would make me, a willing paying customer, happy? Why the exclusivity? It’s not really welcoming, if a restaurant is selective with what they will serve to certain people, just because of their connections. However, I really do understand that it’s how things work, it’s who you know.
House Guest, you definitely didn’t make me feel like a “guest” in your “house” tonight.
TL:DR Cole Notes
– pretty good food, wish there was more focus on this
– service is slow
– music can get pretty loud, club/lounge like
– exclusivity, almost snobbiness air of “DGAF”
– hipster hipster hipster hipster hipster.
200 – 332 Water Street
W-Sat 5pm-late (??) / Sun Brunch (??)