I’ve written here before about being scared of too much spice, but I was with 3 people who craved that flavor and so decided that it was about time for a new adventure.
Located on South Granville near 15th Street in Vancouver, Ouisi Bistro has long been recommended to me for great Cajun and Creole cuisine. Reservations were recommended by their website, so I called in on Friday night and requested a table. When we arrived at 6:00pm the restaurant was relatively empty, but within half an hour the place had nearly filled up!
Paintings of jazz musicians hung on the walls fit in perfectly with the rustic feel of the bistro, and our server was very attentive from the moment we sat down. A basket of complimentary warm, delicious corn bread was brought to our table as soon as we got settled. To start, The Boss ordered Gator Bites, I ordered the Seafood Chowder, and our two companions each ordered Caesar Salad.
I’ve had Alligator before, but it wasn’t great. The Gator Bites at Ouisi’s are moist without being chewy, and oh-so-full of flavor. The Cajun Tartar Sauce they were served with provided a nice cool element against the hot and spicy meat.
My Seafood Chowder was full of large chunks of fish and a very delicate tomato broth, probably the least spicy thing we ate that night. It was delicious and a great beginning to our meal.\
For entrees, we ordered the Jambalaya, The Big Easy, The Granville Plate, and The Caribbean Hot Plate.
The Jambalaya was rich and filled with prawns, smoked ham, and chorizo & andouille sausage. It was amazing. My fear with spice is that it will do the usual “make my tongue and lips numb and I’ll cry and sweat” – it didn’t happen at all during this meal.
Don’t get me wrong, though – I did have to take water breaks, especially after trying the Caribbean Hot Plate. The only menu item labelled “Hotter Than Hell” (in red, mind you) and boasting Habanero peppers with coconut chicken, I was not expecting the intensity that came on after a couple of swallows. The cilantro lime pesto was a nice break from the spice, but boy, you cannot match that flavor. All I can say, is thank goodness for the green rice and beans.
The Big Easy consists of beef tenderloin tips in a creole sauce with potatoes. The Boss’ sister mentioned that there was a lot of fat on the meat – something that may or may not bother your average diner. I tried some of the meat and it was very tender aka delightful.
My dinner of choice was The Granville Plate, something that I thought would be more on the milder side, but ended up being pretty spicy from the pepper crusted chicken – two breasts were served topped with roasted garlic, brie, and spinach, with beans and green rice. It was delicious, but although the brie was rich it could have used a sauce. I could be biased, though, I’m a sauce girl. The chicken was very juicy so I had no complaints!
All in all, with the ambiance being as amazing as it was and the food being an adventure, this was a great dining experience. I’ll be back, Ouisi Bistro, very soon.