After the Bombay Sapphire Speakeasy event, Kevin, Queenie, and I went to grab a bite at the nearby Pourhouse Restaurant. I’d heard they had an incredible burger, and so I was eager to check it out for myself.
Gastown is an area with a high concentration of forward-thinking restaurants — and by that I mean liquor-forward restaurants, which probably says something about my biases. That is, their bar programs are thoughtfully considered, whether they be wine-focused or liquor-focused. In fact, many of the restaurants in Gastown blur the lines between being primarily a bar and primarily a restaurant (case in point, the nearby Cork and Fin). While this might be confusing to some, as it was to me when I first went to The Diamond looking for a substantial meal, I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Consider the opposite end of the spectrum, where restaurants (not naming names) have a bar shoehorned in, primarily to supply their young, hard-partying clientele with rounds of shots. Ironically, these restaurants often are named some variant of “________ bar and grill”. Honestly, if you’re going to call yourself a bar, I think some pride in your bar program would be in order.
Anyways, enough ranting. The point is, Pourhouse is a restaurant that takes pride in its cocktails, and pours from a rotating list of craft beers, if that’s your bag.
Fresh from ordering the Corpse Reviver No. 2 (gin, Cointreau, lillet, lemon juice, absinthe) at The Diamond recently, I ordered it again here. Yes, it’s confirmed: this drink is awesome everywhere. I like the Diamond’s version a bit better though, as it had more nuance and interplay between the Cointreau and lemon juice. Once again, definitely one of my favourites.
As I said previously, before I even walked into the Pourhouse, I knew I was going to order this, the Pourhouse Burger. This is a pure expression of burger-ness: where DB Bistro Moderne’s signature burger was an exercise in decadence and luxury, the Pourhouse’s is Zen-like and pared down. The focus here is on the patty, thick and cooked medium-rare (their default is medium, I, like Queenie, requested medium-rare). However, the rest of the burger is no slouch either: the bun is crispy and chewy, the cheese sufficient if unmemorable, and I think there were bacon bits in there somewhere. It was also served with a knife, but I just attacked it with my hands. Who eats a burger with a knife (Nu’s massive burger aside)?
The fries were similarly good, although they suffered from the same problem as many others I’ve tried: they were short. Like, really short. What’s with that?
Pourhouse, like many of its Gastown brothers and sisters, is a good restaurant. Not just because of the food, though the food that I tried was good. Not just because of the drinks, because they were good too. But because it brings them both, and the atmosphere and decor, all into play at once. You can sit, eat, have a few drinks, and sit without feeling rushed. This is one area that I think really “gets it” in terms of dining experience, and I hope the trend spreads.
ps. Is its name really a pun on “poorhouse”? Because that’s what I think every time I say it.