The Oakwood is perennially on many “best burger in Vancouver” lists, so of course I made the trip down to the parking hell that is West 4th to see if the stories were true. My visit was conveniently timed right after the Oakwood renovated its interior, so I was one of the first to see the new decor, which was sort of a “modern rustic” style.
Lots of exposed wood and brick around, and of course, what I assume to be the signature rack of antlers on the back wall. The Oakwood wears its Canadianness proudly: it was (is?) called The Oakwood Canadian Bistro and its website advertises its modern Canadian dining experience.
Of course, where would Canadian cuisine be without that quintessential staple, poutine? The Oakwood’s version includes the classic fries, gravy, and cheese curds, but with the addition of smoked brisket on top. Not exactly the most traditional of poutines, but delicious nonetheless! However, the brisket somehow makes it way more heavy than the regular plain poutine that you’d get at La Belle Patate. I was wise to just nibble at this before starting in on my burger, and then attempt to finish it afterwards. Better not to be able to finish a poutine than a burger!
The Driftwood Fat Tug IPA that I ordered can be seen in the background. I used to hate IPAs, but I’m slowly warming to them. Fat Tug in particular is fantastic; the high level of bitterness from the hops is contrasted with the medley of fruit that can be smelled and tasted before the hops smack you in the face. The bitter beer also tends to clean and refresh the palate, a property I’ve noticed in other bitter drinks like gin & tonics.
The Oakwood is among the restaurants who offer their burgers cooked to order; that is, you can order the burger medium-rare if you want. This may sound strange, even dangerous, to those unaccustomed to the practice, but let me assure you that if a restaurant offers their burgers this way, they’d better be confident in the fact they can deliver clean food, lest they be sued out of existence. So, trust, order, and enjoy an incredibly juicy burger. The Oakwood burger comes with cheddar, relish, aioli, fried onions, and alfalfa, which is a somewhat uncommon burger topping. Careful! This one’s messy; I had to use a knife and fork to eat it. I don’t want to say that it was partially because of my drool, but… then again, I’m a huge wimp when it comes to messes, so if you’re some sort of burger beast, this will be right up your alley.
Verdict: solid burger by the Oakwood. Interesting touch with that alfalfa, and made-to-order is always great! It’s one for the lists, people.