We were warmly welcomed on Sunday evening before the Canucks game, by the gentleman who runs the place. He was manning the floor and is among the most personable hosts we have ever come across. One of the high points at The Sardine Can is the conviviality and enthusiasm for his place that the man displays!
We started with toast! Marie and I each got a bite out of each of these which was followed each time by a Mark Wiens-like smile of delight! In no particular order, tomato jam and manchego cheese, freshly made cheese with garlic and finally sardines. All attractively assembled, drizzled with some very good olive oil and tasty.
Next up was Pate de Compagne of pork and pistachios with a nice little drizzle of something that I'm guessing was balsamic based. The pate was the product of D Original who is basically a restaurant supplier of fine charcuteries. We applauded the choice and presentation.
As a highlight, we have to go with the Gambas al ajillo or spicy garlic prawns. Roasted to perfection with rediculous garlic oil and lemon, these were perfection. After scarfing down the prawns, we were provided with some sourdough bread to soak up the sauce. After that, I resorted to scraping the fond off the pan with a spoon. It could be bottled and sold!
Lastly, there were some Vegetables (broccolini) with Romesco sauce, Sherry and lots of toasted almonds. Typically made with tomato, dried peppers and made rich with nuts, this sauce had some nice texture. And bonus; in addition to being a delicious way to get your veggies, this dish is vegan (Well OK. Except for the cheese)!
Sadly, one of their hood fans had chosen this evening to pack it in. This meant that my absolute first two choices (paella and patatas bravas) were not available! Oh well, we have an excuse to return soon.
This is not a big place. Show up at prime time and I guarantee you will wait but we have that habit of dining at unstylish hours.
For what it's worth, we give The Sardine Can the coveted 5 out of 5!