Mis Trucos’s Chef Kris Barnholden has a few tricks of his ownPosted by Mark Busse on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Tags for this Article: Davie, Kris Barnholden, mediterranean, Mis Trucos, restaurant, tapas, vancouver
A few hungry Foodists were recently invited to check out a new tapas-style restaurant opening on Davie called Mis Trucos. As this was a preview event, we got to sample some of Chef Kris Barnholden’s fare before the unwashed masses descend upon this much needed culinary addition to Davie Street.
Chef Barnhold, formerly of Parkside (before relaunching as L’Altro Buca), explained to us that the name came from a mentor chef who used to write “mis trucos”, which translates from Spanish as “my tricks”, in the margins of his recipe books. Most of Barnhold’s dishes that evening were fun, modern Mediterranean-inspired share plates under $20 with lots of potential—especially the lobster risotto with white truffle and wild fish trio. Our servings were small, so prepare to order lots to share.
Located in the old Davie Village Cafe location just west of Thurlow, this old converted house has a nice casual vibe to it, although its set-back from the street creates less than appealing views, either from the front or side windows, or from the intimate outdoor patio which backs onto the alley. To be fair, renovations weren’t complete when we visited, so they could have a few trucos up their sleeves yet still.
The space inside was quite unique and echoed much of what I've enjoyed about underground restaurants. The bar was in the main entrance and tables were scattered throughout. Given the 30 seatings it could hold, and how small the space was, it was remarkably not cramped. The walls were white with a few pieces of art scattered about and there was a patio behind the main room that was in the final stages of completion. Though the spaces inside were clean and contemporary, the views all around were rather unfortunate. I looked out a window at the brick wall next door, the front window overlooked the roof of the store in front of the restaurant and the patio backed on to the lane and was surrounded by apartment buildings. Rather unavoidable I suspect when opening downtown but a bit of an eyesore non the less.
Sitting down at our seats with drinks in hand, we turned our attention to the food of the restaurant.
- Mixed olives, sheeps milk feta, orange and mint
- Fried petrale sole with tartare sauce
- Warm salad of Serrano ham, manchego, asparagus, and slow-cooked egg atop a bed of arugula
- Trio of wild fish crudo: ling cod with apple and celery mince; spring salmon with grapefruit; scallop with radish, sunflower cream, and parsley salt
- Pan seared spring salmon, artichokes barigoule, spring garlic cream
- Roasted leg of lamb, chick peas, chorizo, feta cheese, salsa verde
- White truffle + nova scotia lobster risotto, crème fraiche
The most memorable aspect of our evening at Mis Trucos were the inventive and delicious drinks being poured by the bartender Johnathon. They were served without pretense, contained quality fresh ingredients, and had distinct flavours. Besides the terrific sangria, two stand out favourites were the Spanish Snapper, which was like a Caesar but with Spanish red wine, and the Gin Gin Mule, with its Hendrick's gin combined with homemade ginger beer. Judging from this photo by Tiny Bites' Karen Hamilton, I was really enjoying my Spanish Snapper!
We definitely plan to go back again soon to explore more of the menu, both from the kitchen and the bar—especially as they intend to offer late night tapas until midnight (with rumours of grandfathering in a 2AM liquor license!). The official launch is slated for mid-August, but the public will get their first chance to preview the restaurant for themselves on Thursday, August 6th, when they open for a charity event benefiting A Loving Spoonful.