2 Water Street
It is sort of known that I don’t necessarily like fancy restaurants. That does not mean I won’t go to them, just that a lot of times, those restaurants carry heavier price tags and a lot of that price tag is not translated necessarily into what ends up on the plate. Instead, it goes to things “around” it – like ambiance. However, at times, that’s what can draw people together for a meal. I mean, a dive is not necessarily conduciveto get people together and spend 2+ hours just to catch up.
So, how does that relate to Peckinpah, a somewhat recently restaurant opened in Gastown? Well, for one, it is the area, as Gaston is one of the places I call “usual suspects”, i.e., areas of town where people go for ambiance (the others people Downtown, Yaletown and Kitsilano). The second part is that out of all possible cuisines, this is BBQ, one that has humble origins… So, how do these do combine together?
Not far from places like Irish Heather (where the Long Table Series take place), there seems that one element has to exist: booze. I mean, if you are in the area for a social gatherings, I guess the element of social lubricant has to exist. This is pretty obvious when, in the two page menu, half of it is dedicated to drinks. And, I will have to say that, in a really wacky turn of events, I ordered a Raven Cream Ale.
OK, at this point, some people will be raising their eyebrows and wondering what the hell was going on. Why? Because I am not that much of an alcohol consumer (as a result, I won’t say much about the drink). In fact, I am currently wondering… Why the #!$!@#$ I ordered it! See, I have only ordered alcohol in really limited instances (for example, when I went to Jules Casual French Bistro). And, because I have low alcohol tolerance and like to be in all my senses, I just order soda/pop. However, in this case, there was something going on in my mind and it is “safe” to say I wasn’t in all my senses – which, alas, might be reflective on parts of my thoughts of this place.
But, too much personal stuff, back to the restaurant… Despite its small menu, I had a hard problem deciding what to order. First of all, I wasn’t excessively hungry. Instead, I just wanted to eat something and move on. Peckinpah just happened to be there. If it wasn’t there, I might have ended up going to Vera’s next door. Second, on the day I went (and seems to be still true as of the date this post is going up), their BBQ orders are of single meat type, despite you can make half orders. In other words, there are no options to mix-n-match meats. Translation: given I was by myself and could eat only that much, I better order the “right” one. So, instead of me guessing, I left that to the bartender/cashier. His suggestion? Beef brisket. At that point, I raised my eyebrows, as if having doubts why I was suggested that. But, OK, well, if you are running the restaurant and this is your suggestion, I will hold you accountable for that suggestion!
Wait, wait, wait. That’s not beef brisket?! Yup, that’s not beef brisket. That is their pork corn dog (beef also available; however, since I was going to have brisket…) with three mustards. Before jumping to the food, yes, sorry, lightning conditions were terrible for picture taking. So, sorry… Once again, back to the food… This ain’t your run of the mill fair corn dog. It was indeed a meaty pork sausage. The batter was quite light. In fact, if it wasn’t because it held some of the greasiness, you might say it was something similar to a really light tempura. Alas, the mustard almost didn’t work. The grainy mustard or what I thought was a Dijon mustard felt too sweet to my taste. I wonder if it was because of the ale or because my mind were playing games… Regardless, I wasn’t not necessarily impressed by it and will leave it in the “OK” category.
OK, shoot me… Yes, I wasn’t THAT hungry and, even then, I ended up ordering a big plate of food (and this is half order!). Had they allowed me to do a mix-n-match type platter, I might have not ordered the corn dog. As for the half order, I had the option of ordering two sides to go along. It ended up going for southern greens, baked beans; this is in addition of the cornbread.
I have some mixed feelings about the baked beans. If I were eating it by itself, I am sure I would have eaten a bowlful of it. But, then again, I am a sucker for this type of dish. However, at the same time, despite I saw some pieces of meat mixed in, I wished it had either a bit of tomato flavour in it or something smokey. While it could have had one (or both), likewise, it might have been MIA. As for the greens, not much to say. I just wanted some vegetables. The cornbread… Once again, mixed feelings. In a way, didn’t feel that much like cornbread the way I have had it in the past, where you can feel a little bit the graininess of the cornmeal, here it had a fluffy texture. And, what’s even stranger? I noticed it was in a large block (imagine a cake) and then sliced into squares. When I saw that, for some reason I thought “polenta”? Of course, it is a far cry from polenta but I couldn’t shake that feeling. A bit of honey on the side would have helped but that would be on the lines of personal likes.
Now, to the meat. Again, I ended up ordering beef brisket. When it was served, right away that sense of “I made a mistake” kicked in, specially when I couldn’t visualize a smoke ring. Now, if we take out any preconception of BBQ, I will have to admit it was a good piece of meat. It still felt juicy, thought it wasn’t too “warm”. As for texture, it was tender to a point but still required knife. And what I mentioned about smoke ring was confirmed after I took the first bite: couldn’t taste much of a smokiness taste to it. In other words, good “meat” if we take out a lot of considerations but, by then, can it still be considered BBQ?
As I mentioned above, I wasn’t necessarily on my right state of mind when I went there. However, looking back, I did realize and notice a lot of things. For example, why I was suggested brisket… OK, what happenes is that Peckinpah labels themselves as Carolina style BBQ. And what does that mean? Pork is usually the meat of choice. Granted, they might be trying to cater as many people as possible. But, even then, when you say “Carolina style”, shouldn’t at least specialize in pork instead of beef – and, as a result, suggested something pork instead? The second part is that I didn’t feel the “love” that day. In fact, the kitchen looks like a normal running kitchen, not that much a BBQ shop. Meats were carefully wrapped, sliced when ordered and carefully wrapped back. And then the comment I mentioned above about the cornbread.
Once again, it is possible I wasn’t in my right state of mind the night I was seated at the bar and eating my food. However, the pictures and some facts do not lie. As a result of that, I can’t necessarily say the food was good. As a drinking hole, well, again, not much of an alcohol drinker so that is not an enticement for me to come back.