Restaurant: Big Ridge Brewery
Cuisine: American/Pub Food/International
Last visited: February 4, 2010
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Part of Mark James Group (DIX BBQ, Yaletown Brewery etc.)
- Lively neighborhood pub in
- Great for beer, samples available
- Busy/line-ups on weekends
- Classic pub food
- Affordable prices
- Lots of Chinese stir-fry dishes/bowls
- Felt like Hon’s – very Westernized Chinese food
- Casual, loud
- Restaurant and separate bar area
- Open kitchen
- All ages welcome
- Open late
I actually wasn’t aware that Big Ridge Brewery was part of the Mark James Group. When I heard DIX Barbeque and Yaletown Brewery my expectations were set a bit high…too I high I think. Especially since the parking lot was completely full and there was a 30min. line up at 7pm with every single table full.
When I looked at the menu I was already not so gong-ho…I saw a lot of Chinese options and a pub making Chinese food? I had my hesitations. However the kitchen is a big open kitchen and half the chefs are Chinese so I thought “hey maybe it is authentic?”…but then just looking at the dishes going by and talking to some staff it’s pretty obvious it is very Westernized Chinese food. In which case I think I’ll stick to the traditional pub food. I’m not really one for pub food, but I can appreciate it – in this case I would much rather have pub food from the The Hub.
The portions are surprisingly not that big here and I think they really need to invest in some nicer dishes. I felt like I was at a really rough pub and for The Mark James Group I expect a little more “posh-ness”. The food was almost served cafeteria style like Ricky’s All Day Grill. I’m really surprised to see such a high rating for it on Urbanspoon – I thought it was very mediocre.
They are about to release their new menu which consists of a variety of Asian/Indian influenced dishes so if you want to sample those you should go now because they will be choosing the most popular dishes and including them on their new menu.
Fish Tacos 2/6
- Beer battered halibut bites wrapped in a flour tortilla with a Sriracha aioli and cilantro-Asian slaw $11.99
- This is one of their special feature items. They’re supposed to include it on the official menu if there’s enough positive feedback and demand.
- It’s supposed to be a main, but for me it was more like an appetizer. The plating really needs some work…or maybe even just another plate.
- It reminded me of the Vietnamese sandwich “Banh Mi”, except those are way better. These tacos are loaded with shredded cucumbers, carrots, daikon and cilantro marinated in vinegar.
- The Sriracha aioli came off as chipotle mayo.
- It came with 3 pieces of halibut bites that tasted like battered chicken. It was a bit dry and overly battered as well. It was crunchy though. I could barely taste the halibut because the pieces were too small.
- Overall it was tangy, slightly spicy and basically something I could make at home.
Vegetarian Pizza 4/6
- The menu calls it “The Best Vegetarian Pizza Ever” – Japanese eggplant, broccoli, roasted corn, balsamic onion, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, Feta, and pesto $12.99
- If the menu didn’t say “The Best Vegetarian Pizza Ever” I would not have ordered a vegetarian dish at a pub. This is a bold statement and I just had to order it. It was more than I expect from a pub, but is it the best ever? No. It was very good though.
- The menu says “Our pies are bigger than the other guy’s” – they weren’t that big. I think they’re 14’’ inch pizzas? I mean it’s worth it, but all these are bold claims which lead me to have high expectations.
- This is a very tangy pizza. The tomato sauce is tangy and with the balsamic onions and sundried tomatoes it was even tangier. The onions were crunchy and needed to be cooked longer though. Or they should slice them rather than dice them and they would have cooked through.
- The tang was balanced very well with the salty Feta and pesto drizzle. They used a lot of both these ingredients and I could taste everything except for the eggplant. There was barely any and the few pieces it had were really dried out.
- The crust is nice and thin and it’s baked in a fire-wood oven, however they need to bake it longer because only the edges were crispy and the rest of the crust was very soft and chewy. However looking underneath it looks like it was baked enough...they need to adjust the heat.
- Overall the pizza is quite good, but they just need to work on the cooking temp/times and execution of ingredients. Not everything should be diced because each veggie has a different cooking time.
Quarter Chicken & Ribs 2.5/6
- ¼ beer can chicken and our famous pork ribs, served with oven roasted potatoes $19.99
- For 19.99 I could get better chicken and ribs elsewhere. It wasn’t bad, but it’s wasn’t that good either. The portion is also surprisingly not that big for a pub/bar restaurant. It was ¼ chicken and 5 ribs piled on top of mashed potatoes.
- They actually do a good job with the sauces and seasonings, but the quality of meat is the downfall. If they changed that it would actually be quite good!
- The chicken was served with chicken onion gravy and it almost tastes packaged. I felt like they used cornstarch to thicken it rather than letting it reduce.
- The chicken wasn’t that juicy and it was actually quite rough in texture – although not necessarily dry.
- I couldn’t tell they used beer but they did use some rosemary on the skin. The skin also wasn’t crispy and got soggy from the gravy.
- The ribs were falling off the bone, but not tender at all. The meat was very chewy which means the quality of ribs they’re using isn’t great. There wasn’t much meat on them in general.
- The ribs were served with a barbeque glaze or sauce. It was sweet and tangy, but didn’t have much of a kick and they needed more of it.
- It comes with roasted potatoes, but I changed it to roast garlic mash – no extra charge.
Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes 4/6
- This was a chunky mashed potato as opposed to a creamy smooth one. It’s made with Russet potatoes with the skins on so they’re nice and flavourful.
- There are bits of potato you can chew into. They were very garlic tasting and quite good! I enjoyed them more than I did the meat.
Cole Slaw 1/6
- I was not a fan of this cole slaw. They used a combo of mayo and horseradish for the dressing. It was very spicy and watery in texture and didn’t match the flavours of the chicken, ribs, or potatoes.
- Just showing the menu...I decided to pass on dessert because I was not impressed with dinner…I actually just went across the street to McDonalds for ice cream instead. McDonald’s ice cream is so reliable.