Tastiness Factor: 8/10
Locavore Approved? Not really, but this is really not what they are going for here and I get that. The menu stays pretty constant with the exception of the Bibimbap that changes nightly so do not expect much in the way of seasonal ingredients.
Hubby loves Asian food and do, after reading a review of SnackBar by Alexandra Gill in the Globe and Mail (see here), he just had to check it out. And so, on a typical rainy Friday night in Vancouver, we ventured down to Gastown to see what all the fuss was about.
Dunlevy SnackBar is located on a little side street in Chinatown called (you guessed it), Dunlevy. Both the outside and inside are quite unassuming and plain. The space is quite small and narrow (it used to be a hair salon) however the tables are well spaced so we did not feel cramped. It has a bar and (very tiny) open kitchen on one side and benches and tables on the other. Decor is pretty minimal, aside from a few paintings behind the bar, some star-shaped lights above the tables and some paper streamers near the entrance. At the back after 9pm, you will find a live DJ who seems to draw the crowds as this place certainly came alive between the time that we got there at 8:45 and left at 9:30.
Service was friendly and laid back. Our waitress was easily able to answer all of our questions about the menu and suggest a good amount of food for us to share. Behind the counter, we watched the chef single-handedly prepare all of our dishes and get our first dish to our table in less than 5 minutes, with the others following just as quickly.
The menu is brought out on a clipboard and contains about 8-10 snacks, all priced between $4-10. Dishes are pretty small and between Hubby and I, we ordered about half the items on the menu. The food is Asian, with a predominantly Korean influence. The drink menu is pretty limited (they offer only 1 type of both white and red wine), and I regret not trying one of their cocktails which are rumoured to be very original and well composed.
Here are the dishes that Hubby and I shared:
|Assorted Preserves, spicy pumpkin seeds|
|Yam/potato salad, spicy mayo|
|Fried Chicken Tostasda|
|Fried Chicken Steam Bun|
|Bibimbap (with pulled pork)|
Overall, we enjoyed our "snacks", especially Hubby who was quite impressed by the flavours that really hit a high note for him. Our unanimous favourite was the Bibimbap, which had a good balance of veggies, rice and pulled pork, all brought together by a perfectly runny egg and a great sauce. Highly recommended! The steam bun was also pretty special, largely due to the soft, pillowy bun.
If you are a fan of Asian food, Dunlevy Snack Bar is a place that you should definitely check out. This place is all about the food, and this is where they excel. Check it out and see for yourself!