We had stopped back in August for what turned out to be a less than stellar lunch - both food and service wise. Promising to have over one hundred beers on the menu (it doesn't quite look like that many on the menu itself...), we were disappointed when they were out of quite a few. At any rate, we were hopeful for improvement - we love Sugarbowl, but an alternative to head to once in awhile, with solid food and good beer, would be great to have in the neighbourhood.
Arriving around 7:30, we found the place relatively empty, with just a few tables of two, and one larger, rowdier table of six. The space (formerly Flavours Modern Bistro) is as beautiful as ever - warm brick, the large window at the front, and rich hardwood floors. Some new lighting and a long mirror and banquette along the East wall have been added by the new tenants. We decided on a table along the banquette, and a server appeared shortly after with a food menu and beer list.
As noted above, the beer list seems a bit shorter than what is advertised. Organized by country, the list appears to be focused on Canadian beers (both large and small breweries), with a couple from Alley Kat and many from Ontario. There are also more fruity and pale beers on the list than dark browns or stouts, and everything is at a pretty fair price - about $6 a bottle. Charles went for one of the two Polish brews on the menu - Lezajsk - while I decided on Crabbies Ginger Beer, both of which we enjoyed.
Food wise, Charles was again craving a plate of nachos (~$12), with nothing yet beating out the plate offered at High Level Diner (they also have excellent refried beans with theirs that I always get to eat). I went for a veggie burger (~$14) that would come with toppings of house hummus and ratatouille, along with a salad.
Our food arrived in almost no time. Charles' nachos were simply nachos - nothing amazing here. My veggie burger was unfortunately a little disappointing - the large kaiser roll was pretty dry, and I couldn't seem to find the hummus anywhere on the slightly spicy veggie patty. Combined with limp lettuce and a mild ratatouille that had lost its juices to the bun, I left with my veggie burger craving unsatisfied. The salad was promising, with chick peas studding the entire thing, but whatever the combo of lettuce and dressing used, it left a bitter taste.
I'm not sure what we were expecting with The Pourhouse, but we were certainly hoping to find what it is that "Bier Bistro" signals to us - carefully chosen beer and good dishes to along with it. With The Next Act's new overhauled menu and space a block away, and with Accent lounge just around the corner offering solid food and drink, I still hope The Pourhouse can pull things together and offer something unique to Whyte and Old Strathcona.
The Pourhouse Bier Bistro
10354 82 Avenue
Hours: T-W (3pm - 12am), Th (3pm - 1am), Fri (3pm - 2am), Sat (11:30am - 2am), Sun (11:30am - 10pm)
*We have a reservation for The Marc this coming Saturday evening, and after an early but good report on Chowhound and a recent post over at May Contain Nuts, I'm definitely looking forward to it.