Friday, December 10, 2010

Packrat Louie

Walking down Whyte a couple Saturdays ago to take some shots for a presentation, Charles and I decided to stop by Packrat Louie for lunch. I've lost count of the number of times we've passed this place on our way down Whyte, and I'm not totally sure why we've never stopped... mixed reviews maybe?

After perusing the menu posted at the entrance, we decided to give it a shot. Thankfully we arrived just before noon (almost the entire place filled up just fifteen minutes later) and were seated at a table for two towards the back of the house.

There were many things on the menu we were drawn towards, and in the end, Charles decided on the Packrat Burger ($15) that would come topped with double smoked bacon, aged cheddar, sauteed mushrooms and onion, dijonnaise and roasted red pepper relish, and served with fries and dill aioli. I decided on the Fresh Catch ($18), which that day included a duo of trout and pesto marinated snapper, along with a warm spinach and potato salad and corn and black bean salsa.

As others have noted, the space is beautiful

As we waited for our mains, we were provided with a basket of focaccia bread that we think was house made. While the bits of rosemary and thyme provided a warm, appealing flavour and aroma, the slices were a little dry, and the airy, whipped butter didn't help much.

After a trip to the bathroom each (that always makes the food come, right?), I was happy to arrive back to plates on the table. Charles' burger looked fantastic, loaded with toppings on a lightly toasted bun. Although slightly greasy, the savouriness of the well-cooked, moist burger far outweighed this, and the combo of toppings worked incredibly well - a little smoky, sweet and savoury.

I also enjoyed my dish, with the warm potato-spinach salad providing a satisfying contrast to the lightness of the fish, and the corn and black bean salsa mingling well with everything on the plate. While the piece of snapper was cooked well - still moist and flaky - the trout faired a bit worse coming out a little dry. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to sample another of their fish selections in either the form of the daily special or as a regular menu item.

After clearing our plates, we were left with a dessert menu to peruse. Lured first by the thought of London Fog Crème brûlée or a Chocolate Pistachio Tart, in the end it was difficult to resist a slice of Lemon and Lime Meringue Pie ($8), with freshly squeezed lemon and lime, a ginger snap crust and torched meringue.

I have to say, we were a little disappointed as our dessert was set in front of us. While the actual custard looked good, the meringue looked sort of under-whipped as a result of the piping, and there was a strange neon green gel underneath that neither of us could figure out; maybe it was supposed to be the lime? Taste followed appearance here, and the slice was a bit of a let down, with the crust not giving off anything gingery, and the meringue being cloyingly sweet, heavy and sticky.

Service: Overall service at Packrat Louie was fine. While we waited a little to long for our server to appear, then a bit for our mains, our water glasses were filled frequently and we were checked on regularly. However, we seemed to have a bit of a personality clash with our server, who was a little too loud and over bearing for our liking. Needless to say, by the end of the meal, we were glad to get our bill and head out. I suppose you can't win 'em all, so next time we stop by, it'll either be at a different time or we will request a different section.

Enjoying our dishes (save dessert), there's no doubt we'll be heading back to Packrat Louie. With plenty of items catching our eye on their menu, hopefully our next stop is for a quiet, relaxing dinner.

Packrat Louie
10335 83 Avenue
Hours: M-Th (11:30am - 10pm); F-Sa (11:30am - 11pm); Closed Sundays
Packrat Louie Kitchen & Bar‎ on Urbanspoon


erika edith said...

thanks for the review. you always talk about the things i want to know about a restaurant. good luck with exams. cheers.

Marianne said...

Thanks, Erika! I need it :)

Leslie Holmes said...

haven't been there in years... i think perhaps it had a different owner years ago...?? not sure, but i know it went through a little bit of a reno and menu change...
anyway, i'll have to go again and try it out! thanks for the review :o)

good luck with the last days of school. this is my first December in YEARS that i'm not in school and its strange not to be stressed with finals.

Marianne said...

I'm not sure what's gone on with this place, but it's certainly been around for awhile. I think our server mentioned a couple new menu items, so maybe a re-work did happen. Looking forward to thoughts when you head over, Leslie.

Thanks! Definitely jealous and looking forward to that feeling, however strange, at this time next year. I find December much worse than April too with all the Christmas activities beginning to ramp up.