Monday, June 20, 2011

VANCOUVER SLOP: FRESH LOCAL WILD (REDUX)



If it feels like you've read this review before, it's for a reason. Though, in some ways, it's been off the streets for months, Fresh Local Wild is serving the masses again, but in a different incarnation. Not long after we reviewed the original cart, chef Josh Wolfe and Andrew Fielding parted ways. Fielding kept the menu and re-opened as Kaboom Box in the original Granville/Robson location, but Wolfe kept the original name. And now we've got a familiar, though brand new, cart on our hands.

As with the original cart, Fresh Local Wild offers standard comfort foods without too many precious twists and turns, all while emphasizing - ahem - fresh, local and wild ingredients. Similar sensitivities are reflected in the truck in itself, which runs on cooking oil and includes what most carts don't: limited seating.


Given the cart's name-as-mission-statement and Wolfe's former position at Coast Restaurant, it's an obvious choice to go with seafood. A fish and chipwich ($10) is what it sounds like: a panko crusted fish (on our visit, Coho salmon) in a sandwich, served with tartar sauce, romaine lettuce and accompanied by fries. Apart from the concept, there's not alot of novelty here: it's a simple sandwich, a conventional tartar sauce, and acceptable fries. The fish was a bit oily, indicative of a lunch hour rush and an overwhelmed kitchen, albeit one on wheels.


The same rings true for the tuna melt ($8.50), with slices of seared albacore tuna and smoked cheddar on whole wheat. It's perfectly average fare, served on our second visit when the truck was overwhelmed with office workers out to enjoy the weather (hey, with this summer, you take what you can get). This meant the sandwich was served on a rush, and became more of a too-rare-for-some tuna sandwich with unmelted cheese. As with the fish and chipwich, this sandwich was a bit bland: we're all for letting the ingredients sing for themselves, but there can be a fine line between that and underseasoned.


Opt for the chicken fried oysters ($10) instead, which simply replaces the fish in the fish and chipwich. Where that sandwich fell a bit flat, this one achieves more, with the oysters nicely battered and seasoned, a satisfying bite (and crunch) that balances out the often overwhelming tartar sauce.  It's the best sandwich of the three we had, both in taste and execution, and so it might be telling that we had it on the slowest of the days we visited.

We've never had the same problems at the original cart - or its replacement Kaboom Box - though we've also never seen that cart have crowds of the same magnitude.  The inconsistency is unfortunate, as it's hard not to like Wolfe, and it's hard not to admire what he's trying to achieve.  Until those kinks are worked out, if the line-up looks too long at Fresh Local Wild, you may be better off hunting down the Kaboom Box, which, to be honest, has a menu that exhibits a slightly broader range despite having fewer options.  Keep in mind, however, that Wolfe helped design that menu, and so Fresh Local Wild should meet its full potential soon.

Joe.

Fresh Local Wild
On Hastings at Burrard
the clutterer Web Developer

7 comments:

  1. Is that styrofoam? It's hard to tell from the pics but styrofoam doesn't fit the sustainable theme. Kaboom box uses recycled compostable paper containers.

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  2. ^ It is indeed compostable paper containers, not sytrofoam. You can also ask to have your food in a plastic basket that's reusable/washable. :)

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