The worst calamari on the face of the planet

Someone told me this weekend that my posts are overwhelmingly positive, and that the positivity detracted a little bit from the “food critic” aspect of this blog.  I suppose that this blog is less about critiquing food than it is about enjoying it and trying to articulate that enjoyment to other people.  The other thing is that in order to have a bad thing to post, I need to have a bad food experience – and that’s just not something that I actively look for.  I love all y’all, but not enough to subject myself to bad food for the sake of bad food.

Having said that, I went to the Atlantic Trap & Gill this weekend.  I have trouble with the name, because I always think that it should be Atlantic Tap & Grill – but I suppose that’s part of its cleverness.  It’s also called ‘The Newfie Bar’, which just gives you some insight into the size of the Newfie population in Vancouver.  There’s just one Newfie bar, and this is it.

As you might expect, The Trap & Gill has lots of beer.  There’s nothing really out of the ordinary – your standard bottles, Granville Island on draft, a few imports – and certainly nothing that any East Coaster I’ve met would go crazy for.  (If you can find a place that serves Oland’s, you’d have a loyal following of Haligonians, I tell you what.)

I made the mistake of ordering the calamari, and it was quite possibly the worst calamari that anyone on the face of God’s green earth has ever made.  I mean, it was awful.  It was like someone harvested squid twenty years ago, chopped it up into rings and legs, and left it in the freezer until the time the kitchen received my order.  The rings were the size of dimes, had the texture of elastic bands, and tasted like nothing.  Actually, that’s not fair.  They tasted like batter, and by batter I mean some kind of half-assed, unseasoned floury mess that somehow managed to suck every last molecule of moisture from my mouth.

The calamari came in a basket with a “garnish” of an infant-sized handful of raw zucchini, cut into matchsticks.  The zucchini and calamari were dusted with a fine coating of what I think was curry powder, oregano and cumin – all of which are lovely spices when properly incorporated into sauces, but are really overpowering and disgusting in a concentrated, naked form. 

The worst part was the accompanying sauces, one green and one pale orange.  The green one tasted like dijon mustard mixed with mayonnaise (so oh my god, what made it green?!?!) and the orange one tasted like the green one but with that Tostito’s spicy-cheese-saucey-goo-thing added in for good measure.  My first taste of the dip was also my last, and even then I’m afraid that I drastically exceeded my monthly quota for all kinds of tasty things like ethoxylated soy protein and sodium stearoyl lactylate.  Mmmmmmm. 

I haven’t even gotten to the worst part yet.  As if the toxicity of the dip wasn’t enough, it was artfully presented to me on a lettuce leaf.  There was a ring of green on the outside, with orange dip on the inside.  Had it looked like concentric circles, that would have been fine.  Instead, it came in a sort of rounded diamond shape, and was, erm, more than a little vulgar.  I suppose it was appropriate, given that I was on my way to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s current exhibit of feminist art, Wack!.

In summary: go to the Atlantic Trap & Gill for the beer, for the friendly people, and for the fun atmosphere.  But do not, under any circumstances, order the calamari.  Just don’t.

The Atlantic Trap & Gill
612 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 806-6393
Atlantic Trap & Gill on Urbanspoon

Published by: Eagranie

7 years as a chemist + 9 months of culinary school + 2 years as a pastry chef & chocolatier + a lifetime of writing = this blog. This blog won't always be about chocolate, but it will almost certainly be about food. The name of the blog is a triple play on words. 1. It's a nod to my training as a classical pianist. Among other fantastic accomplishments, J.S. Bach combined technical prowess with artistic inspiration and penned the 24 preludes & fugues that make up The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I and II. 2. In order to behave properly, chocolate needs to be tempered. In a nutshell, tempering prompts the chocolate to assume its most stable crystalline form (beta prime, if you're interested) so that it is shiny, snappy, and as stable as it can be. 3. Depending on my mood and how we meet, you might agree that I'm well-tempered. Or not.

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6 thoughts on “The worst calamari on the face of the planet”

  1. “It was like someone harvested squid twenty years ago, chopped it up into rings and legs, and left it in the freezer until the time the kitchen received my order. ”

    This line is my favourite.

  2. I’ll tell you what, Rika. I was there. I ate some. And it killed me as well.

    So why did I keep on munchin’? See, this is why you are a food critic, and I am not…

    You are NEVER coming to my house for dinner. And not even light snacks.

  3. There are other places dotted around the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley that are run by Newfoundlanders or serve up Newfoundland fare. This isn’t the only one. I am from southern Newfoundland and although I have yet to check this particular one out (not much of a drinker), I have not, unfortunately, been all that impressed with what is available. True Newfoundland dishes, in my opinion, really have to be slow cooked as this is the nature of which the ingredients absorb the dressings, herbs etc. and if the kitchens are just not staffed or equipped to do so, then it will probably fail. The fruity and heavy (you may not like) desserts are time intensive as well. Newfoundland snack and fast food, of course, just like anywhere, is another pan of fish.

  4. Lelle, I’ve never been to Newfoundland but would love to go. I suspect the Trap & Gill is more of a drinking hole than a place built on good food…but if you do go, I’d love to hear your thoughts. (I maintain that the calamari was god-awful, and suggest that you try something else.) Is there anywhere that you’d recommend as a good place for Newfoundland fare?

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