Polenta and pork cheeks

It was really freaking cold on Friday night – so cold that my base instincts kicked in and all I wanted was stew.

Well, I didn’t get stew, but I did get some stick-to-your-ribs food from The Cascade Room. It was reliably busy – and possibly busier than usual due to the fire at Habit – but not so busy that you couldn’t get a table without a reservation.

I think The Cascade makes the best negroni I’ve ever had. Their bartender, Nick Devine, is known for his mixological prowess – and I fully concur. The negroni came in a short glass with lots of ice, with a rosette of orange peel resting on top of the ice. The overall effect is that you taste the drink while getting the full, undiluted aroma of the orange peel. Genius.

I finally tried the polenta fries, which were on Vancouver Magazine’s list of 101 Local Things to Eat Before You Die. I was slightly disappointed, as the fries were giant wedges of flash-fried polenta, and not the delicate things I had pictured in my head. They were also under-seasoned. However, a pinch of salt later, I began to appreciate them for their buttery, corn-y flavour, hints of rosemary, and crispy-outside-squishy-inside texture. The serving is huge, though. It’s probably best shared between four to six people, unless you don’t plan on eating anything else.

I probably should have stopped there, but I had already ordered the tagliatelle with pork cheeks. The tagliatelle is a great delivery vehicle for the spicy tomato-based sauce, and the pork cheeks were amazingly tender. I was so full of polenta that I ended up taking half of the pasta home, but that just means that I have something to look forward to when I get the late-night munchies.

I was so full that I didn’t even look at the dessert menu. That’s pretty much unheard of.

The Cascade Room
2616 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
Cascade Room on Urbanspoon


2 responses to “Polenta and pork cheeks

  1. I love the polenta fries and the drinks there.. it’s definitely a fun place to go with a big group if you don’t mind waiting a bit. I was there a few weeks ago and 6 people fit perfectly in a booth, we had calamari and polenta fries and I was SO full by the end.

  2. the first time i went there, i had the exact same meal as you: polenta fries and the tagliatelle. totally tasty! the next time i was there i had the polenta fries and they didn’t quite live up to the first experience. i’m still going to keep going back and trying tho 🙂

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