Judas Goat Taberna—A New Kind of High in Blood Alley

By Tana Kosiyabong

Judas Goat in Blood Alley 4 kinds of Bruschetta

Earlier this week, a PR firm sent me a press release of a new Spanish-inspired Tapas Bar called Judas Goat. The bar is located in Blood Alley, Gastown, just across the street from my condo. I was quite surprised when I first read the news. Why would anyone open a business in such a notorious alley with very little foot/car traffic except from a bunch of junkies in the neighborhood? Then it blew my mind even more when I discovered that Judas Goat is beside another fancy restaurant in the same alley. OMG, they opened two eateries right under my nose, and I didn’t even know until now!

The PR firm also sent me Judas Goat food and wine menu. Most food prices are under $10. Since I’ve never reviewed a fancy bar before, I decided to take a chance. So I asked my friends, Xiao and Apiradee if they wanted to go along with me. After they see the food menu, they gently declined. Fancy western food isn’t their cups of tea.

Judas Goat in Blood Alley Exterior

“Fine, I’ll go by myself!” I told them. So I walked cross the street into Blood Alley for the first time since I moved into this neighborhood two years ago. It was only about 6:30 pm, but the bar was already packed. I wasn’t sure how on earth these people heard about this place, but the PR firm seemed to do their job well. At that point, all the window bar seats had already been taken. This meant I wouldn’t be able to get any great food shots. Therefore I went back home instead.

The next day, I showed up at Judas Goat again at 5:30 pm. It is a tiny 28-seat bar with a modern industrial style and a touch of funky flair. There was only a couple of patrons when I stepped inside. So I had the whole window to by myself.

Judas Goat in Blood Alley interior

According to Wikipedia, the Judas goat is trained to lure sheep or cattle to a specific destination such as slaughter-house or trucks. The term is a reference to Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve original apostles who, according to the New Testament, betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Since the Blood Alley area was believed to house some butcher shops in the past (some may argue otherwise), the name “Judas Goat” makes sense.

Because I had already perused Judas food menu at home, I quickly chose four bruschetta (4 for $8 or $2.25 each) and a glass of water (free). It was fun to write my own order on the handout menu.

I have to admit that fancy western food isn’t my cup of tea either. I didn’t even know what bruschetta was until I wikipedia it. But to my surprise, the four bruschetta I ordered were a miniature version of the bruschetta photos I saw on Wikipedia. “F— me! Is this a midget bar or what?” I shouted in my head.

Judas Goat Bruschetta size comparison with 3.5 inch pencil

The four bruschetta I ordered (see the above photo from left to right) were white anchovy and salsa verde, chorizo with caramelized onion and dark chocolate, stewed mushrooms with sherry and comté cheese (vegetarian), and piquillo peppers with serrano chili and goat cheese (vegetarian). The 3½-inch pencil was there for the size comparison. The bruschetta was roughly half the size of La Taqueria Taco but about the same price.

I decided to taste the bruschetta from left to right as well. The white anchovy was great. It was neither too fishy nor too salty. The sour taste of salsa verde went very well with the saltiness of the anchovy. The toasted bread had soften a bit in the middle due to the moisture in the salsa. But so far so good.

The chorizo with caramelized onion and dark chocolate was next to go down my throat. The pan-fried chorizo was too hard I felt like I was eating a piece of smoky flavored cardboard. Caramelized onion added nice natural sweet flavor to the bruschetta. The very tiny amount of dark chocolate on top was outshone by the smoky chorizo and onion. If it wasn’t described on the menu, I wouldn’t even notice it. The bread was the crispest of all four.

Judas Goat in Blood Alley Bruschetta

Then it was time for the first vegetarian bruschetta, the stewed mushrooms with sherry and comté cheese. It was nice and subtle. The mushrooms were well-cooked though I hardly tasted the sherry flavor. The comté was cheesy, but in a good way.

The last victim, who followed the Judas Goat down to the dark tunnel of no return, was the piquillo peppers with serrano chili and goat cheese. The peppers were roasted and peeled, then julienned. The green paste on the bottom was possibly basil and serrano chili blended with some olive oil. However, I didn’t really feel the heat at all. Perhaps because I’m Thai. My tongue is used to a much stronger kick. The goat cheese compliments the basil beautifully. Not bad at all for a vegetarian bruschetta.

Overall, Judas Goat is a small but fun pub for hanging out with your friends and coworkers after work. If you are in the mood for a funky modern bar, give Judas Goat a try. You could get a 6 oz glass of draft Orchard Hill Red Roof Cider and an order of beef brisket meatballs with rustic tomato sauce; or a 6 oz Sangria and couple bruschetta for $10 or less. Make sure you talk a lot, but eat and drink a little. However, if your idea of having fun is to eat a lot at affordable price, Judas Goat is probably not the right place for you. Otherwise, you may have to sell your own blood to pay for the meal.

Oh by the way, it is wise to walk through the Blood Alley with a friend or two after dark.

Judas Goat White Anchovy and Salsa Verde: ©©© ¼

Judas Goat Chorizo with Caramelized Onion and Dark Chocolate: ©© ½

Judas Goat Stewed Mushrooms with Sherry and Comté Cheese: ©©©

Judas Goat Piquillo Peppers with Serrano chili and Goat Cheese: ©© ¾

For those who do not care much about the value and size of these bruschetta, add another ½ point to the rating for a better representation of taste and vibe.


Remaining Budget: $271.39

Budget Spent: -$8

Budget Available: $263.39

Judas Goat is located at 27 Blood Alley, Vancouver, BC. Phone: 604-681-5090 Website: judasgoat.ca

Bar Hour: Monday to Saturday from 5pm to midnight. Call for reservations.


Judas Goat Food and Wine Menu

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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18 thoughts on “Judas Goat Taberna—A New Kind of High in Blood Alley

  1. Last time I went to gastown was a month or 2 ago when I visited Irish Heather for a fun, tasty and cheap private round table dinner. And it’s my first visit since long long time, and I realized that Gastown has changed sooooooooooooooo much in a good way! It’s become a little sophisticated area full of characters, and I loved it!

    I do think opening a restaurant like Judas Goat is part of the game. You might not a 100% fan of the place itself, but you know it’s fun to have within Gastown.

    1. lululu, Gastown has changed very rapidly. I don’t mind it so far, but I am hoping that it will not become another yaletown. I love Gastown because of its old charm. As long as the new developments compliment Gastown, I’m all for it. I don’t mind Judas Goat either. I like the vibe, but the food value is really not there. Gastown has suffered from lacking store varieties. Since this is my neighborhood, I wish there were more than just restaurants/bars, souvenir shops, and furniture stores here 🙂

  2. I would not have imagined you would blog about a place like Judas Goat at all, Tana. LOL! The serving is so small that if Suanne and I go, it will just be like going for appys and then we have to go somewhere else for real food.

    1. Ben, You’re right! If I don’t write a food blog, I won’t even go to Judas Goat. LoL. Fancy western food isn’t my cup of tea. I only did it for my readers. I wanted to bring them a wide variety of food under $5 or $10. Although in this case, the food value is almost not exist. Eight dollars for four tiny pieces of bruschetta is quite ridiculous to me. But once in a while, if my reader wants to hangout in a fancy bar on a budget, Judas Goat may fit their bill. They could order a 6 oz glass of sangria and a couple bruschetta for less than $10. Just remember to talk a lot but eat and drink a little. 🙂

  3. Tana, most importantly what did you eat AFTER you left Judas Goat cuz that 4 morsel of food can’t possibly be substantial, it won’t even fill up supermodel Kate Moss let alone healthy individuals like us lol! 🙂 I have a thing about going to blood alley for food or drinks, one of my close friends love Salt and I always decline cuz watching someone shoot up or snort white powder while sipping my Shiraz isn’t what I call a fun evening. Maybe its just my prudish self I dunno 🙂

    1. That’s a great question, imkoonta. It is sad but true that I went back home and made myself a bowl of cheap ramen. Technically with the ramen, this meal was still under $10. lol. It’s so weird they choose to open such a fancy restaurant like Salt tasting room in Blood Alley. Perhaps they did it for a shock value. I can’t justify a $20+ meal in Blood Alley.

  4. Tapas, like these, are really best enjoyed not as a “meal” per se, but over lively conversations with friends, over many, many [sic] drinks. I’m not sure it’s really a fair comparison between these and a standard meal in terms of quantity and value.

    Think of it as dim sum. In its most pure form, dim sum was also eaten as part of a long-drawn out brunch sort of meal. Not something one dives into morsel after morsel and not stopping for air, LOL 😀

    Geesh, I haven’t even been to Salt Tasting Room and they’re already opening up a sidekick !

    1. I’m not sure if it’s fair or not either LotusRapper. lol. But I just can’t justified $8 for four tiny pieces of bread with toppings. However, I did look back to when I tried La Taqueria. I can’t fill myself up with $8 worth of tacos there either. But most importantly, I didn’t feel like I wasted my money for those tacos at all. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same with Judas Goat Bruschetta. Anyway, I still think it worths writing about the place. If I totally hate the whole thing, I wouldn’t even write about them. But I like the vibe. As long as you talk a lot and don’t eat and drink much, you can have fun hanging out with your friends for under $10 at Judas Goat. The hard part is trying not to drink in the bar i guess. lol. oh btw, $8 can go much further with dim sum than Judas Goat bruschetta. You can get a couple steam buns, a few hargow, and perhaps a spring roll or two. 😛 I love dim sum.

  5. Sounds like a concept that is getting recycled quite a bit in town. Limited menu is a slight turn off personally. Interesting to see this part of town blossoming in terms of food options though. Stunning photos!

    1. I don’t mind limited menu as long as they are good and cheap:) I think Gastown has too many fancy restaurants/bars. We need more affordable ones and a wide variety of stores here. This area has too many of a few things. Btw, I only took the photo of the food. The interior/exterior photos were provided by the PR firm. Can’t take credits for those:) Thanks for visiting shokutsu.

  6. Okay, I’ll admit. I really like the play they have on urban legend and theology. But really… it seems like they are leading people to much to the slaughter of their own budget!
    I took a friend of mine to a Korean restaurant the other day and spent $17 (includes tip). We got spicy squid with veggies (enough to serve 3), rice, 4 different kimchi, a fried fish, fish cakes, salad, and those yummy yogurt drinks at the end. Can. Not. Beat. That. The squid was so tender! I had had no idea that squid could be anything but chewy.
    I’m okay with spending money on food if it’s a real experience I just can’t do at home, but, Tana… I can slap some chorizo on a cracker myself. Sounds like you feel the same 😛

    1. TR, Yup sounds like we’re feeling the same way about this place. Your korean restaurant sounds way better:) I totally love the spicy squid with veggies! it’s one of my favourites. Can’t believe you get all those dishes for just $17. That’s what cheap appetite is all about! You should share that in the Fan Favorites section:)

  7. So, Tana, that’s mean you only had those bruscetta and a glass of plain water! I think TR’s meal much worth it! $17 for whole set of meal & drinks.

    1. You guessed correctly kristy. Luckily the water is free. lol. Otherwise I would be over budget. I agree that TR’s meal was much better than mine. I wish that Korean restaurant were closer:)

  8. If I were into small tapas priced ridiculously expensive, where would I go…?

    Oh wait.. isn’t that most Vancouver trendy restaurants summed up?

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