By Tana Kosiyabong
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 MENU
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