Tuesday, September 1, 2015


For the longest time I have been contemplating between Buckstop on Denman street or Devil's Elbow Ale and Smoke House in Gastown, and decided to go with Buckstop because they have been on my list ever since the restaurant opened their doors. Buckstop is a small and cozy barbecue restaurant that focuses on locally sourced food and made from scratch ingredients, such as making their own ketchup! So after polishing off a medium size bag of chips at Whole Foods because my friend was running AN HOUR AND A HALF LATE, we finally entered the restaurant. To be fair though, she did suggest for me to order some appetizers first... but knowing myself I would have ordered everything and have her finish what was left LOL.

When we arrived, the restaurant was almost full and we were offered a six person table after the staff discussed where to seat us for a while. We were also warned that those coming in later would be squeezed next to us and I really appreciate the staff giving us a chance to have an actual table rather than shoving us at the bar (which many restaurants surprisingly do not do). The atmosphere at Buckstop is very casual, loud and non-rushed, making it ideal for a great hang out place. Many of the tables were finished their dinner and just kicked back to relax.

BBQ BUTTERMILK CALAMARI, "with fresh cilantro and mango" ($10.00).
Rating: 1/5.
When the calamari arrived at the table I was disappointed to see that some of the pieces were patchy, but no biggie... until the batter fell off of every piece like what happened at The Fish Shack. The batter crumbles apart upon forking and falls into the aioli. The calamari also tastes extremely rubbery and tough (at least the shrimp at the The Fish Shack tasted bouncy). As for the housemade aioli, there is a mild tang and a creamy consistency but we cannot pick up the mango.

TEMPURA TUNA TACO, "Albacore tuna loin, homemade flour tortilla, chipotle aioli, cabbage, picked cucumber" ($11.00).
Rating: 2/5.
Another appetizer we ordered is the Tuna Taco, which our server offered to have cut in half but the kitchen forgot. Starting with the over pan-fried tortilla, unfortunately it folded, snapped and broke in half rather than rolling and holding its shape. Perhaps this is why the kitchen chose not to cut the taco in half? Also as an appetizer I would prefer two small tacos rather than a large one. On top of that, the tuna tastes dry but the batter has a nice crisp (not soggy one bit or too crunchy). Fortunately the chipotle aioli tastes pretty good though, mildly spicy and flavourful.

Beef back ribs, St.Louis pork ribs, brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, fries, beans, coleslaw, hush puppies, cornbread and honey butter are included in the Half Stop Barbecue for $55.00 at Buckstop.

BEEF RIBS || Rating: 3/5
PORK RIBS || Rating: 2.5/5
Starting with the good quality Beef Ribs at the top, our server mentioned that we were lucky because the ribs came out twenty minutes before our arrival! The ribs have a mild smokey flavour, taste tender and juicy. I would have liked a smokier, heavier and stronger flavour but the ribs are above average. The Pork Ribs on the other hand are not as good. The meat taste tender, but very dry and lacks a barbecued, charred and smokey flavour.

BRISKET || Rating: 2.5/5.
Continuing to the Brisket that has a nice bark and bite, the slices do not taste tender or juicy one bit. In fact, the brisket tastes extremely dry. Dry as in having to chew and spit the food out. One of slices were half-assed too and the slice is almost an inch thick. But to be fair, there is a slice that is sliced super thin (deli meat style) and of course that piece tastes tender, although still dry. I sort of want to add that even Memphis Blue's brisket tasted more tender, despite that Buckstop's has a lot more flavour.

SMOKED CHICKEN || Rating: 4/5.
YES! YES! YES! I knew I deserved something good and this is it, the Smoked Chicken. The chicken is very well seasoned and the dry rub has loads of flavour. LOADS! The meat tastes very tender and has an extremely rich smokey flavour. The chicken is actually the smokiest meat of them all including the Beef Ribs. The thigh is extremely juicy too (you can see the pool of oil on the bottom, which is good in my books), but the rest were only tender. We thought the chicken would be the worst out of the platter but it is actually the best!

PULLED PORK || Rating: 1/5
Ending the Half Stop Barbecue with the Pulled Pork, this is the worst item on the platter. The Pulled Pork is stringy, dry and bland. To top it off, the sauce is very runny and not flavourful one bit. What happened? As for the sides, the Beans taste fresh, neither too sweet nor salty and exhibit a mild smokey flavour . The beans are pretty good. The Coleslaw is not bad as well, there is a heavy mayonnaise flavour that does not overwhelm and tastes freshly prepared.

FRIES || Rating: 2.5/5
The platter also comes with house-cut fries and homemade ketchup. The fries taste generic for us and some are soggy, but we came for the barbecue and not the fries!

CORN BREAD || Rating: 2/5
HUSH PUPPIES || Rating: 3/5
For dessert, the Corn Bread has a crisp exterior and does not taste too dense but is dry. As for the fluffy Hush Puppies, these are great with the the accompanying Cinnamon Honey and Vanilla Butter. The rich and fluffy butter is neither too light nor heavy one bit. There is also a stronger honey flavour than cinnamon, which I prefer more.

The highlight at Buckstop is definitely the Smoked Chicken, which are pretty bomb. And how often do I say that? I also enjoy that the food is presented on wooden boards. But overall, the appetizers and the Pulled Pork are very disappointing. The barbecued meats can also improve. As for the service, we were in and out within twenty minutes after getting our food and the two ladies who worked here were extremely friendly, definitely deserving a $20.00 tip. Both ladies followed up on us, gave a brief description of the dishes and were, well, simply friendly. Good service is hard to come by.

- Open late night
- Ladies are genuinely friendly
- Pretty damn good Smoked Chicken

- Not much seats
- Food can be better
- Some meats are better than others
- How do you lock the washroom door?

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 5/5

833 Denman Street Vancouver, BC V6G 2L7
Telephone (604) 428-2528

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you wasted some money.

    Should have gone up the street to Kingyo ;)



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