What is a tuc I wonder?
In Gastown, apparently it's a fabulous restaurant called Tuc Craft Kitchen.
We had been here before one early afternoon during a recent rainstorm before Hogmanay. Then, the place was almost packed. This time we called for a reservation before arriving and that was a good thinking on G. G. Bylnn's part because Tuc certainly isn't flying under the radar anymore, if ever it was. On our most recent visit the estimated wait time without a reservation, was well over one hour.
Everything about Tuc is good. Service is warmly attentive and professional. Our server offered thoughtful suggestions and informed answers to our questions, which mainly involved the impressive cocktail list. All the drinks appear to be well prepared and nicely presented, and priced reasonably; something that isn't always the case in this city.
Jeem tried a Jaral Caesar, which features mescal, jalapeño and cilantro. It was so good he had to have another to confirm matters. Sherry and Susan had Sunrise Mimosas, which was evidently delicious (Summerhill organic Cipes, Grand Marnier and cherry herring) and not as sweet as might have been expected.
We were here for brunch, before a show at the Firehall Theatre a few blocks away. The menu is inventive yet familiar too. What many people have discovered about Tuc, and one of the reasons we're here on this day, is the Crispy Chicken Waffles. Generous portions of local, free-run chicken breast done in a thoroughly crispy manner, reminiscent of that bucket of chicken we sometimes enjoyed as children. Tuc's version uses less salt and better chicken obviously, and it shows in the taste. The waffles are savoury and the toppings are sublime.
Jeem, remembering his family roots, had a dish named Okonomiyaki, which is a variation on the traditional Japanese pancake, with shredded pork, cabbage, barbecue sauce, kewpie mayonnaise and bonito flakes. It was pleasing in every way, but not in the same way as the fried chicken.
So. To recap. Tuc is fantastic. Make a reservation. The chicken can sell out, so ... don't dawdle.
We're coming back for dinner one night. It's the kind of place that offers great service, some wonderful mixed drinks, wines at reasonable prices and authentic food. Taken all together, those ingredients make Tuc Craft Kitchen a rare find indeed: locally owned and inspired, unpretentious and good. It's a place to come with friends and family because that's the way Tuc feels, and isn't that what dining is all about?
Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.