Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Fray is okay.....but not as good as I had hoped
Fray is a fairly new pub that has opened right around the corner from my home in the Fraser/ King Edward neighbourhood. It is definitely playing a part in the evolution of Fraser as it "becomes the new Main" and garnering a fair bit of buzz from locals. The Style Guru and I decided to check it out.
Fray’s in-house designers, owners, and partners have created a cozy game room vibe, complete with bar and big screen television (with burning holiday Yule log playing during my visit), board games and activities for the kids, and the kid in all of us (including activity sheets like "Hipster Bingo."The first thing I noticed when entering was the original Pac-Man arcade machine, which makes a cool first impression.
It was a Monday night and not very busy. We were led to a comfy booth right away by a friendly, laid-back server. We perused the menu and right away noticed that they had a "Blue Monday" Special offering a pint of draft beer (quite a nice selection) and an Appetizer for $10.
Fray markets themselves as a community eatery focusing on local, fresh ingredients, reasonable prices, creative comfort food, a wide selection of microbrew beer, delicious mixed drinks, and indulgent desserts. As we reviewed the menu, our server let us know that they had just been written up in the Vancouver Sun and they were so busy all weekend that they had run out of pork belly, beet salad, and burger buns.....which ruled out a few of the menu choices I was leaning towards.
We each ordered a Pint (White Bark) and an Appetizer and a sandwich to share.
Portobello Fries (regular price $8.95) "The death of the french fry! A Jenga tower of breaded portobello strips lightly fried and served with truffle aioli. These were quite good, especially their texture. The super crunchy exterior gave way to a tender inside mushroom fry. There wasn't too much in the way of seasoning. These are pretty filling and pretty heavy. I would've been pretty disappointed to pay full price for these if it wasn't "Blue Monday." The portion isn't very big, especially if you were sharing with more than two people. Also, paying almost $9 for 9 mushroom fries seems way overpriced.
Pulled Pork Sliders (regular price $2.95 each) "Fresh B.C. pulled pork in our own barbecue sauce with slaw on a purple yam bun." The pork itself was okay but not spectacular. It had a bit of a kick and wasn't too sweet. The yam buns were quite heavy, dense, and overpowered the meat and slaw.
Fray BLT ($7.95 with a fried egg for $1) "Fraser Valley bacon, sweet gem lettuce and tomato on fresh bread." I was really looking forward to this sandwich and it really disappointed me. The used a thick, wheat, Texas-toast style bread that overwhelmed the whole sandwich and really stifled/muted the sandwich fillings. The bacon itself was awesome....crispy, flavourful and delicious.
I had really high hopes for Fray and maybe I set my expectations too high, but I was a bit disappointed and found the food I tried to be pretty lacklustre and not overly impressive.
Overall, I would come back to Fray as a place to hang out, have a beer and a snack and watch a hockey game and perhaps place some board games, but unfortunately it won't be a culinary destination for me since the food just didn't "wow" me.