My Experience at Rockford Grill Taste Testers Club

Rockford GrillThis past week I had the fortune to attend the Taste Testers Club at Rockford Grill on Broadway at Burrard.  The Taste Testers Club is a night of complimentary food and drink sampling between 5pm-7pm, on Thursdays.  If you order anything you sampled, you get your name put in for a draw for a $75 gift certificate.  A great deal IMHO.  If you have never heard of Rockford Grill before, it is a bit like Earls, but it has an Asian twist to many dishes.

This evening though was for me, and my cadre of @diannechow, @BCbrews, and @websturr an evening to also try Rockford Grill’s new gardein menu, compliments of Rockford Grill.

What is Gardein?

gardeinDo you remember Yves Veggie Cuisine?  Well Gardein is founded by Yves Potvin.  Gardein (garden + protein) is a line of delicious plant-based foods slow cooked to have the authentic taste and texture of premium lean meat. It is made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut).  You can get Gardein “meat”balls, chicken patties, riblets, turkey filets and much more.

Enjoying Gardein at Rockford Grill

Their gardein menu consists of:

  • gardein spicy chicken naan-wich crispy breaded chicken, sharp cheddar, spicy chipotle mayo, shredded iceberg, avocado-mango salsa, roasted garlic naan bread $13.95
  • gardein kung pao chicken water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, baby corn, fresh red chilies, peanuts and jasmine rice $15.95
  • gardein mongolian beef noodles seared beef with bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, bean sprouts, bok choy, fresh ginger, green onions and chow mein noodles in a black bean hoisin sauce $15.95
  • gardein teriyaki chicken rice bowl wok seared vegetables, bean sprouts, wasabi cream $14.95
  • gardein mumbai chicken bowl wok seared vegetables, spicy indian curry, bean sprouts, papaya salsa $15.95

gardein kung pao chicken

We tried the gardein Kung Pao chicken and the Mongolian beef noodles.  If you did not know how gardein is made, you probably guess that you are eating chicken and beef.  The consistency is fairly close to actual meat, but maybe a little softer.  The Kung Pao chicken spice level is set to be easily eaten by most people.  If you are a chile pepper fanatic it is not going to push your limits.  The gardein chicken tasted like tender white chicken meat to me.  I enjoyed having the crunchy water chestnuts to add some additional texture to the dish.  I enjoyed the Mongolian beef noodles more.  The “beef” was cut into thin strips and was more chewy like you would expect from strips of beef.  There was a lot of black bean hoisin sauce to make the noodles moist.

To these 2 dishes we were drinking a bottle of LoTengo Malbec from Argentina. This malbec was very flowery and full of juicy red fruit.  Silky with no tannins.  An overall easy sipper, but not one to challenge your tastebuds. It worked well with both gardein dishes, without overpowering either one.

Other Menu Items We Tasted

Prawn ravioli and curried beef on endive

We did have a chance to stray from the gardein menu as it was Taste Testers Club that evening.  One taster dish we tried was the ginger prawn ravioli with cream sauce, and another was a curried beef (gardein?) with crunchy noodles nestled onto an endive leaf.  I really liked the prawn ravioli.  The ginger made the prawns sing, and the cream sauce was very light; not overpowering.

If you like bacon, you may want to try their blackened prawn tacos (3) shredded slaw, salsa fresca, chocolate bacon $12.95.  Chocolate coated bacon bits were sprinkled on top of the tacos giving an extra slightly smoky chocolate flavour to this taco.  We all definitely liked this dish.

Beer Tasting

As part of the Taste Testers Club this evening, Big Rock Brewery (from Calgary) was offering two beer samples; a Double Happiness lager, and a Rye & Ginger beer.  The Double Happiness beer is brewed specifically for Rockford Grill.  You cannot get it anywhere else.  It is a typical light lager for me.  The Rye & Ginger beer is a bit more interesting to my palate.  It is made yes, with Rye and Ginger (which by the way is a popular mixed drink on the Prairies). You get a bit of sweetness from the Rye and spice from the ginger.  Low hops, an easy sipping beer.  It went really well with the prawn ravioli.

Yes There are Desserts

To cap off the evening we tried two desserts:

  • baked apple galette puff pastry filled with granny smith apples, vanilla gelato, caramel sauce $8.95
  • sticky chocolate date pudding, vanilla bean gelato, chocolate butterscotch sauce $7.95

Apple galette

I am a push over for desserts with apples.  I really enjoyed the galette with the many layers of thin pastry dough, and topped with the vanilla gelato. Not overly sweet. A treat to share with others.  The sticky chocolate date pudding was a bit heavier dessert.  The baked pudding was very bready in texture and needed the chocolate butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean gelato to make it moist in your mouth. Have it with a cup of coffee to end your meal.

If you are a vegetarian or not, there is something for everyone I think at Rockford Grill.  Go there for a casual lunch or evening with friends.