Monday, June 4, 2012

Sauce Restaurant and Lounge

Closed as of April 2013

Address: 1245 Wharf St.
Phone: (250) 382-8662
Price: $10-20
Notes: At the corner of restaurant row and tourist trail, Sauce has a little something for everyone.


Sauce is at the very bottom of Yates street where the restaurants are for locals, at Wharf where all the tourist-oriented restaurants live. In the last year the ownership has changed, as well as the feel of the restaurant. Past partners moved on to open Bin 4 and the other partner has stayed and is gently refining the restaurant, piece by piece. I have noticed that the sole-owner, Steve, is snapping up many of the well-regarded staff from around town to work for him and that I have seen many food people react with love and adoration for the changes he is making.

The menu and ambiance has the advantage of having a little bit of something for everyone in the style of Earls/Browns/Milestones, but without actually being a chain restaurant.  On the flip side, that does mean it has been hard to identify anything that stood out as "yes - this is why you should go to Sauce!" In the past we have always been unable to put our finger on what was missing that made it resonate with us as somewhere that was 'our kind of place' but perhaps this is just it - we feel like we are eating somewhere cookie cutter even though all the components are not. This is slowly shifting, and we feel more at home every time.

I think the decor also contributes to the feeling of a chain restaurant, although we established on our last visit that if they could swap out their chairs for something less brown it would probably feel less this way. In observing this, we noted it was a really hard space to make feel like a cosy, neighbourhood, not cookie-cutter restaurant because of the shape, high ceilings and awkward shaped pillars!

The service is very diligent and friendly, and I have heard many people say they visit for this alone. Their menu has undergone quite a few changes and is incorporating more local ingredients and interesting options. They have a large Celiac-friendly menu, available upon request, and their drinks menu has been revamped to be quite interesting, especially with the inclusion of New Theatre Tonic on the menu!

May 27, 2012

New Theatre Tonic g&t
New Theater Spirits & Tonic G&T

I'll admit, this was the sole incentive for our visit today! The bar manager & his brother are involved in making this fantastic locally-made tonic. I am a huge G&T fan, and this one was a treat. I have been waiting and waiting to try the tonic and this was literally the first lazy Sunday afternoon I had in the last six months (and the last one I can see on the horizon for a while!) so we took advantage of it. The only thing that would have made it better was the sun shining bright enough to be sitting on the patio.

We ended up trying the tonic on its own as our second drink (we both had brought vehicles downtown) and I really noticed that it managed to be perfectly bitter and sweet in balance at the same time, and then had a good citrus aftertaste. I found myself wishing that they had Gordon's gin on the menu (Grandpa taught me it makes the best G&T's and I haven't been able to go back since) because I think the combination might be the holy grail. But - it was still really good with the Beefeater!

Tuna Tartare
Tuna Tartare

We both found ourselves drawn to this on the appetizer menu, so decided to share it. I was anticipating the presentation to look like beef tartare (probably because I had seen it served this way during a recent visit to Zambri's) but it came in more of a ceviche-style, with house tortilla chips made from whole wheat tortillas. The sauce the tuna was marinated in was quite nice, very fresh and summery and once again made me wish the sun had come out and we were sitting on the patio.

June 26, 2011
The brunch menu in particular drew me in this first time - I love the "undecided benny" (mix & match any two on one plate). Little things like that make me feel like Someone Cares. We took a good peek at the drinks menu, and it looks pretty stellar! The lunch menu looks very reasonably priced, but I have yet to dive too deep into the dinner list.

Thai Rib Benny via

This is the first Eggs Benedict I have ever seen that contained an onion ring! I couldn't not try it. The onion ring forms the main base for the egg to sit on top of, and the thai-rib meat nestles in the middle of the onion ring. I tried to take a picture once I'd cut it open but I was too hungry and things didn't turn out so well. My one criticism (and this sounds fussy but it's such a little thing that makes a big difference) is that they could have used the potatoes to make a barrier between the hollandaise and the fruit... I love fruit, and I love chipotle hollandaise but I don't like when the two meet on my plate!

Tiger Prawn Frittata via

This was the choice of my partner-in-food-and-life. It was quite tasty and nicely flavoured but the one comment was "it was very reasonably price at $9, but I would have paid more to have it be a little bigger..." This is unusual, as my p.i.f.a.l. hates to be over-full at breakfast. It might have been our grumpy night of interrupted sleep talking... but in retrospect I agree, it could have been a wee bit bigger and a wee bit more and felt like better value.

May 27, 2012
I was initially confused as to the delay between being seated and taking our orders (especially since we indicated on the way in we were planning to order some of the tonic and the restaurant was pretty empty in between lunch and dinner on a Sunday), but once our server arrived I realized - the server who seated us was not our server and she had been mid-order taking across the restaurant when we arrived. I think I was only confused because the restaurant was pretty much empty so I assumed the seater was our server. Once we ordered, our drinks and appy came speedily and the service was flawless and friendly.

June 26, 2011
Our service was friendly, attentive and helpful in her suggestions - especially the mimosa special! The evening before had been long and rough (and sadly not because I was enjoying myself), so something to dull the pain in my head was much appreciated. My water was filled even before I requested - bonus points!