DINER: A Look Inside Chef Makoto Ono’s Stylish ‘PiDGiN’ On The Downtown Eastside

February 3, 2013.

by Andrew Morrison | Pidgin, the highly anticipated first Vancouver restaurant from Canadian Culinary Champion Makoto Ono, opened last night to friends and family at 350 Carrall Street (across the street from Pigeon Park on the DTES). I took a look inside while they were preparing for service and stayed until it started to fill up. “We ended up feeling pretty good,” Ono’s business partner, Brandon Grossutti, told me this morning — so much so that they let the door go and finished the night with two full turns.

Designed by Craig Stanghetta with several installations by local artist Ricky Alvarez (a tandem we also saw to great effect at Revolver), the finished room is startlingly beautiful — the most mature of Stanghetta’s restaurant spaces to date. Alvarez’s works – I spied a collection of suspended scissors, a white forearm with hand brandishing a cleaver, golden thread-suspended blocks of quartz in the washrooms, a goosewing fastened to an orange decahedron, a California quail taxidermist’s triptych set in alcoves above the chef’s table – make for easy conversations, as do the weighty metal menus, the magnetic wall sections (to fasten the menus to, natch), and the service of JoieFarm “Noble Blend” and soju from gleaming taps.

Clearly, a lot of thought went into everything a diner’s eye might set upon, and that includes the wide angle view of the oft-sordid goings on across the street at Pigeon Park. There are at least a dozen seats right in the window, which tells me Grossutti and Ono are not in the least bit embarrassed by their bright projection of style and cuisine in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. And nor should they be. The contrast between inside and out might be massive, very real, and as striking to those who congregate on the northeast corner of East Hastings and Carrall as to the diners themselves, supping foie gras rice bowls and sipping Negronis in heated, cloistered comfort behind an unfrosted window, but that’s the reality of Vancouver, and I dig that they’re framing it instead of running from it. Stanghetta and Alvarez may have outdid themselves, but for the time being this is the talking point that will dominate the rest.

That is, until its Ono’s turn, because the heart of the matter is his French/Japanese/Korean food. I tried just a few of his dishes, definitely not enough of the menu to square and share a judgment with any kind of confidence, but suffice it to say that he’s wicked clever, and that I’d happily eat everything that I tried last night again (especially the squid and the tataki). I will, however, predict that if the service can hold up its end of the bargain (always a tall order when there’s a fierce talent in the kitchen) that Pidgin might just rapidly join the rarified ranks of the most ambitious restaurants in the city. It definitely has the potential to be that good. But make your own call. Pidgin opens tonight (Sunday) for real at 6:30pm. Click here for further intel/context, and browse the fresh shots below…

  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Beef Tataki
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Chicken wings
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Barman Robyn Gray
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Shochu on tap
  • PiDGiN | Joie Noble Blend on tap
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Squid, pork
  • PiDGiN | Shochu service
  • HONOURABLE MENTIONS
  • PiDGiN | Good negronis
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Chef's Table
  • PiDGiN | Nuts
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN
  • PiDGiN | Makoto Ono
  • PiDGiN

ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

—————————————————————————————–

Andrew Morrison lives and works in Vancouver as editor-in-chief of Scout and Culinary Referee & Judge at the Gold Medal Plates and Canadian Culinary Championships. He also contributes regularly to a wide range of publications, radio programs, and television shows on local food, culture and travel; collects inexpensive things; and enjoys rare birds, skateboards, cocktails, shoes, good pastas, many songs, and the smell of camp fires.

#ScoutThis

There are 82 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Diner Delicious restaurant intel...

DINER | Chef Robert Belcham Set To Launch His Monarch Burger Concept At The American

DINER | Chef Robert Belcham Set To Launch His Monarch Burger Concept At The American

by Andrew Morrison | If you're down with eating good burgers in Vancouver it's very likely that you've heard of Robert Belcham's famed 'Dirty Burger', which is… more 

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Being Terrified Of Unicorn Fraps & The Politics Of Southern BBQ

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On Being Terrified Of Unicorn Fraps & The Politics Of Southern BBQ

by Talia Kleinplatz | Vancouver’s Bauhaus has been named one of the top six restaurants to visit in Canada by the Discovery Series through the World’s 50… more 

DINER | A Look Inside The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Highly Anticipated Botanist Restaurant

DINER | A Look Inside The Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Highly Anticipated Botanist Restaurant

by Andrew Morrison | A couple of afternoons ago I was able to slip into the hive of activity that was the almost finished Botanist restaurant in the Fairmont… more 

HEADS UP | Put Up Your Dukes! 2017 ‘Aprons For Gloves’ Boxing Tryouts Set For April 22/23

HEADS UP | Put Up Your Dukes! 2017 ‘Aprons For Gloves’ Boxing Tryouts Set For April 22/23

From the inbox today comes details on the imminent Aprons For Gloves tryouts. Get ready to put up your dukes! On April 22 and 23 Aprons for Gloves Boxing… more 

DINER | Another Difficult, Next-To-Impossible Game Of ‘Name That Restaurant’ (SOLVED)

DINER | Another Difficult, Next-To-Impossible Game Of ‘Name That Restaurant’ (SOLVED)

by Andrew Morrison | This game challenges Vancouverites to identify local establishments by revealing only a tiny facet of their interiors. It might look… more 

DINER | Pourhouse Made A Special ‘Terrine En Croute’ For The Chef’s Favourite Hockey Team

DINER | Pourhouse Made A Special ‘Terrine En Croute’ For The Chef’s Favourite Hockey Team

by Andrew Morrison | I was inside Pourhouse in Gastown before dinner service a few days ago when I saw owner/chef JC Poirier and future St. Lawrence chef de… more 

OPENING SOON | L’Abattoir Crew To Launch ‘1 Gaoler’s Mews’ Project In Gastown, May 19th

OPENING SOON | L’Abattoir Crew To Launch ‘1 Gaoler’s Mews’ Project In Gastown, May 19th

by Andrew Morrison | The decline and fall of fine dining is an easy, old hat complaint among local chefs, restaurateurs and food writers. Slickly designed,… more 

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On The Trouble With Legal Weed & Banning Kids From Fine Dining

INTELLIGENCE BRIEFS | On The Trouble With Legal Weed & Banning Kids From Fine Dining

by Talia Kleinplatz | With Canada looking to legalize recreational marijuana next year, we should look to the US state of Colorado to see how the change has… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Agrius Ai & Om Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio Anh and Chi AnnaLena Araxi Arbor Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Bishop’s Bistro Wagon Rouge Bittered Sling Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Bufala Burdock & Co. Cabrito Cacao Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cook Culture Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen Dixie’s Authentic Texas BBQ Earnest Ice Cream East Van Roasters Cafe Edible Canada Elementa Espana Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Mao Fernwood Coffee Company Field & Social Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Heritage Asian Eatery Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juke Fried Chicken Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Kissa Tanto Knifewear Kozakura Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Lobby Lounge + RawBar Longtail Kitchen Made By Pacific Maenam Mak N Ming Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mister Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro OLO OPUS Bar Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, The Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Salt Tasting Room Savoury Chef Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Sorella Stable House, The Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana Vij’s Restaurant Virtuous Pie West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .