My partner and I had dinner at Ouisi Bistro on Saturday night, after reading Tim Pawsey's piece in the Courier about this estab's crawfish festival.
We started by splitting a crab cake starter which was beautifully presented, accompanied with a tart corn relish and garnished with cajun mayo. The breading was crisp, completely non-greasy. We like our crab cakes done a little more primitively, with lumps of crab, and Ouisi's style is to make their cakes from a crab pate. We probably wouldn't order it again, as there are so many other interesting things on their menu. But they are apparently made according to a traditional Creole recipe, and one of the most popular items on their menu.
Based on Tim Pawsey's recommendation, as well as the gentleman's across the aisle, I ordered the crawfish tails. This was cleverly presented,with a largish crawfish in shell clutching a pickled habanero-type pepper in it's pincher. The sauce was rich and complex. Plenty of crawfish in a generous amount of sauce and mixed with swiss chard was layered over a sweet potato bacon patty. I like this dish quite a lot, although I would have preferred my greens on the side (and perhaps would have preferred mustard or collard greens to the chard) and crawfish that was a touch more chewy.
My bf ordered the crawfish pasta, and it was unbelievably good. The pasta was perfectly done, and the balance of flavours and textures including ham, spinach, and a very good reggiano, was masterful. I secretly envied him all dinner long, and am tempted to go back there and order this dish.
Service was as courteous as any one would receive in the deep south, both from the proprietor and the staff. This place is apparently one of Vancouver's best kept secrets. For those with a hankering for Creole cuisine I'd recommend you try this place. They have a very interesting menu with many Creole classics, and apparently have both an annual crawfish festival and an annual gumbo festival. We will definitely be back.