Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar is located at Waterfront Station in historic Gastown. Built in 1910 Waterfront Station was originally used as Canadian Pacific Railway’s terminus station for its transcontinental passenger line and is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture. As you enter Rogue you immediately notice the scale of the room, this place is gigantic! Vaulted ceilings, giant chandeliers, towering window treatments all done in a way that blends modern design and old world cool together seamlessly. Visually this is one of the coolest spots in town. My trip to Gastown was actually for the annual motorcycle show & shine which was great but ultimately too hot to avoid seeking out cold beer for relief.
Rogue seemed a good choice as their beer selection is fairly large with a great assortment of REAL beer on tap. When I say real beer I mean beer that doesn’t come from a factory producing thousands of gallons of beer a day. I had the Crannog Bog Trotter Brown Ale (great name!), the Crannog Backhand of God Stout (another great name!) and the Howe Sound Honey Pale Ale, all of which were fantastic.
The first thing that I saw on the menu that really jumped off the page was something called Fries x 3. Hand cut Kennebec fries done 3 different ways, poutine (gravy and cheese curd, for my American friends) in one dish, Gorgonzola cream and bacon in another and Parmesan with truffle oil and basil in the last dish. They were all excellent but the Gorgonzola cream and bacon was ridiculously good. The Truffle oil was almost undetectable in the third dish, which was disappointing because truffle oil is mouth-wateringly good, but they were good none the less.
My co-pilot for the motorcycle show, Al, who is known more commonly as Bert even though his name is Allen…ordered the Rogue Burger with fries. It looked good and Bert confirmed my visual assessment. He said it actually tasted like good quality beef as opposed to most other burgers where the beef serves as texture more than flavor, at least I think that’s how he put it. Did I mention that the beer was really good? The presentation was dramatic with a large steak knife stabbed through the center of the burger holding it together. This burger is 9.2 ounces of house ground sirloin, manly.
I, once again, had a strong craving for pizza and was helped along by the waitress who informed me they were half price on Sundays. I ordered the Pepperoni & Three Mushroom Pizza with roasted garlic and mozzarella. The pizza was fantastic with a thin and crispy crust, whole cloves of roasted garlic and a “mushroom medley”. I’m not sure what the three mushroom varieties were, and the menu wasn’t much help but I am guessing they weren’t “magic” because I remember paying the bill…They were a nice compliment to the pizza though, even with the mystery surrounding them.
Now here’s the weirdest part about Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar. Their menu has a “pay what you think it’s worth” caveat. If you don’t like what you’ve ordered as much as you thought you would you can pay less for it, or if it’s better than expected you can choose to pay more for it. This part of the process seems a little out there to me and it wasn’t made very apparent by our server. When our bills arrived she asked us “does that look ok to you?” Had I not know about the payment philosophy before hand I wouldn’t have had a clue that she was referring to the prices of our food and I suspect most other customers wouldn’t either. I have no problem paying the listed price for something I order or else I wouldn’t order it and if I am dissatisfied enough to complain about something I would hope the restaurant would do something about it instead of leaving me the option of adjusting the price myself.
The confusing payment system aside Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar is somewhere I will definitely be returning to. The food was great, as was the service. The room itself is incredible and the prices are very reasonable, especially for this part of town. Another great food find in our city, go out and enjoy this hot summer weather and some great local food!