Opposite of my table, on an appropriate, though slightly ironic, chest-high wall, hung a collection of framed covers of classic Dungeons & Dragons modules (like late 70s classic). I recognized them because I still own two of those exact adventures.
I’m old and a geek.
I spotted most of the humorous references sprinkled VERY generously in the menu. And not the obvious ones like adding “Skywalker,” “Frodo,” or “Starfleet” to dishes, but subtle geek shout-outs like naming alcoholic shots “Essence of Gelfling,” “Snow Crash,” and “King in Yellow.” I understood all of those.
I could walk in and scream, “When single shines the triple sun. What was sundered and undone shall be whole. The two made one!” and someone behind the bar would look at me, nod, and ensure a seat was available. I ever thought I’d feel so welcome in a pub, and I generally hate them. Like the way I hate the last two seasons of Battlestar Galactica, Michael Bay’s filmography, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and nappies…
…what? I started the list when I was two years old and never got around to remove anything.
But I stepped into the Storm Crow Tavern and fell in love…and this was not their big budget location. That’s the Alehouse a few kilometers away. The Tavern is smaller, and I guess considerably less sanitary. That’s the issue with many of these downtown Vancouver spots, built in locations that would’ve been torn down anywhere else. The place carries a whiff of anal gas emissions, and the bathroom should be burned to ash. It’s far too warm, requiring the entire front window to open into the street.
But I didn’t care; it’s a gamer/geek-themed pub. You can randomize your alcoholic shot by rolling a d20, awarding you a double-shot and the glass if scoring a natural 20. You can do the same when deciding toppings on your sundae, which I did. I don’t do shots, just don’t, and I rolled twice. I thought being a 30-year DM/GM veteran would assure me a natural 20, but alas, no luck on either roll.
The walls are plastered in geek culture, culminating in a faux-stone Cthulhu dominating the décor. My girlfriend and I even brought a game to play (even though you can borrow one from their significant collection), Tiny Epic Galaxies. Later that evening, they started up their trivia night. We didn’t play given other pressing matters, but I admired the questions being asked, taking pride when I knew most them (The co-creator of D&D was Dave Arneson, you dolts).
I really want to love the Storm Crow Tavern. It’s a restaurant built for me.
It’s just so depressing that the food sucks.
I mean it’s bad, almost unforgivably shocking. We opened with the Baron Samedi Voodoo Tacos with Cajun chicken, cilantro, cabbage, sriracha mayo, and lime. As we ate them, nearly a quarter cup of water pooled on our plate from the leaking tacos. Although the tacos weren’t bad, the dripping was unappetizing. We followed that with the Superappetizer Megaplater, which included French fries, hot wings (sorry, Romulan Wings of Vengeance), onion rings, chicken strips, perogies and served with the standard dipping sauces. And wow, this was bland. The fries were rubbery, the perogies tasted store-bought, and the chicken was…just…chicken strips, like the ones seen in yellow boxes at Superstore.
I was bored half through the meal but was still excited for the upcoming Dungeon Master’s Sinister Sundae. I rolled the dice five times but had no idea what was coming. Not one result was duplicated. I waited patiently…
…Who is the “frelling” “fahrbot” putting gummies on a sundae!? I mean, you’d have to be out of your “gorram” mind. Toppings should be soft or crunchy, never chewy. I had chocolate malts and crunchy gingerbread (I think), whipped cream, bananas, and a cherry. Those were good. And then two different types of gummi. Way to ruin a sundae, folks. I know that’s the chance you take when you roll the die, but seriously, I’m paying $15 for this; the least you could do is make the choices appealing.
I’m going to hit up the alehouse before this vacation is out. In hoping it’s better (spoiler, it was). It promises to be given its position sitting on the upper echelon of pubs in town. But they really need to hit up their culinary game if they want more than just curiosity visits. I love the décor. I love it. I need a place like this in my hometown, but my standards for cuisines prohibit me from giving them a blind pass just because I adore what they are trying. Please fix the quality of your food; I want to come back again in time.