Ever since I read Dale’s Yelp review, I wanted to try Cleaver. Finally, on Saturday night, I told L I was treating him out to dinner. Unfortunately, that night it was raining and we got the end seat on the patio. The servers brought over multiple blankets and made sure we were comfortable. A few drops weren’t going to make me melt. I could see L’s eyes glaze over in prerest (meaning – pretend interest) as I described how I thought it was kinda romantic to eat, cozily wrapped up in blankets, as the rain dripped behind our table.
L ordered an IPA ($9) while I stuck to a white ($11) and later, a full bodied Malbec ($13). As we sipped on our chosen poison, I noticed that Cleaver is full of decked out women. Have you seen that Real Housewives of Vancouver? Imagine full on make-up, hard to wear but nice to look at shoes, and clothes you would need to not ever eat to wear well. I opened the door to the ladies washroom and walked into a scene involving a brunette and something illegal. You would think she’d have the sense to lock the door.
My favourite dish at Cleaver turns out to be the cheapest. Double dipped duck fat fried fries ($7.00). The fries were so good, I would come just for these crispy suckers. The exterior was crunchy while the interior held pillowy goodness. Dunked in curry aioli, I was in ecstasy. The chips and dip combo reminded me of my favourite late night fry house in Vancouver, Fritz European Fry House.
Cleaver makes two wicked sliders. We order the trio ($24) The soft shell crab was hot, meaty and full of goodness. I was surprised that I thought the buttermilk chicken was as good or better. The chicken was crunchy, double-down, with cucumber ribbons and sweetness from I think, an apple. The lamb slider was okay, flavourful but puny in size.
The only dish that disappointed was the Kale Salad ($17). I thought the raspberry vinaigrette was too light for the sharpness of kale. The arugula did cut into the bitterness of the kale, but the dry sprinkling of quinoa and curry croutons didn’t add much to it. I did like the blue cheese and thin slices of two different colours of beets.
I would come back for the duck fries, two of the sliders and to people watch. There are lots of other dishes that look good. If you’re a dessert person, I saw some pretty decadent desserts at reasonable prices.