The August Jack

There is yet another addition to the West 4th restaurant scene, and it goes by the name of “The August Jack”. The restaurant, which is actually a tapas and craft house, ultimately was born due to the huge expansion of craft beer in Vancouver.

Delirium

“With the quality and quantity of beers currently on the market, there is a huge opportunity to play around with different flavours and pair them with some great food. Pairing wine with food is a pretty standard practice these days.  With people now having more experience and knowledge about beer, they are starting to explore how beer and food can pair together just as well as wine,” explained restaurant owner, Chris Hall.

When he talks about “great food”, he means local and seasonal ingredients that are carefully crafted into a unique dish. Like any restaurant that strives to be “local”, they do it to ensure that they have the freshest products possible, while also minimizing their carbon footprint.

“If we are going to be serving quality beer, we wanted to ensure that we were pairing it with the highest quality food as well.”

I briefly visited The August Jack during the Khatsahlano preview, and, more recently, to have a couple of tapas paired with some beer. As a stubborn lover of craft beer, I was thrilled to see that their selection included a few of my favourites.

Before my group (Cassandra AndertonMichael Smith, Dianne ChowMarc Smith, and Carlos Gomes) got into the beer though, we whet our appetite with a cocktail as we shared some of their addictive Truffle Popcorn…

Truffle Popcorn ($6)

August Jack

Truffle Infused Butter, Shaved Grana Padano, Roast Garlic Crumble, Fresh Chopped Parsley – not actual portion size

{ Suggested Pairing: Unibroue Blanche De Chambly }

Actual Pairing: Vanilla Bourbon Sour ($7)

Vanilla Bourbon Sour

Organic Vanilla Bean infused Bulleit Bourbon, fresh squeezed lemon and lime, angostura bitters, egg white.

I didn’t taste the vanilla bean much, so it mostly tasted like a regular bourbon sour – which really isn’t a bad thing at all, only a slight disappointment that subsided quickly.

Wild Mushroom Toasts ($9)

Mushroom Toast

Seasonal Wild Mushrooms Hazelnut Basil Pesto Shaved Manchego Balsamic Reduction

{ Pairing: Deschutes River Ale. $4.5/7.5 }

Loved these! Moist mushroom morsels, melted manchego, a hint of sweetness from the balsamic reduction, and a crispy crostini. They use seasonal mushrooms so what you get during your visit will vary. On ours were lobster, oyster, crimini and portobello mushrooms. With the end of summer comes chanterelle season, so don’t be surprised if those will be thrown on there soon.

Read Island Mussels

Pilsner Braised with Caramelized Onion ($10 per 1/2lb)
{ Pairing: Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch $4.5/7 }

Chocolate Porter Cream ($10 per 1/2lb)
{ Pairing: Hopworks Cascadia Dark Ale $4.5/7.5 }

Porter Cream Mussels

Chocolate Porter Cream Mussels

Other than the bad oyster that I had in the bunch, these were absolutely delicious. I can’t think of a better idea than infusing the flavour of craft beer into mussels. But hell, I’d infuse the flavour of craft beer into anything.

Lactose intolerant? They’ve got you covered. Opt for the Pilsner mussels.

Not sure where Read Island is? It’s part of the Discovery Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Chèvre Cheesecake ($8)

Chevre NY Style Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Dark Chocolate Crust, Raspberry Sorbet, Seasonal Fruit

{ Pairing: Delirium Tremens $6.5 }

It looks amazing. And it tasted pretty damn good too.

The unique chèvre cheesecake was how you would imagine eating a cake of goat cheese: subtly tart, smooth, and full of flavour. I’ve had mascarpone cheesecake many times before, but never a cheesecake with chèvre. As someone who can’t consume a lot of cow’s milk (read: lactose intolerant in denial), it was perfect for me. The sorbet was great on its own for those who are sensitive to dairy, and also acted as a palate cleanser so that more of the cheesecake could be consumed. Not necessarily a good thing, but thankfully we were sharing. The dark chocolate crust was a little soft for my liking, but that’s because I rely on the crust in cheesecake to add a little crunch for textural contrast.

I’d opt for an espresso to pair with this dessert, rather than a beer. Get your barley fill before and during dinner.

I’ll be back to The August Jack to try most of their entrees: squash, cashew and gorgonzola perogies, pesto grilled halibut, smoked pork loin…the enticing list goes on, especially when they throw new dishes, like venison schnitzel, at you on a regular basis.

Not sure if you like craft beer? Withholding my namecalling, I’ll politely say try the Deschutes River Ale.  

“It’s not an overly hoppy beer, which makes it accessible to people who are just starting to get into craft beer, but still has lots of flavour which makes it great for pairing,” explained Chris. “That being said, our two top-selling beers have been Delirium and Blanche de Chambly.”

Chef Benjamin and The August Jack's Manager

Chef Benjamin and The August Jack’s Manager

And now for a little history lesson. 

I assumed the name of the restaurant was in honour of the Aboriginal Chief, August Jack Khatsahlano, and it was named as such because of the restaurant’s location, but I had to ask the restaurant’s owner Chris Hall, just to be sure.

“Yes, the name is in reference to the Aboriginal chief, August Jack Khatsahlano. We thought it was a great name due to the location of the restaurant and also because the vast majority of people don’t know that Kitsilano was named after him. So far, it has made for a great conversation piece when people come in and ask about the name.  Whether it is about food, drinks or a little piece of history, if you can teach your guests something interesting it creates more of an overall experience, rather than just going out for dinner.

So who is Chief Khatsahlano (Xats’alanexw)?

He was a popular and influential Indigenous/Aboriginal chief of the Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish). He was born in the village of Xwayxway, near the Burrard Bridge, on the peninsula that is now Stanley Park. For 22 years, Chief Khatsahlano captured and depicted the lives of his family members and local events through words, sketches and maps. He could neither read nor write. His talks, Conversations with Khahtsahlano (1932-1954) were transcribed by J. S. Matthews, City Archivist of Vancouver.

August Jack passed away in June 1971, just a few months after his wife died. His year of birth seems to be ambiguous, but it is believed that he lived well over 100 years.

Check out these great photos of Chief Khatsahlano on The Vancouver Sun.

The August Jack is located at 2042 West 4th Ave., between Maple and Arbutus. 

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