Some friends headed out to celebrate a couple of birthdays on Saturday and decided to have the dinner and pre-drinks at Lickerish Lounge on Davie St. Neither of us has been here but we have heard of it; the paintings of major urban music figures on the walls were what came to mind immediately. We did a bit of reconnaissance online and came up with some pretty bad reviews, but we noticed they were mainly from previous years so we figured hopefully its changed for the better since. And I’m glad we gave them the benefit of the doubt since our experience there was top notch!
We were running a little late so when we got there the party was in full swing; a diverse crowd packed the downstairs area and everybody seemed to be having a good time. There’s an upstairs loft as well and apparently later in the evening both levels can get pretty packed on a weekend (they also offer an outdoor patio). At this point in the evening rap music was pumping from the sound system to accompanying videos on the plasmas on the walls (including a giant 106″ HD screen above the DJ booth!), and although we didn’t stay late enough to catch the DJ sets they have live DJs Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights after 10 PM.
I recognized one of the waitresses as a former co-worker, and although she wasn’t the server for our section we did get a chance to chat about her new gig. I know her as a straight shooter, and she had nothing but kind words for the owner and establishment. She said she has a lot of fun working there and that the crowd is phenomenal, none of the sketchiness or aggression you might expect at a hip hop venue. One of the main gripes it seems people had with Lickerish in the past was in the service department, but the current staff seemed very pleasant and capable, and handled our crowd without any complaints or hitches.
Wendy had a couple shots of Tavi tequila to start the night off with a bang: a newish entry into the premium tequila market, Tavi’s known for a clean taste, smooth finish and purported lack of hangover (and a gorgeous looking bottle!). For her next drink she had a White Sangria ($7.50), which she thought looked quite pretty served with a couple of cranberries and a slice each of lemon and lime. She didn’t find it very boozy, but sangria is usually deceptively easy to drink so it more than likely had the requisite amount in it.
For a shared appy we opted for the Tempura Yam Fries ($7). This was a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that blend of yam fries and tempura: the thinner cut of the fries as opposed to Japanese-style tempura allowed for more batter coverage, and therefore more satisfying crunch! The standard garlic mayo worked perfectly as a dip and the portion was very generous. Best. Yam. Fries. EVER!! (Wendy agrees and she’s a major yam fry junky.)
She had the Mini Burgers ($12 for 3, additional single burgers $3 each). There are three choices: sweet Thai crispy chicken, chipotle mayo beef, and Hoisin mayo pork. She went for the latter. The buns were fresh, the meat was moister than expected for pork, and the Hoisin mayo (actually more of a sauce) was a good match. She did take out a piece of meat to try on its own and didn’t find it too flavourful, but the sauce makes the dish on this one and she was satisfied with the sliders.
I chose the Beefy Macaroni ($12). The pasta was al dente, smothered in rose sauce and mixed with ground beef. I had asked for some hot sauce on the side just in case, but it turned out the dish already had the requisite amount of kick. Medium spicy, but not so hot I was reaching for the water because of it. The crumbled goat cheese on top added a mild respite from the spice too. Great comfort food, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. And the portion was more than enough yet again.
The owner was on hand that night, apparently he’s a regular presence there, and seemed friendly, like he genuinely wanted to make sure his guests were enjoying themselves. This included cutting the music for a round of Happy Birthday songs and checking in on our meals, etc. I should also mention they offer a wide range of drink and food specials including a 50% off daily “appy hour” for food between 5-7 PM. We got a very good vibe from this place, and it was a good start to a great night 🙂