Saturday, September 3, 2011

How to do the Fringe Part 3:
On the Bison Trail

5th Street Bar & Grill
1028 Hillside Ave.

Victoria, B.C.

(250) 380-4600

Ever since Connoisseur Catering’s storefront operation was forced into closure (the building’s space wasn’t up to code), I had to wonder where could I get my bison fix.

I don't think much of where Pink Bicycle gets their bovinae (it’s from Vancouver Island Bison), and when I was last at 5th Street Bar and Grill, I asked where they get their meat. They gave me the answer that nearly made me go Hallelujah. It's Albertan.


Yes, those lovely herds have to roam from the Prairies and swim across the strait to get my attention. And in what I ate, maybe they should settle down for a spell in the firing pit.

I had a fire-grilled buffalo burger ($10) that included either a salad or fries. The burger was a touch pink but the texture was right. It was a soft and grainy chew that matched exactly what I ate at Conor Fleck’s Connoisseur.

The salad was a mean set of greens; I wolfed that down right away. Their vinaigrette dressing helped.

The rest of the burger could've tasted better if some other kind of mushroom was used. Button mushrooms seemed out of place for this burger, and this was a meal that didn't quite get my heart afire.

I hoped the Fabulous Miss Rosie Bitts, my next Victoria Fringe Festival show would do that.

On a busy Tuesday night at 5th Street, I didn’t even see their wood-fired grill spitting out flames by the dragon-loads. In previous visits I always noticed that, but this time, I wondered if that dragon was sleeping. I’ll have to come back for the fireside show to find out.

I did enjoy their crispy fried oysters ($5.50) a lot more. They were plump and juicy, and I can’t even squabble at the fact they’re small. If they were served at the same time, I could probably make them fit in the bun. Some tinkering can help turn this burger into a meal I’d have on a semi-regular basis, but this was one night where the flames were going out.

I should add that I support Connoisseur Catering. It was them that gave me a greater appreciation for good food. I’ve had their soups and it was some of the tastiest lunches I’ve ever had. At least Connor’s operation is still going. They still cater, but to find another storefront—or update the Bridge St. digs--won't happen anytime soon. I'll be drooling over a good bison burger more than Rosie Bitts.

Yes, I like food more than burlesque. But when the climax is right, that opinion will change.

3 Blokes out of 5

5th Street Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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