A review of the Spud Shack
By K.P. Davis, Contributor
The Spud Shack is a quaint little place, nestled just off of the eastbound SkyTrain platform at New Westminster station. Their extensive beer and wine selection is scrawled out by deft hand in multicoloured chalk. I stopped by just in time for the dinner rush and the place was packed with a hip crowd of loyal customers.
As I came in I was impressed by the counter girl who seemed generally upbeat without any hint of pretentiousness. I soon realized that despite the music and multiple conversations being held in tight quarters, the sound level was perfect for conversation—another pleasant surprise.
I found the food decent for casual fare. First I tried the “Effing Good Burger.” The patty was crisp with a nice charr, but a little too well-done for my liking. The bun was plain, white, and a little fragile for the filling held within, whereas something with a little more heft would have worked better. The overall flavour was okay, but I found the pickles overwhelmed the rest of the burger like some vinegary bully.
I also tried their vegetarian burger; a yam, oatmeal, and quinoa patty served fairly plainly. It’s not often that I prefer vegetarian over beefy, but this was one of those instances. The flavour was amazing, and the texture—a gooey succulent hot mess where I was expecting dried carrots—won me over. A stronger and heartier bun would have gone a long way, though it wasn’t too much of a chore licking my fingers.
I was really hoping to be impressed by their “Original”poutine, but sadly I wasn’t. I felt the gravy was just a little too basic and bland, and the cheese wasn’t quite right. “The Squealer,” their pulled pork poutine, ended up a little better. The pork was soft, juicy, and fell apart in just the right way. But the addition of barbecue sauce pulled the flavour a little too far in the vinegary direction.
The “Jamba” poutine won the day for me. An adventurous concoction taking inspiration from Louisianan jambalaya, this had a perfect balance of sauce and protein, with a little cayenne heat to give it some interest. The chunks of spicy chorizo and plump shrimp balanced it out perfectly.
My visit to the Spud Shack left me satisfied and a little impressed. It was obvious to me their passion was in their more experimental dishes, so I would suggest checking them out and going deep into the menu. Stay away from the ordinary and you just may discover the extraordinary.
The Spud Shack can be found at 352-800 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster, making it the perfect spot for all you Douglas College foodies hankering for something hearty after a long day of learning.