A poetic circularity brings colleagues John Crook and Erik Heck back to the Yaletown address that houses WildTale. The two chefs/entrepreneurs used to work in its kitchen when it was the original Glowbal Grill, gradually hatching the plan for their own casual restaurant, the Flying Pig. The remarkable success of that venture (three bustling locations and growing) allowed them to procure the space from Emad Yacoub, founder of the Glowbal empire, and in short order they transformed it into this welcoming temple of seafood.
All traces of Glowbal Grill’s pulsing nocturnal mood have been obliterated, replaced with a room that—perhaps unwittingly—evokes a tony country club in Boca Raton. (There isn’t any rattan, but this feels like an oversight.) Happily, this atmosphere of cleanliness and composure complements the menu’s straightforward pleasures: all manner of marine provisions—raw and cooked—prepared with a minimum of fuss (and priced considerably lower than elsewhere in the neighbourhood). Thyme-scented chowder delivers a lovely note of ocean-like pungency; fresh oysters are presented atop a mound of crushed ice and accompanied with excellent horseradish-spiked cocktail sauce (we dipped our frites into it); grilled albacore tuna (from a lengthy rotating fresh sheet) arrived perfectly seared yet rare within.
Floor staff were still getting their act together when we visited—four servers visited our table one night—but they were trying hard. The kitchen, however, has its game down.