Dish of the Month: Argo’s duck confit
A well-priced classic from, well, a classic
March 1, 2016
There’s a certain irony in the fact that, for a place that’s often described as a “greasy spoon,” the Argo Cafe produces a duck confit that doesn’t betray even a hint of grease. Instead, it’s executed to perfection, and served alongside a blueberry gastrique that balances out its fatty flavour. Even more impressive, perhaps, is its price: just a shade under $15. But this ability to balance cost and quality is not unusual for one of Vancouver’s hidden culinary gems—one that’s about to become just a little more visible.
The Argo Cafe has been around since the mid-1950s, but it’s only since Lynda and Denis Larouche bought it in 2004 that it really found a following. Both have spent their careers working in some of the city’s best kitchens, and they’ve brought that technique and touch to the items on the menu at the Argo.
Yes, there’s the requisite comfort food, like pasta, burgers, and clubhouse sandwiches, and they’re executed with aplomb—so much so that the Abbotsford turkey farm where they sourced their meat from once paid them a visit to find out where all of their birds were ending up. The soups, meanwhile, are among the best in the city—and better still because they come free with an entree. But it’s the stir-fries and other Asian dishes that Denis has become known for among the regulars. “This guy can make Chinese food better than my mother,” Lynda says.
With the growing volume of evening foot traffic in the neighbourhood and a new nano-brewery opening up right next door, the Larouches felt the time was right to expand the Argo’s hours beyond its usual lunch service. So did their neighbour, as it happens. “He didn’t want to see a food truck parked in front of his brewery,” Lynda says. Now, with the Argo open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 to 10 and Saturday days from 8 am until 2 pm, he won’t have to.
The Argo Cafe
1836 Ontario St.,