(UPDATE: The cart we reviewed has since been renamed Kaboom Box, though the menu has stayed relatively the same. A new cart with the Fresh Local Wild name has been opened - read our review here.)

Two well-dressed businessmen are staring at Fresh Local Wild, the new food cart on Granville at Robson, and trying to make sense of the menu.  They seem bemused at the concept: is the food cooked on the spot?  How is it prepared?  Where does one sit?  How does one order? Both smile politely, and move themselves and their conversation onwards.

Not long ago, these same men would likely have eaten at Josh Wolfe's former digs, Coast, where he had made a name for himself by championing sustainable seafood and the Vancouver Aquarium's Oceanwise program.  Wolfe and partner Andy Fielding have done the same with the menu at Fresh Local Wild, which predominantly features Oceanwise seafood, and rounds out the general motif with locally foraged ingredients.  

For the week that we visited Fresh Local Wild, this meant an abundance of line-caught salmon.  A hot smoked coho salmon sandwich ($8) features a spicy filet smoked on site in a tiny metal box tucked away in the corner of the cart, and paired with a messy bit of slaw.  The fish is great, both smoky and spicy, though drowning in the sauce of the slaw: an occupational hazard for anyone wearing a suit to work.  A smidgen more sensible is the keta salmon fish and chips ($10), lightly battered with a bit of panko in the mix, a good match for the meatiness of the fish - moist despite its lower fat content - and the salty crispness of the fries.  The latter are also offered in the form of a chanterelle mushroom poutine ($3 as a side, $5 on its own), which will be a bigger hit if the cart ever decides to stay open later into the evening, when the squeak of curds and the number of chanterelles involved becomes increasingly less important. 

The surrounding regions are abundant with oyster farms, and so it makes perfect sense to offer an oyster po' boy sandwich ($10).  Served on a bun instead of the requisite French bread, the oysters, from the sea and boastful of it, are expertly breaded and fried, accompanied by a slightly drier slaw, and offers a crisp, rich bite that will satiate until dinner.

Altogether, this fare that Fresh Local Wild offers is a statement.  This is food beyond the world of Coast and expense accounts, a sustainable choice made during the lunch of the everyday.  It's a more conscionable option at a slightly more proletariat price.  Beyond that, there's also the larger politics of the city's pilot food cart project at play, and Fresh Local Wild - along with other new food carts - has shown that this experiment can be a success.  If those two business men can't understand this, that's their own loss.


On Granville Street, at Robson
Vancouver, BC

Fresh Local Wild on Urbanspoon