Having firmly believed for years in not judging books by their covers, it was a struggle not to make a split-second evaluation of the Odd Couple simply based on its street presence.
Though it only just opened its doors this May, the Odd Couple has already created quite the buzz around town. With its trendy location, simple yet crisp design and rolling garage door-style front window that opens it up to the bustle of 20th Street, it could easily be mistaken for a European-style bistro.
The Odd Couple is just so far off the map of the busy food districts such as downtown that it is never overwhelmed by customers, but its growing popularity keeps its walls filled almost to capacity most days of the week — and with good reason.
The food — oh goodness, the food. A fusion of Cantonese, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, the Odd Couple’s menu combines crowd-pleasing favorites like ginger beef, Thai red curry and spring rolls with more unconventional twists such as the eggplant dish and the bacon fried rice.
For you more meat-wary eaters, the Odd Couple offers a fine spread of vegetarian options — including a shiitake mushroom substitute for the ginger beef, a selection of swanky salads such as apple or pear maple walnut, black wood ear fungus and the Chinese seasonal greens wok fry.
If the fantastic food menu wasn’t enough, the cocktail selection certainly blows much of the Odd Couple’s competition out of the water. Though it may be less extensive than other restaurants, their drink menu takes a fresh approach to old standbys and offers wine and beer that perfectly complement many of their dishes. The ginger smash — made with rum, maraschino liqueur, ginger and pineapple — was a standout choice, along with the Kung Fu Girl Riesling.
This was by no means my first time eating at the Odd Couple. After trying the Shanghai noodles in June, I’ve been back almost weekly — and I’m not ashamed in the slightest. The reasonably priced food is almost too delicious for its own good and the service never fails to impress. The staff is made up of a friendly and helpful group of people who genuinely look happy to be there — which is somewhat of a rarity in the restaurant biz.
This time around, I sampled the crab rangoon, the bacon fried rice and the coconut peanut sauce sandwich with sautéed beef.
The crab rangoon was a delight with its crispy shell and creamy filling. The peanut satay sandwich — served on an Earthbound Bakery baguette — was hearty and delicious, especially when paired with a side of crispy thin-cut fries.
But the true star of the show was the bacon fried rice, filled with BBQ pork and crunchy veggies and topped with an egg cooked to sunny-side-up perfection. Washed down with a cold and frothy pint of Sapporo, this dish easily could have made it into the lunch food hall of fame.
After finishing my delicious meal it seemed only natural to kick back, order a few drinks and relax for a little while. The Odd Couple is one of very few restaurants I have eaten at that has an atmosphere that lends itself to this comfortable, laid-back sort of feeling. It would not seem out of place for customers to lounge and chat there for hours, soaking up the cheerful mood of the servers, the manager Andy and the building itself.
I have a food crush on the Odd Couple — there, I said it — and with service, atmosphere, and a menu to die for, it is sure to maintain a loving relationship with the people of Saskatoon for many years to come.