A second life for an old Latin favourite

The brick walls and exposed beams inside a former Japanese bathhouse on Vancouver’s Powell Street are now the edgy backdrop for Cuchillo, a Latin-themed restaurant that chef and co-owner Stu Irving refers to as an evolution of Cobre, his last culinary venture, which closed in March 2012. While originally seeking a new location for Cobre, Irving approached his former Raintree colleague, John Cooper, to join forces on a new project that would pick up where Cobre left off. At the heart of the restaurant, parallel to the bar, is an expansive community table that Irving says complements the menu, which abounds with items priced in the single digits. “It’s a sharing menu and we want to have that sharing atmosphere,” he says. “We wanted a larger bar–we knew we were going to do more of a cocktail-driven menu.” The pair snagged Vancouver magazine bartender of year H, whom Cooper says “created a phenomenal cocktail list, staying true to the flavours of the menu and the culture.” The vibe is complete with a feature wall of peeling Mexican movie and wrestling posters, and skull-laden, custom tile-art fronting the open kitchen. –Kristen Hilderman