Slocan restaurant is rather unassuming from the outside, despite its conspicuous northeast corner location and firmly planted roots in the area since the mid 1970s. My girlfriend and I have made multiple visits recently to this established locale.
The decor falls right down the middle, whether good or bad depends on which side you lean towards. I found a certain kind of charm with the worn interior space, vinyl benches, metal napkin dispensers and the liberal use of brown tones throughout. Nothing feels contrived nor deliberate, just age taking its course. The patrons, all regular looking folk from families to the elderly all look to be regulars while the staff and owners are genuine and easy to warm up to, complete with friendly small talk. The faint noise from the tvs in the background bring up the back of the ambiance.
Alongside their daily specials the menu has many of the typical diner offerings. The hot turkey sandwich comes open faced with a good amount of white meat covered with serviceable gravy. The big, round scoop of potato salad on the side reminds you of where you are, but the noticeable bits of diced celery and the controlled use of mayonnaise makes it more than just an untouched pass-along. The reuben is good yet unassuming but not unlike something you'd find elsewhere, yet they don't pass it on to be anything more than just hot meat, sauerkraut and swiss on light rye. The pork chops are exactly what you expect out of a diner though. They're dry, a bit charred on the edges and likely not quite enough for the hungry. The scant carrots and cauliflower on the side were quite good but overall it's one of those misses that you experience and move on. I find their rotating list of daily soups (which come with most meals) to be fantastic, notably the split pea. The pies are ok but I always tend to find that the pie is far superior when it comes out of the kitchen instead of a display case over the counter. Portions are a touch small but prices tend to reflect the portions.
The servers are welcoming and quick. Even the owner comes around to the tables and gabs with the customers. Despite the physical appearance of the space, comfort level is high here because of the staff.
The food is utilitarian, almost indifferent yet it leaves you happily satisfied. If you leave your expectations at the door you'll love Slocan for what it is which is so very unlike Vancouver, a good thing.