Today I was invited down to Burnaby’s hottest spot, located within the “Grand Villa” casino. Where, at “Atlas” I got a sneak peak of their steak and seafood $45 Dine Out Vancouver menu, 2 days before the actual festival started.
This was a menu that not only had value, but gave you a show with table side preparation possibilities. It also highlighted dishes that featured their very unique and highly specialized oven. This is their Josper oven, it is just 1 of 4 all across Canada. It Is designed to give you a BBQ grill from an oven, which has a door to keep the meat juicy while maintaining a nice sear. You can cook anything quick and easy in this. It goes as high as 1,000 degrees, and only uses mesquite charcoal, giving everything an even cook and a perfect char. We made sure to order the dishes that utilized this equipment, to fully enjoy the restaurant we were now in.
In my opinion, this is one of the better Dine Out menus out there, with one of the best value. All your Dine Out menu options are also available on their regular menu with no deviation from what we were having today, and what you could have normally. And with 3 options to choose from, across 3 courses, it is a menu that can please even the pickiest of diners. To further demonstrate this value, I will be including each dish’s regular listed price and adding up what my guest and I got, to see how much we saved “Dining Out”.
They even start you off with complimentary bread, baked fresh and fluffy in a skillet and served with a Stilton blue cheese butter. The bread was amazing, I could have enjoyed a serving all to my self. And the spread was not overwhelming like you may think. It was a fine balance and a great way to make their buns memorable.
Next, we got our mouths warmed up with an amuse bouche that was part of our 3 courses for $45 special. And when you include the bread that is 5 courses for $45! “Prosciutto with a melon ball and lemon drip”. This was a fresh start with tangy lemon. The citrus helped to better highlight the sweetness of the fruit and the saltiness of the meat, by comparison. I would have liked each course to be punctuated by one of these to help clean the palate.
For appetizers your choice was between soup, salad, or a plate of meat. We passed on the Caesar salad, although if you order it and ask nice, they might make it table side for you, like they normally do. Scratch-made starting with the vinaigrette from base ingredients and whipping it all together by hand. All before it is tossed in with fresh washed and dried greens and housemade croutons. If you like the salad and enjoy a great presentation you are in for a treat with this. Off the a la carte menu this service will cost you $14.
My guest got the “Smoked tomato bisque”, after learning that this would be prepared within the aforementioned special oven. It is regularly $9 and served with creme fraiche, green onions, and a Parmesan crisp. This isn’t your regular tart and tangy tomato soup, the use of the josper oven gives the serving a smokiness that engulfs it. It was deep, and almost meaty (without actual meat). The soup itself was warm and cozy, the type of bowl you want to curl up on the couch with. I just wished that I saved some of the bread above to dip into it with. Though the cheese crisp was great at adding texture and some crunch, when I needed a break from the one tone soup.
I had the “Beef carpaccio”, which isn’t actually on their normal menu, the only way you can enjoy it, is during the 2 weeks of Dine Out. Other restaurants offering a similar dish would charge $15-22, so I will estimate the cost of this as $17. It is thin slices of meat that melt in your mouth, topped with charcoal brioche, arugula, pickled shimeji, mushroom, and Parmesan for additional textural and flavour interest. The char chips stood out the most to me, it gave the dish its full body-ness, and offered a unique twist, once again making use of their oven and making this version exclusive to “Atlas”.
For entrees your choices are between what kind of steak you want, as they are a steakhouse by title. You can have your steak as beef, salmon, or celeriac for the vegetarians.
I got the steak, and took our server’s recommendation of upgrading the 7oz West Coast cut of certified angus beef striploin steak, to the 14oz angus beef from Alberta for $12 more, and it was worth it. Normally a 10oz striploin is $37, so having 3oz less would make it $25.90. And if you upgrade to the 14oz for $12 more we would normally pay $37.90 for the steak above. Although the regular menu lists the 14oz Alberta angus at $46 regularly, which is already more than the 5 courses you get for $45 with the Dine Out menu. So even when you choose to upgrade you are saving in the long run.
As for the quality of meat, it was outstanding. The taste of the grill was as apparent as the bold char marks, and cooked perfectly pink to the medium rare that I had requested. I liked the fatty bits at the tip of the steak, and only wish for a nice gravy to dip them into.
The steak came with the same sides as the other two dishes below: a warm potato salad that are more like chunks of seasoned creamy nugget potato halves, and a chimichurri sauce. “Chimichurri” is an uncooked sauce used for grilled meat. It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar. As it was a lighter dressing, I found it a great pairing for the similarly lighter fish below. But for the steak I wanted something richer and bolder to pair with its natural flavouring.
My guest got the “Josper grilled salmon steak” with more warm potato salad, and chimichurri sauce. Typically this is $28. I am not normally a fan of flakey fish, but this salmon really stood out. It really spoke to the quality of the ingredients used and the caliber of the kitchen. I just wish it had more flavour or pop on its own, and didn’t need to rely on the smear of green sauce. The same level of flavour in the crispy fish skin, for the entire fish would have been nice. Maybe even a handful of crisp fried onion threads to add some crunch and seasoning to this dish.
The surprising fan favourite of the evening was the vegetarian grilled celeriac “steak”. I didn’t order it, but was able to grab a bite from a friend. Celeriac is a root vegetable with a texture similar to potato, yet is crispy and juicy like celery. This version was well seasoned and hearty with the bold flavour of its ancho-coffee rub, and pomegranate and red wine jus shining through. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of this, but trust me, it is as photogenic as all their other dishes.
Dessert was a hard choice, everything was delicious and each $10. So it is basically about ordering for preference. For example the “Vietnamese coffee parfait” was a great option for those who love chocolaty rich desserts, or for those who normally end their meal with coffee. My guest ordered this one. Espresso chocolate mousse, dark chocolate brownie, coffee jelly, condensed milk ice cream, coconut biscotti, cocoa nibs, and bailey’s Irish cream. There was so much to unpack in this. Plenty of bits to chew through, and even more flavour combinations to keep your mouth interested and going back for another dynamic scoop. There was no hiding the espresso essence in this. Strong, but well balanced by the refreshing condense milk ice cream. They need to offer the latter to-go, in pints to take home.
I am glad that I took our server’s strong recommendation of the “Vanilla cheesecake” with Dolce de leche filling, brown sugar shortbread crust, and raspberry gel and candied orange zest topping. This isn’t your stiff and dry New York style cheesecake. But a fluffy round that melts like cream. A great option for those like me, who want to end dinner on a more lighter note. The caramel centre was perfect, it wasn’t so sweet that you couldn’t clearly make out the cheesiness of the cake. The buttery short bread cookie crust was a complimentary base and the raspberry dots a great way to change up the flavour from bite to bite.
The dish we missed out on was the “Baked Alaska”. I think “Atlas” might be the first to do this flambéd” table side. This dessert is completed by your table with the spritzing of alcohol from an atomizer, and the sparking of a blue flame, as the dish is torched for a nice brown and black charred finish. The addition of a show and the sheer size of the dish puts this marshmallow cake at $17. Raspberry coconut ice cream, lemon sorbet, orange vanilla cake, and Italian meringue. We didn’t order this but got to try some from others who did. They were more than happy to share their dessert that was too much for one! It is double the size and the serving of the other two desserts above. As for its taste, it was a fresh lemon cake topped with tangy sorbet. The citrus and tartness balanced out the heavy exterior of this flavour shaped dome. If you have never gotten this before, this showstopper is definitely the one to try.
In short, “Atlas” has best Dine Out menu in Burnaby and definitely one of the more enticing menus overall. The value is apparent when you do the math and realize you are getting much more than the $45 asking price. What should have been a $118 meal for two, we got for the Dine Out pride of $90. And that is not including the complimentary bread and small bite to start! So be sure you make your reservations today and not miss out this great deal and delicious meal.
4331 Dominion Street, Burnaby BC, V5G 1C7