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Category: steakhouse Page 1 of 3

Gotham Steakhouse & Bar, International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day I spent the evening celebrating with one of my favourite women. We choose “Gotham’s steakhouse” as our destination seeing as it is one of her favourite restaurants, specializing in one of her favourite foods.

We found ourselves seated on the second floor for the first time. Moving our way through the darken space, up the scaling staircase, shimmying into a lush booth. It was nice to get so much space and quiet privacy, for us to take our time eating and catching up. Although we still prefer a table by the piano, when the restaurant hosts live musicians.

In celebration of International Women’s Week “Gotham’s” was offering a special cocktail. A $1 from each one sold went to “The Pacific Immigrant Resources Society”. “PIRS” is a charity that helps refugee and immigrant women and children settle in Canada. They offer community engagement opportunities, ESL lessons, and affordable childcare.

The cocktail was aptly named: the “Mother of Dragons”. Hennessy VS Cognac, Cynar, Bittered Sling Malagasy Chocolate Bitters, and housemade Dragon’s Tears tea; all topped with silver leaf for some opulence. It was a strong drink, fiery and warm, with a smokey finish; once again befitting of its moniker.

For the remainder of our dinner we sipped on sparkling, and the restaurant was kind enough to allow us to do so in our own glasses. I had purchased a set as a gift and wanted to use them with my friend. So our sever went out of his way to wash and polish our glasses, and continued to keep them filled with Prosecco for the night. And when our meal concluded, he once again washed and polished each large wine glass for us to take home clean and dry.

As for food, we shared her favourite cut of steak: the “Bone in rib steak”. We opted for the smaller 20oz. cut at $69.25, instead of the 32oz. And good thing because we were left with two large pieces when we both found ourselves too full to finish. We ordered our Canadian prime beef medium rare, opting to have the kitchen help slice the meat properly. This is a service I suggest you take them up on, as they do so to best highlight the quality of the cut. This also makes it easier to share and eat. And boy was this a delicious steak to share and eat. Perfectly prepared with just enough fat at the edges to caramelize the meat.

Each steak on the menu does not come with any sides, you have to pick and choose what you want from their list. And they are all just as good. Each that we ordered went well with our red meat, for a well rounded dinner.

Today’s seasonal vegetable were golden beets sautéed with goat cheese. It gave our meal a refreshing quality, sweet from the firm steamed beets, with a salty tang from the crumbled goat cheese. We opted for a half serving to be able to have a couple more sides, and it was nice of our server to suggest this option.

The “Cauliflower gratin” came highly recommend by him. It was either it or the Mac and cheese as both had the starchy cheesiness I was looking for this night. But at least with the cauliflower it would be more healthy. Hearty with plenty of warm, slightly firm florets, and just as much creamy and melted cheese.

And when it comes to steak, mashed potatoes are a must in my book, especially if they are “Roasted garlic mashed potatoes”. It was all whipped smooth like butter. Deliciously amazing, with so much great garlic flavour

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I would line up, but I never have to, there is always plenty of seating, and if you make a reservation you are guaranteed to get one. You are also guaranteed a good meal with great service, if you can afford it. You definitely pay the premium for quality. Overall a great place to satisfy your steak cravings that you don’t want to deny.

 

GOTHAM’S STEAKHOUSE
615 Seymour St, Vancouver BC, V6B 3K3
604-605-8282
gothamsteakhouse.com

Elisa Steakhouse

There has been much buzz surrounding Vancouver’s newest steakhouse. Located in the old home of Milestone Yaletown, “Elisa” has found itself well welcomed to the neighbourhood.

So when my girl friend was craving steak we decided to check out their offerings. They are a very chic and modern steakhouse, no fuss, just classic lines and a wine wall that travels. When we sat down our server gave us a run down of the menu, while pointing out stations around the restaurant. There is a raw bar where they whip up tartare, and shuck oysters. Their wood fire oven in the back is what gives their meat its char. And they even have a table where prosciutto is carved off the leg of a pig.

However we came in with a game plan, so knew what we wanted. We would start off with their “Elisa seafood tower” prepared with kusshi + irish point oysters, cured hamachi, cured golden eagle coho salmon, tuna tartare, shrimp cocktail, and whole nova scotia lobster. And it wasn’t cheap. At $159 I wanted a greater collection of seafood gathered on this towering monument of marble, cast iron, and ice. It was so heavy that the strongest one in the kitchen had to bring it out with two hands. Impressive to look at with the lobster crowning the tower, but there was a lot more ice showing through. As for practicality: it isn’t. It is hard to pick through when it is 5 feet taller than you, when seated. Great for show, but we were quick to eat through our plates, so that we could shuffle them down to our face level; and move the obstruction from the table that was blocking our view of one another.

Taste wise, everything was good, but nothing that had me pausing on it. Juicy oysters with a wonderful tangy vinaigrette and fresh horseradish.

Cold lobster that I dipped into the leftover butter from the bread below. It gave the sweet lobster meat some needed flavour. And there is plenty of it when you get a half of the crustacean for yourself, and half an exoskeleton to pick through.

The hamachi was tender and seasoned salty. The salmon standard, but the orange brought out some flavour in it. The jumbo shrimp was great, I wanted the four for myself, each heavily dipped in cream. And the tuna mix with avocado had me craving some chips, a base to scoop and round out bites with.

While we nibbled our way through this barrier we sipped on wine and cocktails. I focused on the latter, and have the following to show for it.

The “empress” is a $17 cocktail made with mount gay xo rum, turmeric honey, lemon, aquafaba, and arabica coffee bitters. The flavour reminded us of cola, with a coffee pop.

“Divine rabbits” is a savoury drink. The black pepper and foamy egg white topping had me chewing this cocktail. I didn’t taste the listed strawberry, but really wanted to for the sake of this drink. Mezcal, blanco tequila, campari, strawberry, citrus, egg white, and black pepper.

The “corpse reviver no. blue” was a punchier cocktail thanks to the abinthe rinse that coated the glass, and lucky me I didn’t get much of that flavour that I don’t actually like. Tanqueray london dry gin, blue curacao, carpano bianco, lemon, and absinthe. It was easy to drink and the soaked cherry, a nice note to end on.

The “dothraki for delicious” was as strong of a drink as I think the fiercest tribe in “Game of Thrones” would order. Made with tra kal patagonian spirit, white vermouth, green chartreuse, and chocolate bitters for $17. This is definitely one of those beverages that taste so strong that it makes you see double. This too had a liquorice-y finish. With the briny olive garnish helping to balance out the strong spirit.

I was secretly hoping that the “wax poetic” used the beeswax it listed as an ingredient for garnish as well. No such luck. Tanqueray no. ten gin, white vermouth, beeswax, and grapefruit for $17. This was a clean and sharp beverage, great for sipping on.

And for my last cocktail of the night I ended in something sweet. “don’t call me shirley!” Made with cachaca, dry curacao, lime, grapefruit, and carbonation for $16. It was a fizzy, a pretty drink with flirty bubbles for a great girly girl cocktail.

Now to rewind a bit, our meal actually began with bread. Slices of their Country loaf and sourdough served with a healthy amount of butter. I liked its flavour alright, but found it too hard and crusty. It was also very messy, with coarse crumbs falling everywhere on the white table cloth. These crumbs would later scatter across the table top, and in between courses our server swept them all off the table with a long metal scoop-tool.

After we made our way through the tower, my guest still wanted to eat. So we thought it best if we rounded out the night with a steak from the steakhouse, seeing as it as one of their staples.

We got her favourite cut, bone in, and sliced by the kitchen for our convenience. 20oz of “Blue dot, Prince Edward Island rib-eye”, that is potato and grass fed meat. It doesn’t come with any real sides, a small mix of stewed vegetables and one stalk of broccolini, so we ordered two of our choosing below. As for the steak, it was delicious. Well seasoned and grilled for a nice distribution of char. And fatty by the bone and at the ends. Deliciously worth the $69 price tag, when compared with other steakhouse prices and their quality of meat and preparation. For 10oz more to your steak you can add $26 to your cost.

For sides we ordered the “roasted potato”, but got their “fries – 3 times cooked” instead. Braised, blanched, and fried sticks of potato; served with a thick and creamy mayo and butter-like dip. It was so good that we didn’t bother to correct them, and kept the fries.

We also had a side of “onion rings”, which like the side above and all the other sides was $12 each. As for the onion rings, each was crispy, and fried heavily enough so that I couldn’t make out the thick slab of raw onion hidden at the core. A good thing. They were the best when dipped into the pool of buttermilk Ranch dressing served on the side.

We didn’t have room for dessert, so when it was time to settle up, it was nice that our bill came with a treat. Served with the billfold was a small dish with two pecan sable rounds. They were a nice sweet and cheesy cookie that made the price we had to pay next palatable.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Not a destination for every day dining, but definitely a great option for those looking to celebrate in an opulent setting. With a menu that speaks to luxury, and an impressive spread that will cost you for the quality you get. Fine steak and seafood lovers rejoice, you have a new restaurant to add to your list. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ELISA STEAKHOUSE
1109 Hamilton Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 5P6
604-362-5443
elisasteak.com

Atlas, Dine Out 2019 menu

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.

 

ATLAS
4331 Dominion Street, Burnaby BC, V5G 1C7
604-453-0776
atlassteakandfish.com

The Keg, winter happy hour

Tonight I was at “The Keg” in Granville Island, out of convenience. We were killing some time before our evening show, and the rain wasn’t letting up. Dining here meant that our walk was merely across the street to our eventual destination.

Our visit coincided with their new happy hour menu and seasonal cocktail launch; two things we took advantage of. New to this list was their teriyaki bites and pork dumplings, replacing calamari, nachos, and sliders. This was information I found out from our server, after she noticed me taking notes. We discussed the above a bit, and how I found the previous three food items to be more happy hour friendly, as nice snacks to pair with beer.

We started with one of each of their happy hour plates, and to it added two regular appetizers, as we were eating to replace a meal. As a whole, the happy hour meal felt the same. Similar seasonings and flavours found its way from dish to dish, from steak to cauliflower.

I was originally excited for the $8 teriyaki steak bites. Steak for $8 is a steal, and pre-cut for easy eating is just helpful. Unfortunately, each cube was dry and ashy. A sandy chew from over cooked meat, a fact you can tell just by pricking it with a fork. The excessive seasonings did well to hide some of the above. But overall, it was disappointing. Disappointing that they couldn’t do steak right, especially considering it is and what they should be known for.

The pork and kimchi dumplings were nice enough, not authentic but plenty tasty. A savoury meat filling encasing a nice chewy dough wrapper. The pickled vegetable on the side offered some tangy crunch and interest. But as I mentioned earlier, the saucy flavour was similar here as it was above, and therefore wore thin.

The “crispy fried cauliflower” was a generous serving, but it too felt the same. It came with two sauces, but both were sweet and salty when in reality you wanted a creamy dip like a ranch, tartare, and/or sour cream. The florets cooled fast, and you were left with a mound of vegetable that could do with a more crispy and consistent batter and fry.

As I mentioned earlier, to top off our happy hour plates above, we ordered two seafood based appetizers to follow.

The calamari was disappointing. More crunchy breading than chewy pieces of squid, it was over salted and didn’t taste fresh. In fact I liked the just-as-chunky breaded vegetables that came with it, more. This ate like something you would order at a bar, not what I expect from a higher end, casual chain restaurant, like “The Keg”. The food did not live up to its reputation.

The crab cake was much better, it ended up being the best thing we had that night. The cake was well seasoned and perfectly fried for a crisp even crust. It went well with the creamy burrata and the crisp steamed vegetables on the side. By comparison, this was a clean classic plate with no complaints.

We also drank throughout our meal, then lingered after the food was packed up, with a few more rounds.

The $5 happy hour Caesar and the $6 happy hour white. The Caesar was pretty standard, overly salty and overwhelmingly spicy. The white wine my guest didn’t like. It didn’t matter that it was on special, she preferred to pay full price to switch to mini bottles of prosecco afterwards.

Next, we both ordered the Thursday $5 drink special: their margaritas. I couldn’t even finish this, it was easily the saltiest anything I have ever had. And worst is, this assessment doesn’t even include the drink’s usual salted rim. I made mention of its undrinkable nature to our server, who took note of a 2/3 full glass returned to her and the half glass my guest too gave back. She accepted it blindly, not asking more details on how this was too salty. Here, there was no consideration and no offer to replace it or at least remove the cost of it from our bill. Disappointing from “The Keg”.

Next my guest had her first of two glasses of sparkling wine and I began tasting their new winter cocktails. The “Heart of gold” was recommended to us by our server. It was easy to drink with the sweetness of honey, a good cocktail for when you have a sore throat. Wiser’s Deluxe Rye, honey, lemon, and sage. I also really liked the sent of the fresh picked leaf before you came close to sip.

I didn’t have the room for their popular “billy miner pie” for dessert, so ordered the spiked coffee version of it instead. A shot of bailey’s and one of khalua in hot coffee, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I didn’t enjoy it the same, although this was still tasty; even for a person, like myself, who isn’t too fond of coffee or chocolate.

The “Red moon Manhattan” smelled like cinnamon and orange peel, and drank like a winter sangria with boozy cherries. Mondavi bourbon barrel Cabernet, Lot No. 40 Rye, spices, and bitters.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Sadly I am not a fan of “The Keg “as a whole, there is one location that I like, the only one location where I once enjoyed my food, and would go back to. As for the others, I find the quality doesn’t deliver on their brand, nor the steaks worthy of your money. I would rather order seafood or a burger at this steak house, if I was urged to return. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE KEG
1499 Anderson St Granville Island, Vancouver BC, V6H 3R5
604-685-4735
kegsteakhouse.com
The Keg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Victor, revisit

Tonight we were dining at “The Victor” in celebration on my girl friend’s birthday. I have been once before and knew she would be in for a treat.

For more details on the decor and the setting, and for my first visit to this steakhouse and seafood restaurant at “The Parq”, visit the link below.

The Victor, at Parq

 

My request for the well lit booth was granted. Our group of three shared a comfy green leather lined booth. Our seats faced the wine bar with special refrigerator for keeping bottles chilled, and a carafe counter that centred it. It was a lovely perch to take in the room, an open space that felt like a giant study with dark brown furniture, desk lamps, and stacks of books for decoration.

We began our dinner with a bottle of Prosecco to share. Our attentive server made sure that each of our champagne flutes were never more than half empty. And two of the managers even took the time to introduce themselves and inquire about our comfort. We felt very welcomed and were even invited back on a later date. I would do them one better and come back for brunch the next morning. More on that below.

To start we were treated to the best complimentary order of bread I have ever had. This is Japanese milk bread, topped with onion and guyere cheese, served with whipped butter and fresh salt. The bread was fluffy and light, with the consistency of cake. I could have eaten the loaf as is, it was so fragrant with the zesty onion and salty cheese. And even better with the creamy butter. This was a great tell of the plates we were to shared, to come.

“Yellow tail collar”. Togarashi spiced hamachi with radish salad and lemon and lime zest, served with a small bottle of ponzu dressing for you to flavour as you desired. The fish was well seasoned and well balanced by the citrus and the salty sweet sauce. I only wish we had this first, as compared to everything else it was not as punchy in flavour.

The “Dungeoness crab cake” looked like a stuffed macaron. A mound of fresh crab in cream sandwiched between two crispy fried breaded discs. The side salad of sea bean and fennel was great in adding freshness and the vadouvan-spiced curry aioli was helpful in injecting some kick. The only other thing I wanted was more crunch and a base to eat the crab with, for a heartier morsel.

During my last meal at “The Victor” a fellow food blogger recommended the “Triple cooked fries with truffle and chive aioli”, I didn’t get them then so made sure to do so now. They were the largest fries I ever had. Each spear was very crispy on the outside and moist like a firm mashed potato on the inside. They were tasty enough, but I really couldn’t tell by trying that these were tripled fried. Served with ketchup and a garlic aioli, but best dipped into both.

Seeing the “Onion ring stack” get served to another table, my guest had to order one for us. They had the triple fried crunch and texture I expected from the fries above. Pretzel crusted onion rings with a mustard sauce. They had the crunch of a good fried chicken with its thick and chunky breading. The mustard offered up tang with vinegar. This was one of the most dressed up version of onion rings I have had, and is better cause of it.

Given how much we had above, we decided to share one of their steaks. We went for the “Snake River Farm’s wagyu ribeye”. Our server described it as a a hybrid between the American angus and the Japanese wagyu, and they cut it into strips for our easy sharing. My guest found it under seasoned and I found the ends a little too fatty for my tastes. But at least it was cooked well and the side offered some contrast. Sadly this was the item we were least impressed by.

For dessert we shared their creme burlee doughnuts topped with maple syrup flavoured cotton candy, dusted with edible gold flakes. We requested it made festive for a birthday and it came with sparklers, candles and “happy birthday” written in milk chocolate on a white chocolate plate. I have had these before and they were better than I remembered. Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the actual doughnuts, but you can check them out in my previous post. These doughy balls were filled with luscious cream on the inside and torched with sugar for a shattering crunch on the outside. They were exactly what you’d imagine a creme burlee doughnut hole to be. And the maple syrup cotton candy exactly what you wanted from a solid maple syrup flavour that melted in your mouth. This is definitely a great tasting, one of a kind desert.

After this we were far too full to have anymore. But as I mentioned before, we found our way back next day. Only on Sundays “The Victor” offers brunch and besides having seafood towers and steaks for breakfast, they also offer dim sum and your favourite egg centric dishes.

They also offer table side Moscow mules made before your very eyes, on their travel ready cart.

And a collection of candy and fresh baked goods for you to help yourself to by the entrance. A tree of lollipops, a fishbowl of mini gum balls, caramels, mints, wine gummies, and a tower of cakey treats.

But today I was here for their build your own Caesar bar. A set up that lined their bar in stations. Their bartender walked you through the process upon order.

First you pick your vodka between five bottles chilled on ice. I went for the one I was most familiar with, “Belvedere” and got it as a single for $10. She pours this into a shot glass for you.

Next you choose the rim you wanted between the more common celery salt, a bbq spice rub, coarse salt, chilli pepper, and togarashi. I went with the later as I have never had a Caesar with this common Japanese spice mixture containing red chilli pepper, Japanese pepper, roasted orange peel, black sesame seed, white sesame seed, hemp seed, ground ginger, poppy seed, and dried seaweed flakes.

After rimming your chosen glass with lime and the seasonings of your choice, the bartender fills it with ice. She the hands the glass back to you and the shot of vodka from before, for you to pour the latter into the former.

From here you move on to the drink base. Four different tomato based juices on ice. Tomato juice, Clamato juice, a clamato juice mix, and tomatillo juice in green. I went for the traditional Clamato, wanting it to taste like the type of Caesars I know and love.

After, you season it with Worcester sauce and as much or as little hot sauce as you want. They have over 15 different flavours of tabasco for you to shake into your mix. I went for two drops of chipotle and went on my way.

The last station is where you can be the most creative. Here, they offer 20 different ingredients that you can spear together as the garnish for your Caesar. I went all out with a celery stick, pickled beans and asparagus, sun dried tomato, beet, salami, pickles, mozzarella, olive, cucumber roll, and my new favourite Caesar topping: blue cheese, a must try.

The result, the best Caesar ever, because I made it myself!

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
My original assessment still holds true. “The Victor” is a great destination for a fine meal and a great time with excellent service. And now with brunch, they are giving you so many more fun and unique reasons to visit. I have yet to be disappointed. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE VICTOR
39 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 0P4
778-370-8600
parqvancouver.com/restaurants/the-victor

Two Rivers Specialty Meats

“Two Rivers” is a butcher shop best known for supplying their exceptional meat products to many local lower mainland restaurants. Therefore, I was very excited to be trying their said meat from out of their actual shop, today. Not only do they offer beautiful cuts of beef, chicken, pork, etc; seasoned and bare for sale, but the same space also doubles as a full sit down restaurant. Here you seat your meat, surrounded by meat, with other meat lovers.

They have been up and running for over a year now, and I can’t believe it took me this long to get down to North Vancouver to give them a try. We were invited in to taste their fall/winter dishes made with ethical and sustainable meats. Animal products from local BC and Alberta farms that have been hand chosen to ensure that the framers that tend to this land care about their animals, are working with those who care about food. The result is quality meats from animals raised on spacious parcels of land, without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

I was in awe walking up to their expansive complex. A strong wooden awning marked with their name in bold white. Inside, it was just as nice, enough to have me turning my head serval rotations at a time. Modern and sleek in more white. White tiled walls that also covered the counters of the deli and the kitchen bar in the dining area. Under foot was their logo in brown over a glossy white floor. We would order at the counter before finding any available seating, and marking our territory with coats and bags on stools.

After you pay are given a number to mark your order. It is is clipped to a heavy piece of bone, making this a very practical place setting that speaks to their brand and what they have available.

If the day had been nicer we would have found ourselves on the patio overlooking their industrial street. However, inside you get to take in the butchery surrounding your table as your wait and ate. In fact, with its glass windows and transparent facade you could see their skilled butchers preparing all the meat below. Fine cuts that would soon become our brunch, as well as everything showcased raw for taking home to cook yourself.

They have 5 well-lit showcases of the latter to peruse through. Although like the menu, making your decision will be tough. They had a showcase dedicated to each animal. For beef there was skirt steak, chuck pot roast, dry aged cross rib, tri tip, and even chunks perfect for stew; hit to name a few. For pork you had the chop, ribs, loin, and butt to choose from. There was a Frenched rack of lambs and a lamb belly roast.

There were even various house made sausages utilizing all sorts of meat and combinations. Bratwursts, turkey and sage, apple and pork, and venison and lamb sausages by the link. For those interested in trying them all, they offer a sausage sampler platter if you dine in.

There were also precooked sides like brussel sprouts, pork and beans, and a carrot and beet slaw to round out your take home meal with. And if you want that meal to be quick, bring home the premartinated chicken breasts and skewers in flavours like cordon bleu, chipotle lime, Jamaican jerk, and maui barbecue.

Or make things even easier for yourself by not cooking and just creating your own charcuterie board by picking and choosing what cured meats you want sliced up to go. This too is all made in house. Then all you need is to stop for some fine cheeses and better wine.

I can go on and on about what they offer, like their spice rubs and vacuum sealed packs of bacon, but I digress; back to my meal at hand and what I actually tried.

They have a regular menu and a feature sheet, and together this is one of the few menus I wanted everything on it. Nothing sounded bad, even their daily bone broth side felt like it was worth trying. I thought the sausage platter would be a great solution to parties and potlucks, and was tempted by their sides to share. Beef tartare, crispy bbq pork bites, and Korean style drumsticks.

They even have a section on their menu dedicated to less meaty items including ramen and salads. I was tempted by their “two rivers ramen bowl” with soft poached egg, bean sprouts, noodle, charred garlic chilli oil, spiced nori, green onion, and crispy pork. Although it felt like a waste not to take advantage of the meat they are known for, for my first visit.

I finally made my decision based on meaty classics that I could compare my meal to, and their most popular plates.

We ordered the “Butcher Selected steak” off the feature sheet. This was a 7oz flat iron steak, served with smoked chanterelle mushrooms (as they were in season and procured fresh on this day), fried tallow (a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat), and herbed butter. The steak was cooked beautifully and cutting into it was like a hot knife in butter. The butter added a change of taste, but it was the mushrooms that gave the dish its pop of flavour, with its tangy Cajun-like rub. At $22 it was definitely worth it, you got quality and taste.

The “65 day dry aged beef burger” was recommend to us by the cheery clerk behind the counter. This juicy burger is house ground, round, and aged before it hits the grill and is seared to order. It is prepared with an aged cheddar, charred tomato, zucchini pickles, iceberg lettuce, and a white barbecue sauce; all on a brioche bun. And of course I added on some bacon, and if you get it, you should too. Splurge on spending $2 more for two thick and chewy pieces. I suggest eating the burger quick. Its juices does pool, and the result is a bottom bun soggy and oily to the touch. I found myself finishing it off with fork and knife. Overall, a well balance burger with classic toppings and condiments. No complaints.

They also had a rotisserie we had to exploit, by ordering their free range half chicken with jalapeño aioli and bbq sauce. And we were so happy we did, as this was one of the juiciest chickens my partner has ever had. I don’t like the chicken breast because it is typically dry, but theirs had the white meat as moist as the dark. So tender that it practically fell off in strands when I went to poke my fork into it. I honestly can’t go back to grocery store rotisserie chicken after this, I would sooner drive out to “Two Rivers” if I get the craving. The chicken comes with two different sauces, not that you need it, as the chicken and it’s skin is well seasoned throughout. Although the sauces are worth trying. The creamy white sauce is garlicky with a bit of spice, perfect for any burger. And the sweet barbecue sauce makes for a great dip for any meat.

 

We had to end on their bone marrow and tallow chocolate chip cookie, because where else can you get a sweet and meat cookie? It only looks hard and dry. But the crispy and crumbly texture suits it perfectly. You don’t taste the marrow or tallow, as it is used in place of butter, but you do get a savoury feel from this treat, and the salt on it makes such a difference, highlighting the savoury notes and the sweetness of the chocolate.

As for drinks they offer a small selection of beers, wines, and soda. My partner got a bottle of their “Phillips craft soda made from craft cola, root beer, orange cream, and ginger ale”. It tasted like an orange creamsicle.

Their beer list is all local, so I got a pint of “Bridge brewing’s” bourbon blood orange. Crisp wheat ale, zesty and floral with a clean citrus flavour. A smooth beverage to pair with all our tasty meat forward dishes.

And to snack on in between or with drinks, you can help yourself to a seasoned bucket of popcorn.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Hands down, my new favourite meat focused restaurant in the city. A must visit and a recommend of any carnivore or omnivore. They even have salads, if you need to tow your vegan friend along. Visit, it is worth it and when there, don’t deny your cravings.

 

TWO RIVERS
80 Donaghy Avenue, North Vancouver BC, V7P 2L5
604-990-5288
tworiversmeats.ca

The Victor, at Parq

Looking for a fancy night out within “Parq”, your destination has to be “The Victor”. To reach it, you cross the roof top deck of “The Douglas”. And are treated to the view of the city in the distance. All this as you stroll and watch the lights of BC place dancing, and the twinkling of the tiny bulbs illuminating the roof top garden of Douglas firs and rippling water.

The restaurant is as photogenic as all of this. There are many little features and unique decorative elements that give the space and all its subsections a romantic gothic vibe to it.

The entrance is wallpapered with some of the most unique print. I can best describe as chubby bubble bees against a bloody backdrop of pooling reds and fluid goldens dripping in splotches.

I liked the private room with its linear lined wall, curved horns, and dripping candles. It had a nice modern viking feast motive to it.

On a previous visit I enjoyed some cocktails and dessert at the bar with a couple of friends. We found ourselves lounging on a couple of recliners by the window. Enjoying the view with our sips.

The “Emperor Sour” is their showstopper and the one to order for that perfect instragram shot. The only purple cocktail that comes to mind with Empress 1908 gin, lavender syrup, lemon juice, and creme de violette. It is as easy to drink as it is to look at.

By comparison “Any last words” was extremely potent and incredibly spicy with Sombra mezcal, luxardo maraschino, green chartreuse, lime, and creme de violette.

The “Blood orange limonata” was another smooth drinking cocktail. This was more like juice with Absolute citron, blood orange, lemon bitters, and sparkling water.

We also shared their have-to-have dessert: the “Creme burlee doughnuts”. They came on their very own pedestal crowned with a tuff of candy floss and gold flakes, because as their slogan goes: “to the Victor goes the spoils”. These round balls were perfection. Luscious cream surrounded by chewy dough, coated in thickened syrup for that tell-a-tale creme burlee burnt sugar crack. Great to pop into your mouth and savour as it melts.

But tonight I was here to indulge deeper with a fuller meal. We were led deep into the dining room, walking past their stand alone refrigerated wine cooler, and past the vibrantly upholstered booths and chairs, stopping before the raw fish bar at the very back. This was a working bench with chefs in crispy whites. The foreground of which was a trough of seafood and citrus fruits on ice. Before it was a row of high top stools monogrammed with a metal “V” to christen the restaurant and its name.

We were given a table that utilized a cushy love-seat for chairs. It was situated in front of a dresser topped with cloth wrapped books and a collection of paper weights, dimly illuminated by a desk lamp.

Liking all that I tried previously, I decided to indulge in another one of their rich cocktails in both price and flavour. The “All is fair” is a deep and boozy drink made with Bulliet bourbon, amaro, Montenegro, sweet vermouth, cherry and aromatic bitters.

To start off with we had some “Guyere cheese and caramelized onion brioche”, served with a whipped butter spread. This was one of the most delicious and fragrant loaves I have ever had. It was dense bread topped with crispy onion and baked cheese. The topping was the perfect textural contrast to the fluffy, baked warm bread itself.

I typically am not a fan of uni, but reading its description on the menu, I became intrigued over the application of “Uni toast”. What I got was some of the best uni I have ever had, it reminded me of why I liked sea urchins in the first place. It also had be reflecting on the worst uni I have ever had, which is probably the reason that scared me away from them in the first place. This was fresh uni spread over toasted brioche, seasoned and flavoured with Bottarga, ponzu dressing, and kaffir lime leaves. The crunchy bread was a great textural contrast to the buttery uni, it wasn’t the least fishy. What you got was creamy bites, in the ideal portion to leave you wanting more.

The “Porterhouse” was listed on the menu as 28oz of Striploin and tenderloin. Although after you cut away the bone and took away the fat, it is more like 15 ounces of steak meat that you actually get. On it was a lot of fat, and when we had to doggy bag what was left, the t-bone was not included in the cardboard box and bag.

I did like how the whole steak was prepared and dressed, then placed it in a pan and brought out to the dining room for you to inspect. This is before they bring it back to the kitchen to be carved up for your easy eating. It was a good enough piece and seasoned well enough, but given the $81 tag and the prestige of the restaurant, I guess I was expecting and wanted a little more from my premium cut of beef. Especially as it didn’t come with a side. We had to tack on the mashed potatoes, which were at least a wonderful addition to our set. Whipped creamy with a light and buttery flavour to balance out the spice and gristle of the beef.

The “Mac and cheese waffles” was another side and the winner of the dinner. They were the perfect cheesy and salty side to anything. Each triangle had you like about the pasta dish, but given new life with crunchy edges from a press in the waffle machine. Its square pockets were ideal in helping to hold pools of the creamy dipping sauce that came on the side. I would go back just for this. This application was a great way to add new life to a classic dish with extra cheese and salt.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Certainly not for an every day meal, but with the setting and the cultivated atmosphere, a great place for celebrating at, or when you are wanting that indulgent evening. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE VICTOR
39 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 0P4
778-370-8600
parqvancouver.com/restaurants/the-victor
The Victor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

For the vlog version of this the rest of our 24 hour stay at “The Douglas” and “Parq” visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei for all the fun:

Atlas Steak + Fish

Today I was invited as the plus one to a media dinner at “Atlas”. “Atlas Steak + Fish”, the new restaurant within the “Grand Villa Casino”, in Burnaby. I have been to the casino and visited the restaurant’s location on many occasions, prior. But back then it was branded as “Ebo” with a very different feel and menu.

And thanks to this faithful visit, it is now one of the restaurants I like recommending for a dressy night out in Burnaby. In fact, this post will cover two visits: the aforementioned media event in celebration of its opening; and my 2017 Christmas Eve dinner with my partner.

Before we get into it: when it comes to a media tasting, plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The entrance of the restaurant is within the casino. You enter through the main doors, then climb the staircase up. A turn to your left leads you to the casino floor; one to the right, your destination marked with an electronic billboard across from the hostess’ podium.

Being able to recall the restaurant that it once was, I immediately felt the space rejuvenated. New orange, blue, green, and grey carpet underfoot. New cream coloured couches and blue upholstered seats. And a couple of ceiling to floor wine walls with bottles balancing on pegs. Things were also a whole lot brighter with hanging bulbs in glass, focused spot lights, and copper piping that resembles the string of constellations in their logo. Other features including live music playing from a piano at the entrance; and the kitchen being open wide, with a full view of its operations from the dining room.

Their electronic and interactive menu lets you scroll through all their food and drink menus. Although, for those who prefer it analog, they offer the traditional fold out cardboard and paper as well. Though the latter doesn’t help you pair food with recommended drinks.

 

Like the “Agua de Valencia”, a cool and refreshing cocktail prepared with a dry English gin, fine orange liqueur, and a touch of orange. I reminded us of a salted mimosa. It was made for sipping.

I preferred the “Anejo old fashioned” more, enough to have another during this dinner and then come back for an additional glass on a later date. It was the sweetest and smoothest tequila based drink I have ever had. It featured a whisky charred tequila with dark aromatics, a touch of sweet agave, and is then finished off with flamed warm orange zest. I also appreciated the ice ball each glass came with, and your ability to swivel it menacingly.

The “Imperial pear” is great for those who like a lighter, fruitier beverage. Pear, sake, vodka, and a little fizz from soda water.

Their complimentary serving of bread to start is now one of my favourites. Fluffy buns served in the same cast iron pan it was baked in. And only a dedicate spread to pair with such a tasty roll will do. So they are presented with a blue cheese infused butter. It was salty with a strong cheesy flavour, and right up my alley.

For appetizers we shared the “Prawn cocktail”. And to our delight, the plump poached jumbo prawns were served hanging off a glass smoking from the use of liquid nitrogen. They were juicy and delicious, dipped in the gin infused cocktail sauce.

The “Salt spring island mussels and Manila clams” were prepared in a soupy sauce of fennel and smoked tomato. It was sweet and tangy with sausage slices added in for zing.

Their “Seasonal oysters” are a rotating selection, fresh and served on ice.

The “Steak tartar” is hand minced tenderloin with miso mustard, pickled daikon, a quail’s egg, and gnocco fritto. I liked the tartar alright, but could have done with a different type of base, instead of the hard fried bread puffs. I didn’t like the oil I tasted on them and how they contrasted with the clean finish of the tartar.

There are a few dishes prepared for you table side. An extra show with your meal, and a nod to the traditions that once existed. Once such was the “Caesar salad” at $13 per person. Everything is made from scratch, with the dressing hand whipped and the salad toss into it once mixed. Heart of romaine, parmegiano-reggiano, and the scratch made traditional Caesar dressing. If you don’t like the calories of a Caesar salad, they also have a “baby kale and spinach salad” for the same cost per person, served with a warm bacon and mustard vinaigrette with shiitake mushroom.

Their steak feature definitely has to be the “Double R Ranch tomahawk steak” served on bone. It will run you $120 with more than enough steak for two. The price also includes sides to go with it. The steak comes from family owned, “Double R Ranch”. Since 1968, “Snake River Farms” and “Double R Ranch” have been sourcing cattle from Nicola Valley in British Columbia. They hand-sort the best product so that “Atlas” can turn around and provide their guests with exceptional ranch-to-table beef. Trying this 48oz slab made me a believer. It was juicy with marbled fat. Great with the potatoes it comes with, but better with the add-on of truffled French fries.

The “Beef tenderloin” is available in a 6, 9, or 12oz portion. Our group of four planned on sharing so went big with the 12oz. We then took it to another level by requesting or steak with the “Oscar topping”. This is the addition of Dungeness crab, grilled asparagus, and a béarnaise sauce for an extra level of decadence. It added a creaminess and gave the stab of meat a new texture and taste to prolong our enjoyment of it.

The “Chilli rubbed cowboy steak” came in a 16oz. Its spicy rub draws out the juiciness of the USDA prime cut. And apparently it is all grilled in a special oven to gain the specific and desired char.

The “Tomahawk pork chop” also comes from “Snake River Farms”. A kurobuta pork chop, smoked pork belly, and an apple relish; served with a side of warm potato salad. It is a juicy piece of pork with an enjoyable sweetness, thanks to the apple and the caramelizing of the belly fat. The meat had a marbling similar wagyu and as a result was some of the juiciest I have ever had. I typically stay away from ordering pork for the fear of it being dry, this wasn’t a problem with this medium aged pork chop from Montreal.

The “Brome lake duck breast” is prepared with five spice, and served with pan roasted sweet potato, and an apple slaw. The sides too gave this a nice sweetness. I have no complaints for such a juicy and rich piece of meat.

With it all we ordered some seafood sides, to make our meal a little more “surf and turf”. Each “accompaniment” came out on their own, separate cast iron pans.

The “Grilled Atlantic lobster tail” included a dish of butter melted in a special apparatus, kept warm and melted by a flickering tea light. The tail was juicy, made richer by a good dunk in liquid butter.

The “Garlic jumbo prawns” were no different from the chilled appetizer version in quality and girth. Just seasoned with a nice garlicky flavour instead.

The “Pan seared sea scallops” were huge. Juicy rounds with nice crispy edges.

And the “Alaskan king crab legs” were easy to pry flesh from shell.

I liked the texture of the crispy “Tempura softshell crab”. Although it was a little too salty for my taste.

Their feature dessert, and the one to order is the “Baked Alaska”, which is flambéd for you table-side. This is a ball of raspberry coconut ice cream, lemon sorbet, orange vanilla cake, and Italian meringue. It is lightly spritz over with alcohol, which is then lit on fire. The blue flame that engulfs it after is quite the showcase. It doesn’t last, but gives the meringue a nice char. As for flavour, I found it a little too sweet and too tangy from the tart raspberry sorbet. A great dessert to try, but the next is one I would come back for.

The “Apple galette” was served baked warm, topped with a bourbon maple caramel sauce and candied pecans. This delicious flakey crust and sticky syrup combination is a winner. But it was the savoury rosemary ice cream that tied it all together and made it memorable for me.

I also found the “Vietnamese coffee parfait” too sweet and a bit too rich to finish on my own. I liked its concept and the assembly of espresso chocolate mousse, dark chocolate brownie, coffee jelly, condensed milk ice cream, coconut biscotti, cocoa nibs, and Bailey Irish cream together. There were a few spoonfuls where there was an overwhelming flavour of spice. But it was helped along by the biscotti-like short bread, to balance flavours out.

The “Salted caramel creme brûlée” was so good that I recommended it to my partner the next time I returned to “Atlas” with him. This was his first try of the classic cream dessert, but knowing his love of salted caramel, this was a guarantee win. It is baked sous-vide and served with a chocolate dipped biscotti, for those who like a little crunch with their pudding-like desserts. He enjoyed it as much as I did my first time.

As I mentioned, I liked the place enough to recommend it to my partner, when we were looking for last minute, Christmas Eve dinner locations. During this latest visit I was able to reaffirm my original assessment as a regular diner, as well as taste their limited time only “Festive season feature menu”.

The feature entree was the “Turkey duo”, a fun interpretation of a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Josper smoked breast and sous-vide thigh roll with a brioche chorizo and apricot stuffing, jus gras, and cranberries. The portion was generous though I wished for a 1:1 ratio of meat round to stuffing disc. Instead you had three slices of turkey meat and two pucks of packed stuffing. The turkey roll was juicy and very flavourful, the stuffing cakey with a sweet and fluffy texture. The cranberry a nice pop of acid, lending its sweetness to round out the plate.

Keeping with the fowl theme, my partner had the “Josper smoked chicken breast”. Free run chicken breast, shiitake peppercorn sauce, and roasted potatoes. He was leaning towards one of the steaks originally, but eventually made his decision based on the sides that this juicy white meat chicken would come with. The rub on it tasted like bacon, giving it a nice crispy skin. Though I found the chicken to be on the drier side. I liked my turkey a lot more. Although my partner declared his chicken the better of the two.

For dessert I throughly enjoyed the “Buche de noel”, though sadly I will not get another taste of it, due to its seasonal availability. It felt like you were eating Christmas on a plate. It didn’t looking like a lot, but this was just the right amount of food to leave you satisfied, yet wanting more. Gingerbread cake, marscarpone cream, dark chocolate, and candy cane ice cream. Juicy and tart toasted goose berry, crispy toffee to bite into, a spongy roll to melt on your tongue, and the perfect creamy and minty ice cream to cleanse your palette with, in between bites.

During this visit, our entrees were taking longer than expected to arrive. So one of our two dedicated servers came by to offer us a side salad to tide us over. I rejected his offer, as we both don’t like salads, and despite being able to enjoy the show, the food would have gone to waste. So during his second time around he offered and we accepted some wine that they would buy us. I had a 9oz glass of white and my partner some in the sparkling variety. This was a generous offer and a show of their level of service and standards. That and the fact that we had two servers attend to us and the manager and hostess clearing our empty plates and checking in on our meal throughout our stay. That and being situated right next to the piano with their pianist playing winter carols, made us feel quite like VIPs.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great place for a night out in Burnaby. And with the casino adjacent, you have your next date night destination all under one roof. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ATLAS
4331 Dominion Street, Burnaby BC, V5G 1C7
604-453-0776
atlassteakandfish.com
Atlas Steak + Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Keg, Taste of Yaletown menu 2017

Myself and a handful of media/influencers were invited to “The Keg” in Yaletown to try their “Taste of Yaletown” menu. This is a $45 per person menu available from October 11 to the 27th. It offers diners an appetizer, entree, and dessert at a set price. You can immediately see the value in this offer. Their steaks average to about $25 to $35, and for $10 more, you can get two more dishes for a complete meal. And their choices aren’t cheap substitutes, but actual items available for order from their regular menu, at the same size and quality you would pay full price for.

Before we get any further, as always, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

“The Keg” is a staple when it comes to steak. The chain you think of for an affordable meal that is a cut above. The location in Yaletown has two floors to serve their customers. With plenty of space for larger parties, such as ourselves. We were given a booth on the top floor, combining several four tops to make our one. Then after a couple glasses of wine, we jumped right in to the “Taste or Yaletown” menu.

The first course had you choosing between salad, soup, or shrimp.

The “Keg Caesar” is a staple with romaine lettuce, aged Parmesan cheese, and plenty of the the Keg’s creamy dressing to thoroughly coat every crisp leaf. However I am a bang for your buck kind of girl, so prefer something heartier.

The “Wild Mushroom Soup” is popular lunch time special that has found its place on this limited edition menu. The serving was tangy, whereas I was left wanting more cream from a mushroom soup. There was lots of chunky onion and mushroom slices for texture, making it a meaty appetizer.

My first course vote goes to their “Baked Garlic Shrimp” an obviously popular dish bringing together juicy shrimp, zesty garlic, and fragrant herbs; making it the perfect dip for the sweet buttered bun that came with it as a side.

The second course was steak-heavy, living up to the “Keg’s” reputation. Three different cuts and a fish for those looking for something leaner.

I liked the thicker cut of the “Sirloin Oscar” the most. This was a juicy 8oz steak topped decadently with with shrimp, scallops, and asparagus, in a creamy béarnaise sauce. There was just so much to offer on this plate, including a whipped creamy baked potato to keep you interested from first bite to last.

The “Prime Rib” was noted as their “flagship product” prepared in limited quantities nightly. Ideal for those who like their steak fattier and in larger quantities at 14oz. It is prepared in a lovely red wine jus with tangy horseradish and flavourful garlic mashed potato for a balanced bite.

The “Peppercorn New York” is a classic with plenty of spice, a very specific flavour for those who like peppery bites. This 12oz crusted striploin came with steamed seasonal vegetables and a little jug of whiskey sauce for the whole baked potato to swim in.

And as I mentioned earlier, if you didn’t want a steak, despite this being the restaurant you go to for a reasonable priced cut of meat, they have chicken and our server’s favourite a “Pistachio crusted salmon”. Like the steaks before, this came with plenty of side for a complete serving. Garlic mashed potatoes, bacon sautéed Brussels sprouts, and maple butter. The fish was light and flakey, and given new life with the crunchy nut crust. An interesting and tasty twist.

For dessert they offered up the classic thick and creamy New York style cheesecake, topped with a bing cherry fruit and syrup.

My favourite was the “Billy Miner Pie”, another classic “Keg” favourite. Mocha ice cream on a chocolate cookie crust, drizzled over with hot fudge, caramel and almonds. It had everything I liked: not overly sweet ice cream, a crumbly cookie crust, and nuts for crunch.

If you don’t like sweets, you don’t need to miss out on a full three courses, they have a “Spanish Coffee” that you can choose instead. Warm coffee coffee spiked with brandy, sweetened with dark cacao, and made creamier with whipped cream.

Overall a great menu with plenty of value and the one I’d recommend taking advantage of, if you only get to pick one.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Consistently a standout place for steak. You walk in and know what to expect and they deliver.
Don’t deny your cravings.

THE KEG
1011 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 5P9
604-633-2534
kegsteakhouse.com/locations/yaletown-keg
The Keg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Keg Burnaby

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Tonight was our anniversary, and having exhausted all the other steakhouses in the lower mainland, we thought to keep it close to home with “The Keg” Burnaby. Not the most lively place for celebrating, when compared to the other Keg’s located downtown Vancouver, but still a great place for some solid food in Burnaby, or so I thought.

There was a wait for a table in the dining room, but a sit as you please policy for anything in the lounge area. And luckily we were able to scoop the best seat in my opinion. A step up, scalloped booth with a raised overview of the room before us.

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When it came time to order, I was lured in by their Sunday sangria special, however, their $5 price for either red or white was only available during one their happy hour times. And we were here an hour before the evening specials began. Seeing my disappointment, our server said I could still get it, but at $2 more regularly priced, I might as well get a more dressier cocktail for 50 cents more, at $7.50. I would later regret this decision.

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My partner when for the “strawberry fizz” that was like a spiked strawberry soda. Made with absolut vodka, aperol, fresh lemon and lime juices, with muddied strawberries and soda. We didn’t see or taste the muddied fruit until we were at the last few sips. It was only visible once the fog in the drink dissipated. Pretty one dimensional.

I went for the “drunken cherry”, which looked a lot like the strawberry one above, except without the nice lemon peel accent. There were two neon red maraschino cherries hiding in the murky waters of the bottom. And instead of vodka it is made featuring Casamigos Blanco tequila, triple sec, house made drunken Bing cherry juice, agave syrup and fresh lemon and lime juice. The drink ended up to being too sweet for me, so I asked for it to be watered down, with out ruining it. Soda water was what I suggested. It came back diluted, but not any sweeter. Thankfully I didn’t gamble on making it “keg size” at 11oz. I also fully regretted not sticking to regular wine, or even the full priced sangria. But after the second try at this drink, our server was kind enough to offer a trade in of this cocktail for something more my speed.

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I choose their Caesar garnished with celery, pickled beans, and a lime wedge with spiced rim. And this I did make a “Keg size” double. Like the other drinks, it wasn’t anything special, but at least the tomato and pepper were more pleasant than juice and soda.

And it is here, after tasting three of their cocktails I can safely say, I don’t think think I would dare order another from them. All together I found their cocktails boring, but at $7-7.50, half the price of the craft ones I do like, I guess I can’t expect that much. They were overy sugary and flavoured too heavily. There was no depth, or uniqueness to any of them. In fact they didn’t even measure up to the photo in the menu or its listing. No more “Keg” cocktails for me.

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Given a option for complimentary bread, we took it. It was a warm square cut diagonally into fours, and served with a dish of creamy butter and a cheesy herb spread. As great as it was fresh, as a starter, there was an expiry time on it. It barely made it to dinner, to accompany our entrees with. The centre of the bread was still spongy, but the crust required heavy chewing from quick over drying.

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My partner had the chicken and ribs. Described as “supreme” chicken breast paired with half rack of BBQ pork back ribs. Served with cabbage slaw and Keg fries. The chicken looked a little sad, but at least it tasted much better than it looked. Juicy white meat under crispy skin. The ribs were a little dry and the ends over crispy, but the gravy on the side helped with this. Overall I didn’t find it all that exciting. My partner compared the side of sauce to the bottles he get at grocery stores. He is particular, so I tend to believe him. I, myself, can’t tell the difference any which way. And lastly we felt like the coleslaw was just for show. It wasn’t easy to eat nor did it taste any good, raw vegetable barely creamy.

I was tempted by today’s verbally mentioned, T-bone special for $40. But given that it is traditionally a more fattier cut, we went for the classic “Filet mignon” instead. Tenderloin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and served with a bearnaise sauce. Described by the menu as being “the ultimate in tenderness”, with a choice of 7 or 10oz, we went bigger. And when we got a choice of one of the listed accompaniments, we requested the twice baked potato as it came with bacon and the regular baked potato didn’t. Plus, my partner doesn’t like how they prepare their garlic mashed potatoes with the skin mashed in.

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The steak was alright. I found the meat chalkier at the ends, but it at least had a nice pink centre to it. There was also very little bacon adding to the taste, but the sauce on the side was more than helpful. It was the highlight of the dish, and a great accent to the steak, potatoes, and vegetables. I wished the grilled green bean and red peppers were better oiled and salted on their own.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I remembered my last visit to “The Keg” being better. It wasn’t bad today, it just didn’t live up to my memory of it. Especially when you compare flavour and taste to the $30 and $40 price tag for our entrees. At least the service made up for it. Sadly, between the drinks and the cost for value, I don’t think I will be back it any time soon. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE KEG
4510 Still Creek Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5C0B5
604-294-4626
kegsteakhouse.com
The Keg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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