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Category: Burnaby Page 1 of 14

Green Leaf Café

I enjoyed my visit to the Broadway location so much, that when looking for a place for dinner in Burnaby, I was more than happy to visit their original location. It is a larger space with a larger menu. Although, with so much on their menu worth exploring, I had to take in their restaurant twice, before writing this review.

The Burnaby location is definitely the largest property of the two. A restaurant that greets you with its bar, well lit in the form of their logo. Available seating spills over on either ends. I can best describe the whole as a cabin, with wood planked walls, wooden floor boards, and worn wood tables and chairs that match. Wooden clocks hang on the wall, wooden ornaments hang from light fixtures, and wood crates are repurposed as shelves. The latter of which is used to showcase a collection of rustic antiques, glass bottles, and faux plants as decor. They even serve you the bill in a wooden water bucket.

The menu is pretty straightforward. A list of omelette rices, fritters, meat on grills, “big fresh greens”, “rice house”, stuff from their raw bar, fresh oshi, aburi oshi, pasta + udon, “gimbal” (Korean style rolls), and “social sharing” platters. Self explanatory, but I still could have used a lot more photos, if any. Considering they are a fusion restaurant, it would make the ordering process easier. You also might order more, when being able to see what you will be getting before hand.

They are well known for their omelette rice, and not coincidentally I tried all they had to offer under this category. The “Tornado omelette rice” is available in a sweet and savoury demiglace or in a creamy jalapeño sauce. We got the former, taking in to consideration our server’s recommendation. It is a marvel how they are able to whip eggs this smooth, then churn it like spun fabric. The result, a unique texture that is both chewy and airy. Comforting with the familiar gravy and tender rice.

Similar in taste, but with a varying texture in it eggs is the “House omelette rice”. This too is served in a sweet and savoury demiglace, but with fried garlic flakes, tomato, and chilli. The flavour is similar to a sweet pasta sauce with the inclusion of stewed tomatoes embedded into the rice. Overall good, but I would have liked all it with a sweet Japanese curry sauce instead. Here, the eggs are beaten in to sponge-like consistency, it ate like tofu in the way it melted. But the highlight of the dish, was the crispy garlic chips that added a crunch and some depth of flavour.

The “Soufflé mushroom risotto”, applied a different technique to preparing its eggs. Foamy and light, it was well described as a “Cloud egg omelette”. With jalapeño, it sits over a creamy mushroom risotto. The cloud separated like meringue. It created a nice break, something light and refreshing to balance out the richness of the earthy mushrooms. Together, this made for another comforting dish to curl up with.

In a completely different direction, we had the punchy “Spicy crunch prawn”, under the “tempura” section of the menu. Five pieces of battered and deep fried tiger prawns, coated heavily in a spicy mayo and tangy brown sauce. It all sits on a bed of greens that functions like a mixed green salad. It tasted like the filling of a sushi roll that I have had before, and I wanted it like that again, with its slower burn. With all this flavour, it needed a base to even things out. It needed rice.

“Green Leaf” is also known for their “oshi”, Osaka style pressed sushi. The obvious choice is their flame-kissed aburi oshi in salmon. And although I am sure I would have enjoyed it, I had to order the most interesting of my options, which was the “Basil ebi tiger prawn oshi”. Tiger prawn, basil pesto oshi sauce, black olive, and Parmesan cheese. Not surprising, it tasted like a pasta dish, minus the black olive slice that over powered, and felt out of place. The whole bite left me wanting wanting garlic bread and a red wine, thanks to the pesto and parm combo. Overall, fun for novelty, but not one I would order again. It is probably best along side other oshi, and used as a break in between bites.

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? – Yes.
Good food, familiar and comforting flavours, and a menu with plenty more worth exploring. Where else can you get eggs like this? Don’t deny your cravings.

GREEN LEAF
9604 Cameron St, Burnaby, BC V3J 1M2
(604) 444-9802
greenleafcafebc.ca

OneZo Tapioca 丸作

After dinner we were looking for something sweet to end the night on. My guest has been meaning to visit this bubble tea shop in Burnaby for a while now. And she hasn’t until now, given the long lines and its original opening popularity.

We arrived just in time to beat the rush. With limited seating, you are lucky to be able to grab one of their two tables, or row of bar seats facing the wall.

This bubble tea cafe is better known for their house-made pearls. They don’t deal in the regular black tapioca balls, but smaller pearls flavoured in a variety of popular Asian ingredients and seasonal flavours.

You place your order at the counter, and like most other bubble tea cafes, you can choose your sweetness and amount of ice by percentage. They had all the familiar milk teas and slushes; as well as the new trendy dirty brown sugar tea series, fruit blended green teas, real taro smoothies, and even a collection of “healthy teas” which included honey and sesame teas.

Next, you pick your pearls. The “crystal” tapioca is white in colour with no distinguishing flavour. Purple tapioca is taro, black is black sesame, and yellow is mango. Only the black sesame tasted like it promised. I barely got any mango, and had even less from the taro. They also have a rotating seasonal flavour, on this visit it was “cactus”. I would have liked to try such a unique offering, but they only have their seasonal pearls available during the weekends. Instead I got their “Onezo tapioca”, three of the above flavours mixed together. Seeing as it is all pre-mixed, you can’t choose which three you get. They also don’t offer you samples of their pearls, so you take a chance on not getting what you want, or a flavoured pearl that might not compliment your drink. As for the pearl itself, I found them small, and the chew less desirable as a result, but still very fresh. However, the mix of pearl flavours I wanted to try, ended up taking away from my drink.

I had the “Jasmine green tea milk tea”, which is one of their most popular drinks. I ordered it as intended with 80% sugar and 100% ice. I liked how I was able to enjoy it as a smaller cup, which gave me a better ratio of pearl to sip-of-drink.

My guest, the bubble tea fan, went for the “oolong milk tea” with 50% sugar, 25% ice, and the crystal tapioca. She found that the white ones tasted like sesame.

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.
Another bubble tea option in Burnaby, giving you a differing reason to visit them, instead of their competitors. Don’t deny your cravings.

ONEZO
4929 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2E5
(604) 423-4929
onezotapioca.com

Xing Fu Tang, Burnaby

This one has been a long time coming. I have tried to visit this Taiwanese import for a while now, but kept encountering lengthy lines at its original location. So with its second in Burnaby, in a less frequented area, with plenty of parking to boot; a visit is much more feasible.

Its all windowed exterior and bright interior lights make it a beacon in the night. Easy to spot driving by, where everything else is shuttered for the evening. There menu is televised above the counter and taped up on a pillar by the door. It is easy to read and make your choice by sight. 11 specialty drinks and your typical teas with the possibility to add in pearls.

My guest is already a frequent customer so knew what she was getting, the same thing she gets every time. Their trademark specialty drink, the one that they are most famous, and the one the menu highlighted with a larger photo of.

“Brown sugar pearl milk”. An additional level of decadence is added to your typical pearl milk tea. The tapioca pearls are mixed in with melted brown sugar. The latter has a sticky toffee-like consistency, adhering to the pearl and the cup; making it look “dirty” (another nick name used to describe this class of drink). This combining of pearl and brown sugar is done throughout the day, when they sell through of one batch. If you visit at the right time, you will be treated to the show of them making it, and the scent of a room sweetened by cooking sugars. A specialty wok is placed at the counter, set behind glass for a hygienic view point. Here is where the magic happens, and the pearls stay until they are scooped in to cups using a specialty curled metal spatula.

As for the drink itself: It is a scoop of these brown sugar extra sweeten pearls, milk, cocoa power, and a vanilla cream foam topping that is torched. You can smell its burnt caramel flavour just by holding it. But surprisingly it is not as sweet as you think it would be. Drinking it without stirring, it tastes like slightly chocolatey milk. But after a good mix, folding the foam into the milk and having its torched heat warm up the serving, it is pretty darn tasty. A sweetness that is great the first few sips, but wears on you after a few more. No complaints from my guest who admitted that this was her second one in as many days.

I preferred the “bunny jelly mango smoothie”, this was also recommend by the laminated colour menu. A larger photo to have the allure of a rabbit on your drink lure you in. It was impressive that they were able to make the drink thick enough to have the coconut jelly moulded bunny sit a top of the drink without sinking. This too was sweet, but better with the tartness of their mango and the blended ice that helped to thicken it. In this drink you don’t get the regular black pearls, these were called “pink pearls”. They were squishier and popped more than the regular pearls, but not as juicy as juice pearls. A nice in between with less chewing, and equal parts sweet and tart. But the rabbit was my favourite part, a dessert on its own. Tasty coconut jelly you can either try to break down and have with your drink, or coconut jelly you can fish out of your cup and eat as is. Two desserts in one.

Worth noting is that their cups feel smaller than the ones at other bubble tea places, but at the same time I don’t think you need anymore. They were filled to the brim, and then some with the spill proof lid in place.

And while you are waiting for your drink to be made to other, you can also get your fortune told. A Taiwanese tradition that has you picking a red tipped wooden stick out of a collection of 100. Each one is numbered. The number corresponds to a number on a little drawer, from the fixture adjacent. You open the drawer to retrieve your paper fortune. A sheet that you can take with you as a souvenir. Based on the ones my guest and I got, it feels very romantic and relationship driven.

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? – Yes.
I am not a big fan of bubble tea and sweet things, but from what I tasted, and comparing it to others, I definitely like their brown sugar pearl drink the most (haven’t tried many to date). Worth trying if you haven’t already. They are on a different level with their bubble tea gastronomy. Don’t deny your cravings.

XING FU TANG
2675 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5H4
(604) 423-3773
xingfutang.ca

Weekend Tea

A new tea and juice shop has opened up on Kingsway, another beverage solution to help keep you cool this summer. Located by Metrotown, you might miss their shop if you don’t know what you are looking for. An all glass exterior with the word “weekend” running across the top, reminding you of what you are waiting for.

Inside, is an oasis with faux greens grafted on to the wall. They hung and dangled, surrounding their logo for the perfect backdrop. Before it, several chairs and small tables are available for seating.

You order at the counter, reading off the straightforward menu behind it. For those who order visually, they also have photos of drinks and their names on surrounding their till.

The following are what we tried, based on the clerk’s suggestions. Their specialty is their fruit based teas so we were sure to try the “Lychee Tea”, that came highly recommend. Plus, it isn’t often that you come across lychee juice on a menu, even if it is blended with tea. There are bits of lychee and jelly within, offering plenty to to chew through. It was not too sweet, serving as a great thirst quencher.

Another one of their specialties is their yogurt drink. We tried both the “Honeydew yogurt” and “Grape yogurt”. You definitely want to mix this one up so you get an even blend of the slush and yogurt, with jelly bits in each sip. The fruit flavours come through and you get a bit of creaminess to it from the dairy.

The “Zang mango” is mango jam, mango chunks, fresh milk, and cheese foam. Another one you mix up, in order to get the intended flavour. Sweet fruit and salty cheese works in this drinkable dessert.

And I got the “Zang pearl milk”, their take on the popular brown sugar trend that doubles the calories and sugar of the drink. Great the first few sips, but it is a flavour that wares out quick.

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.
A solid option for drinks and a place to chat at in the area.
Don’t deny your cravings.

WEEKEND TEA
#101-5021, Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4A5
(604) 620-1315
weekendtea.com

Green & Oak Malaysian Restaurant

My guest and I were looking for Malaysian food for dinner. And after a quick Google search, we were happy to find one by our homes, in Burnaby. Based on the building’s roof detail, we surmised that this use to be a Greek restaurant. But the rainbow spotted wall paper and light weight, bleach wood furniture had the interior looking more like a bubble tea cafe. Similarly, the name didn’t really speak to what was on the menu.

We were originally seated by the back exit, on a convertible table. However, as soon as a table by the window opened up, the host that originally showed us in (who I think is also the owner), kindly re-sat us without us having to ask for the better table. All the while she had her young 3 year old son in tow, helping to drop off menus and deliver diner’s their bills. It gave you an “Awww” sensation and spoke to this being a family run business.

The two sided laminated menu listed a bunch of familiar plates, and I fully indulged in this edible walk down memory lane. The following are a must order when I see them on any menu. However I had a preconceived idea of how each dish tasted, and therefore I was left unsatisfied. The food was good, and I would have enjoyed everything more had I not compared it to my mother’s cooking or that which I had growing up. It was simply a different rendition of Malaysian cuisine. My guest on the other hand enjoyed everything in full, taking a take out menu to go, along with our leftovers.

“Roti-canai”, fresh made Malaysian flatbread, grilled and served with their own curry dipping sauce. The dough was chewy and flaky, the perfect vehicle to sop up chunks of their curry. The curry here was the exact same one served in their “Malaysian curry rice”. A coconut curry made with lemon grass, shallot, and onion. I wanted a richer curry, finding it a little flat for a dip. I also wanted some more peanut and sweetness to it, to better play off the salty roti.

The “Hainanese chicken” was my favourite of the night. Steamed chicken cooked in rich chicken stock, served with a red chilli and ginger dipping sauce. This is the set meal with both white or dark meat, but for $1 extra we could have had our choice of all dark or all white meat. It was just as I remembered it. Tender chicken, served slightly chilled, with a flavour that is clean on palette, ending in a faint soy flavour that lingers. As a set menu it comes with a neutral soup (compared to everything else we ordered), a tasty chicken stock flavoured steamed rice, and a mild chilli and ginger oil sauce for additional seasoning.

My guest’s favourite dish was the “Penang tofu”. Deep fried tofu topped with onion, cucumber, and a sweet chilli sauce. This version was good, the sauce was on point, but we wished the tofu was crisper and that the deep fry had more of a freshness to it.

The “Laksa soup” was disappointing. A runny curry based soup with tofu, bean sprouts, egg, lemon grass, lime juice, and hints of coconut milk. It wasn’t as flavourful or as rich as I know laksa to be. We had our choice of vermicelli, egg noodle, rice noodle, mixed or no noodle. We went for the egg noodle, but had we selected for the finer gauge, traditional, rice noodle we might have liked the bowl more. See a whole reminded more more of a sour tom yum soup, than the rich curry based soup I was hoping for.

I was excited for the “Belachan fried rice” with dried shrimp, chilli pepper, pork, shrimp, egg, and soya sauce. This was a flavour that isn’t known to many, a unique fishiness with good umami. I just wished it wasn’t so greasy, leaving a sheen on our utensils and lips.

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.
Once again, the food was good enough, but it just didn’t satisfy because of the expectation I had going in. Not traditional Malaysian fare, but a unique interpretation when in Burnaby, to discover. Don’t deny your cravings.

GREEN OAK
3760 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2H5
(778) 589-2668
greenandoak.com

Happy Hour at Atlas

Today I was invited down to “Atlas”, the steak and seafood restaurant located in Grand Villa casino, Burnaby’s best hot spot. I was here to try out their happy hour offerings.

Traffic had us arriving later than anticipated, but luckily we were still able to take advantage of their price reduced menu for 20 minutes upon seating. We would immediately order everything we wanted, before cut off.

We started with their cocktail special for $8, and today it was a Amaretto sour. None of the sour, and plenty of sweet from the foamy egg white topper.

We then followed it up with a 6oz glass of wine for $6. Either red or white, Merlot or Chardonnay. They also have 12oz Stella Artois drafts for $6.

For food, the following dishes were $4 a bite. It doesn’t look like much on the plate, but stacking on extra orders grew it to a fulsome appetizer.

The “seared scallop and tiger prawn” was a juicy large shrimp and a softened scallop, sitting atop of a thin slice of pineapple, smoked in their jasper oven. All wading in a pool of sweet coconut curry cream. Together this offered up a refreshing bite that made me crave a side of coconut rice with it.

The “warm prime rib bun” was seasoned in a red wine jus, and served with a truffle mayonnaise in a toasted brioche bun. The folds of beef were perfectly cooked with a pinky hue. It was saucy with the flavour of the truffle shining through. I highly recommend eating this as soon as you get it, as the bun does get soggy quick.

The “hand rolled meatballs marinara” came with two full sized balls and a piece of garlic toast twice as big. I suggest sharing as each ball was plenty. The classic flavour of tangy tomato in a sweet herbed base.

Ironically, my favourite dish off of their happy hour menu was the complimentary, house made kettle chips. Extra crispy, thick cut potato slices that kept you coming back for more crunch after crunch. It came with a garlic aioli sauce for dipping, not that it needed any help in the flavour department. I definitely finished the skillet-full myself.

They also offered $1 an oyster special, with their variety depended on the batch. Although a great deal, we passed for the time being. We had planned to stay around for dinner, and would splurge on their seafood tower before, therefore knew we would get our oyster fix then and there.

This is their “Atlas chilled seafood tower” for two, at $88. Two tiers that arrived at our table with a show of liquid nitrogen smoke. The top included jumbo shrimp with the classic tangy red cocktail sauce; and raw kushi oysters, the catch of the day.

The bottom layer had clams and mussels cracked open, long snow crab legs, and a full lobster tail cut in half for easy sharing. The latter two was also pre-cracked for an easier peel back. Although if you needed more help in this endeavour there were nut crackers available, and we each received a hot towel to wipe our hands with.

This was a fresh feast we enjoyed with a bottle of white wine. It was brought table side and kept chilled in a copper bucket.

During our stay we also got a sneak peak of one of their new services. A cocktail made table side, crafted from premium ingredients. There is something about watching your food or drink being prepared before your eyes that elevates it and your experience. The result, a smokey Old Fashion, topped with a cherry.

 

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.
“Atlas” is the dressiest place in Burnaby. An upscale restaurant offering the downtown feel and experience without the haste of the travel, the cost of the cab, and the trouble of finding parking. And now with happy hour specials, they give you another reason to visit. I suggest starting your dinner early with some happy hour bites as your appetizer. Then enjoying your visit with well crafted drinks that easily take you from after work to dinner. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

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

Audrey Moment Afternoon Tea & Cafe

Burnaby has its first tea house and I finally gotten around to checking it out. It is fairly close to Metrotown if walking, and if you are driving, they are conveniently in a shopping plaza with plenty of parking.

When you enter, the foyer has a counter with a collection of macarons you can take to go, loose leaf teas they sell by the pound, and potted succulents perfect for gifting.

We were led to the salon where the room was dressed girly. A collection of pretty bobbles and cutesy elements that don’t necessarily go together, but individually have their charms. Antique frames and worn wood shelves with elaborate crystal chandeliers and purple velvet drapes dressed with golden tassels. It all matched the soft music playing: top forty tracks without their usual base or lyrics. Pretty and melodic.

We were seated one of their carved chairs with pearlescent paint that matched the collection of white round tables. There was plenty of seating and coming 1 hour before they closed for the night, we were only the second group sat.

Our visit was a last minute decision, so I didn’t get a chance to book 24 hours in advance, meaning we didn’t get to try their trademark tea set served in a gold bird cage decorated with artificial rose buds on a vine. I even asked if we could order a random assortment of sweet and savoury nibbles and have them displayed on the specialty cage. It was a hard no.

So instead, we got the second tier “Afternoon Tea” set, the “Audrey moment” is a collection of four savoury items, two black current scones with Devon cream and preserve, and four mini desserts. $29.95 per person with a pot of tea each.

My guest got the jasmine green tea, a green China tea with jasmine flowers. It was served in a mismatching tea set with blue and gold speckled pot and a pink cup with a Victoria scene painted at the bottom of the cup and on its saucer pair.

I was given the option of one of their hot or cold drinks instead of tea in a pot, so I took the time to try one of their coloured lattes. You can choose your flavoured syrup and what colours you want. I went for A rose flavoured latte coloured with rainbow milk. Truthfully, I am not a fan of coffee, but will drink more if they look more like this. The “rose” was actually three dried buds that sank to the bottom of the cup. They didn’t look all that appealing, especially once all the colours of the latte art blended together became a murky green pool.

As for the tea tower it was served in the more traditional three layers of plates on a wire rack. We worked our way from savoury to sweet in the following order. Of note, everything is made it house and does rotate on and off the menu.

The “Egg salad sandwich” included tomato and spinach. It was plain, and could have used more seasoning in its egg mix, or some pepper as a minimum.

The “Bacon cheese quiche” had a but good ratio of cheese and bacon on a buttery crust.

The “Shrimp bite” was cold shrimp on toasted hard bread with a heavier dusting of paprika. Nothing special with this one sadly.

The “Chicken salad roll” included spinach, lettuce, celery, and mayo all bundled in a pesto wrap. This could have used some ranch for some bite.

The “Black currant scones” are worth revisiting, they too are made in house and are a staple, available all the time. They were nice and crispy on the out outside, and warm and spongy on the inside. Best with both the smooth Devon cream and sweet raspberry preserve as a spread.

For dessert they were pretty bites with some hits and misses. We both didn’t like the blue earl grey macaron. It was far too sweet and the texture stuck to your teeth. We both passed on any more after two bites.

The “Tiramisu pot” was a cute idea, but I wish you could eat the actual pot and that they used mint instead of parsley for the green. As far as taste it was good, especially as I am not a fan of tiramisu. This was a nice creamy dessert with spongy cake at the bottom and a crunchy crushed cookie topping. It wasn’t overly softened and soggy like the dessert normally is.

I did like the “Grape Napoleon”. It was light and airy, layers flaked off as you bit in, and powered sugar snowed down. Never had it with grapes before, but I liked the pairing. The firm and slightly tart grape with the sweet cream and buttery crust was a nice combination.

The “Passion fruit and mango panna cotta” was also tart, but more cheesy with its firm Greek yogurt -like cream. The popping juice pearls on top added some textural interest and a change of taste in between bites.

 

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.
Everything is made in house and you can tell. I didn’t necessarily like each element, but as a whole I did enjoy the tea set enough; but not enough to to try their larger tea set with simply one more savoury item and another sweet, even if it is uniquely served in a bird cage. But I will return if I am looking for a nice tea and some dessert in such a spot when in Burnaby. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

AUDREY MOMENTS
120b-6540 Burlington Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5H 4G3
604 559-9789
audreymomentcafe.com
Audrey Moment Afternoon Tea & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Gaoh

Whenever I travel I always come back to Vancouver craving Asian food, and lucky for me I have acclimated my partner into enjoying ramen; meaning we got to get a bowl of the good stuff our first meal back.

New to our neighbourhood is “Ramen Gaoh”, brought to you by the same folks running the well celebrated “Ramen Butcher”. In fact one of the servers working today was sporting their branded hoodie with its large pig face logo on the back.

With Japanese bamboo growing up front and a large glowing lantern marking the way, the restaurant stands out with its painted black exterior. To enter, you shimmy past a narrow passage, past the black wooden bars, and the covered patio. I considered a seat on the latter as I liked how cozy it looked, but it is still a little too cold to be dining outdoors, so we wafted in side instead.

The staff greet you in unison as you past the threshold. We were directed to one of the two top tables that ran parallel with the bar. With the high counter top and the stacks of bowls atop it, you can’t make out much of what is happening in the open kitchen.

Their dual sided, laminated menu features ramen prepared with miso blends from across Japan. Shiro miso from Nagano, and Aka miso from Aichi and Miyagi.

My partner got the “Shiro miso” ramen made with white soybean paste. It was described as being more mellow and sweet, for a lighter miso flavour. And compared to my bowl below, it was. It was okay, a flavour of ramen I had never had before. Different, but not my favourite to date. My partner finished his portion, but declared that this salty broth wasn’t to his liking either.

I did prefer the more flavourful “Aka miso” ramen made with red soy bean paste. As promised by the menu, it had a deeper umami flavour, with a richer and saltier miso broth. This was also a meatier broth that paired well with the thick and chewy noodles used. Interesting, but not a flavour profile I could see myself craving for any time soon.

Like all their bowls, this too doesn’t come with an egg, so I ordered one at an additional $1.50. A medium boiled and marinated egg. I just wish such places cut their eggs in half, no one bites into a whole egg like this. Inside was a very runny yolk that pooled out. It had a great creamy texture, but was cooled to a chill at the centre.

You can make your ramen a combo by adding gyozas as a side, but unfortunately only the original pork version, made in house, using their “secret recipe” is available as an add on for $3.

So I passed and paid full price for one of their topped gyozas, choosing the most unique of the four options. This is the “Truffle aioli with Parmesan paste”. Tender and meaty bundles topped generously and made salty. There was no hiding the flavour of truffle. Overall, an interesting twist, but a little too much and too rich as a side to my ramen. The toppings felt unnecessary and I found it overwhelming.

As a precaution, my partner ordered a side of their “Teriyaki spicy crispy deep fried chicken”, in case he didn’t like the ramen. The meat used was fatty and dark, each nugget coated heavily in crunchy fried breading. The teriyaki sauce was the highlight of this dish with its fishy undertone, it paired well with the spicy sauce that was not too spicy.

 

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 my first choice for ramen in the area. Nothing was what I expected, it didn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t a taste that I recognized or look to when craving ramen. This was a good reminder that there are so many different styles of ramen out there; all worth trying. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RAMEN GOAH
4518 E Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C 2K4
604-299-5407
ramengaoh.com

The Viet Noodle Guy

I drive past this restaurant several times a week. It is new to my neighbourhood, which I don’t often dine out within. However, tonight with the pouring rain and my desire to not cook, I thought I would stop by for a quick meal; where ironically, I didn’t have any of their noodles.

The name set you up for an easy going meal, an easy place for quick Vietnamese food. Simple like its modern decor with exposed ceilings, wax laminate, concrete pillars, and their logo printed on their door mat and again painted on their wall.

Aside from missing me when I sat down, the staff were very attentive. I caught eyes with the guy behind the counter, he acknowledged me and directed me to the bar by the window for solo diners. However, I must have slipped his mind as others who sat down after me were greeted with tea and a menu. I had to approach the bar that centred the restaurant for mine. Although after I sat and placed my order, I encountered four other faces as they all approached me and offered to any requests I had. Though in their defence, I had my menu open in front of me, taking notes for this post.

I ordered a few dishes, half to have here and the rest to be able to box up for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Out of the 7 Vietnamese subs that they offer on menu, they only had one option available one hour to close. And sadly it was one of my last choices. I would be missing out on their special sub with everything, their chicken sub, a lemon grass chicken sub, one with Vietnamese bacon, another with meat ball, and one vegetarian version with tofu.

I did end up going for the “Grilled pork sub” because there was pate included, and that is my favourite part of banh mi. Grilled pork, pate, mayo, cucumber, pickled veggies, cilantro, and jalapeños. It came to me luke warm. The bread crusty, the vegetable hard and cold. I liked the flavour of it, but not all the sauce that coated the meat and pooled under the bun, which it soaked up like a sponge. As for the flavour the pork was peppery and fully seasoned, the pate a ta grainy. Good, but I will have to come back to try my cold cut staple for a better gauge.

You don’t often come to Vietnamese restaurants thinking rice, but I had a craving and got this one to be able to try a few variation of how they prepare their meats. Special rice “com sac biet” with lemongrass chicken, pork chops, fried egg, egg patty and shredded pork. And all the rice dishes also come with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, pickled veggies and green onion. All the sides and the raw vegetables help to change the taste and inject a crispiness in to your bites. The salad was drizzled in a tangy citrus flavour and added freshness. And the egg some creaminess to the rice. As for the main, the pork chop was as tender as the chicken it was beside, and with a similar grill. Although it had more of a lemon grass flavour than the chicken with a sweet and salty teriyaki feel. And beware the bone, it is one third of piece. The egg patty was interesting. It was like meat loaf with pork, wood ear fungus, vermicelli and egg as the binder.

I love Vietnamese spring rolls. They are crispier than the regular ones with just a folded wonton wrapper. It is all in their jagged shell that gives it additional texture, a nice scrape against the roof of your mouth. Their “Jumbo spring roll” is filled with shrimp, pork, shredded carrots, egg, and taro. You can order them one at a time or two together with a savings of 50 cents when you do. Sadly, although I gave so much focus to the shell, there was too much breading for my tastes, especially at the ends. I just wanted a better ratio between it and the filling. Though at the end of the day, a generous dip into fish sauce is all it needed.

 

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.
A quick and easy Vietnamese restaurant in a pitch. Clean setting, casual vibe, and fast food. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

VIET NOODLE GUY
1902 Rosser Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5C 3Z2
604-336-4888
thevietnoodleguy.ca

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

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