When I am thinking of steak, “Chop” isn’t the first authority that comes to mind. It’s typically “The Keg”, then from there I weigh my budget as I search for something more more luxurious. However I was gifted with a gift card and that was reason enough to visit. Even if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to pay for all of it, so it would be a good deal any way I looked at it. And what better a day than on Valentine’s to have steak. Nothing is more romantic than getting your man steak on February 14th, even if its with a gift card, cause and that is just practical.
Tonight it was rainy and their patio was covered up for the season. But we took a pause to appreciate how it would be during on season. It seemed grand with their oversized lamps, fire pit, unique shrubbery, and curved booths. You could tell this was a nice patio to be on during hot summer days, and one to be seen on. A great stop for those living in Richmond, not wanting to travel to downtown Vancouver for a patio as nice as this.
We walked past it towards the entrance, following the covered corridor with its path lit in tiny bulbs. It curved to the door, in line with foliage pruned to look like two round lollipops.
Pass the heavy doors, inside was their hostess booth and foyer with guests waiting to be seated. In celebration of the occasion they set out some drinks and canapés to set the mood. A help yourself collection of wines with glasses; and a bite of strawberry, cream cheese, and balsamic over a crostini. We weren’t able to indulge in either as we had made reservations and our table was ready.
We were led to the dining room rich in brown tones. Suade meets leather booths, carpeted floors, a painted ceiling; and protruding blocks with light, hiding any piping above. There wasn’t much in terms of decoration or art, outside a few light fixtur. There were nice wiry orbs hovering over select tables. We wished we were under those, they made for quite the romantic scene. Though given our spacious booth that sat four, we were happy to have our table and be able to sit side by side at it.
Today was Sunday and surprisingly they didn’t have Caesars on special, as most restaurants do. Shame, as I wanted to try their “Craft Caesar” made using Walter’s clamato with vine ripened tomatoes, gluten free vodka, and their house made hot sauce. Caesars are on special on Wednesdays. None the less, I ordered it being lured in by the description of scratch made tomato juice. What would this be like in a cocktail? Not surprising, you tasted it within its thicker texture. It was similar to paste, with a strong grilled tomato flavour. It would have been great as a sauce over pasta. And as a result, a little heavy to drink as it, being too flavourful without food. But luckily it was complimentary to our entrees below. I took a bite of food then a sip of Caesar. I was disappointed to not have any of the garnishes mentioned on the menu. Where was the promised sweet pepper and olive toppers? I didn’t mentioned it to our server, but hate to have to check over their work as a diner. I expect what is advertised, although I know many patrons don’t even read the descriptions. And then are upset at having something they didn’t expect, but that was listed. I would have at least appreciated it, if our server mentioned that they were out of garnishes or that they are no longer part of the drink, despite still being mentioned on the menu. It was like they were hoping I wouldn’t bring it to their attention, by not reading clearly. It was already a busy night for them, and it was already hard enough to get their attention, so I ended up making no mention of it.
The “Sparking Bellini” however, impressed us. It was sparkling wine, white peach purée, and chambord royale over ice. Visually I was impressed by it, and the unusual sight of a brick of ice frozen with mashed raspberries. When the ice melted and the fruit got added to the drink, you had anew flavour element to enjoy. As for taste, it tasted like a Bellini without looking like it. Muddy with a fizzy finish, but not very strong.
They had a set Valentine’s Day menu where you pick a appetizer, entree, and dessert out of preselected options for $49. However given my disinterest in either salad or a soup for an appetizer and that none of the desserts had me very excited, we decide to pass and just order what we wanted a la carte.
Our meal began with a warm whole wheat bun and some frozen butter. The latter was hard to scrape, but easily soften against the fresh spongy loaf.
With all steak orders you are given the option to have it as a set meal for about $5.99 more. The “chop experience” asks you to pay extra to include a soup or salad to start, and gives you the choice of two sides instead of just the one. I was passed for the same reason that I passed on the Valentine’s set menu above. But it was great to be given the option, whereas most servers don’t bother to suggestion sell and mention an add-on for my benefit. We went with the “Filet mignon in a red wine reduction”. Choosing the regular 8oz filet over the petite one at a $5 difference and 2oz less, so that I could share it with my partner. For sides my choices included wasabi infused mashed potatoes, a wild rice pilaf, baked potato, cut fries, or fresh seasonal vegetable. Given that I had only one side included,!I choose the largest and most filling option: the mashed potatoes. It was no different than regular mashed potatoes, with just the whisper of wasabi to give it some zing. The order also came with a bonus half tomato. I think it was included to balance out the plate and make it more fulsome looking. It was a juicy oven baked tomato with some crispy batter on top. Both side were complimentary to the steak, with plenty of mashed potato leftover once the steak was done. The filet mignon was perfectly cooked to the medium rare I had asked for. It was well seasoned with a peppery crust. Though at $38 for 8oz, I found it a bit over priced. I could have gotten more for the same cost at other steak houses.
We also shared their “Oven roasted chicken with basil lemon pan jus”. This was served with a wild rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables, two of the five sides we had to choose between for the steak above. It wasn’t the best looking plate. Hardly gourmet for the $22 price. It was more rustic in look and taste. It was a chicken breast sliced in two, pounded flat, then battered and fried to a crisp. Although it’s nice crunch hardly lasted as the chunky chutney-like sauce overtop made the chicken soggy. It would have been nice to have the strong condiment on the side for us to pour and dip as we saw fit. Especially as it was almost too sour with the stronger essence of lemon. The chicken itself was tender and perfectly cooked juicy. It outshone the flat sides that had you wishing for some freshness. The squash and broccolini were heavy, starchy and chewy; like the wild rice. It needed something light to balance things out, like the tomato above.
I don’t know if it was just because it was Valentine’s Day, but our server wasn’t all that attentive. Especially given the regal setting and the prices we were asked to pay. It was a busy night, but not all their tables were sat and there were plenty of staff on the floor including bussers and the mangers rolling up their sleeves to serve. We were left waiting to order, waiting when we had asked for water. There was a long pause between finishing our entree and getting the dessert menu, to the point that I changed my mind on wanting to end our meal on something sweet. There was even a wait to pay the bill, like everyone in our section was served before us because we didn’t opt for the set menu. Though despite all this our server was plenty friendly and very professional. Maybe it was just that they needed more staff on tonight? I even overheard one of the managers introduce herself and personally thank a neighbouring table for joining them this Valentine’s. She then presented them a discount card for their next visit. I wish we too were extended that courtesy.
The space was actually much larger than we originally thought, something we discovered on our way to the facilities. A tunnel of light led to a secondary dining area and both gender washrooms included lounges. The men’s in particular was one of the nicest I have ever been too. It had wooden rafters, a circle of mirrors for that 360 degree check, and even complimentary Valentine’s cards for men to jot down a sentiment, to impress their date; though they were out by the time we got there. Both washrooms had grey toilet bowls, non running stone fountain in its foyer and seating to get comfy in; though who really spends that much time waiting in the washroom?
Would I come back? – No.
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 wouldn’t be apposed to coming back. I might not order a full meal, but would be content on snacking and sipping in this setting. Though is a little far to travel to if you don’t live in Richmond, and it is no where near transit if you wanted to stop by for a drink. But for patrons staying at the nearby hotel, this is a lovely spot for dinner, it just needs a neighbouring casino to complete the experience. Don’t deny your cravings.