Looking for the ambience and vibe of a downtown restaurant in the comfort of my surrounding area of Burnaby, we found ourselves at Joey’s on Rosser. Here we had the ability to drink as much as we liked without having to pay the taxi over $40 in fare.
The restaurant replaces its “Shark’s Club” predecessor. A good start with dinner and the ability to take the party else where with a late night open liquor store on ground level. The area is a soon to be booming neighbourhood with high rises springing up. Entry is either through the mall, the underground parking, or via the Lougheed facing entrance.
Without a reservation this Saturday night a minimal wait was required. Though the walk through the half empty dining room lead me to think differently. The restaurant was modernly done with a clean woodsy feel. A smoothed over stump stood as a featured piece in the lobby. Carved busts of horned animals lined the hall-ed entry: moose, deer, elk. And ironed stemmed chandeliers cupping bulbs at its end supplied the light.
We were seated in the lounge, a walk pass the spacious multi booth dining room, the wall of wine bottles, and the kitchen spanning half the walk taken. The lounge was littered with high top tables and higher stools at the bar. Booths that required a step up and chairs that needed a climb on to. The wide windows gave a clear view of the parallel skytrain tracks, in between a set of tripled up television screens. Not much of a view, not that anyone drinking was seen admiring it.
We started with a bottle of wine. Not being able to decide between two we were offered the ability to taste both and decide from there. The tasters and the bottled wine were served in Joey branded engraved wine glasses. Their trademark “J” that double as the curvature of a wine goblet. I was impressed by this little personalized touch, a monogram of sorts that extended to their napkins. Our friendly server was quick to boast that they taste over 600 wines a year blind to update their menu. The list that was categorized and described by its taste. Our choices were between the “Louis Martini”, a Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, from California. The menu described it best at, “Wonderfully fresh, a quintessential cab from an old school producer still doing it right”. And the “McWilliams”, a Cabernet Sauvignon, from Australia. This was described as, a “Great value with black berry characters and light toast”. We choose the later based on taste and was happy to have it be the less inexpensive of the two.
“Steak & Sushi”, Japanese surf & turf tataki style. Made with CAB® PRIME steak in a Ponzu sauce, served with a rainbow sushi roll. Immediately I was disappointed by the portion compared to the price. Just looking at it I knew there would not be enough food. The heat from the cast iron pan kept cooking the meat, by the time I got to the pre cut ends, my last bites of what should be medium rare were well done. A thick chew that left my mouth dry.
The sushi was good, the fish fresh, the rice soft, and the dressing a creamy delight. But it along with the steak left me hungry for more. Luckily my guest was unable to finish her portion and I was able to step in to clean her plate. What was I thinking ordering sushi from a casual chain? Craving or not.
“Steak & Prawns”, grilled butterflied prawns with a “CAB® PRIME” sirloin. Both of the feature proteins on this plate was a let down, average at best. On the drier side with hardly any notes that stands out. The asparagus and better yet the mashed potatoes wrapped in deep fried spring roll pastry was the true star. What a unique take on a classic and definitely a signature all their own.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I don’t normally visit chain restaurants. With so much to offer in this city, why waste a meal spent eating what you know, when you can try something new? Though sometimes you want a guaranteed dinner. That place where you know the food would be solid and the setting would be nice. This was that place for us tonight. A safe bet that proved us right. Don’t deny your cravings.