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The last time I was here was years ago. We came when they just rolled out their girls night package. You and three friends enjoy a night of drinks and appetizers at a set cost. Bellinis topped with decorative little red heels and your choice of two appetizers for sharing. I recall it during the time of one of my break up, so we ended the night indulging in their break up pint. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate and cookie chunks packaged in a black, white, and pink striped tub. It was a good night. And tonight we were hoping for a repeat with a happier reason for meeting up.

Plenty of parking was available underground in a shared lot. The signs were very specific to state that “Milestones do not validate parking”. So it was $6 for anytime more than an hour and a half. Inside the restaurant the layout and set up was no different than any casual chain. A large space divided between bar and dining room. Secluded nooks, sectioned off crannies, and booths separated by a barrier to create privacy. Our group found ourselves divided between two booths a four seater and one that sat eight with a squeeze. The only option on a Saturday night with a last minute addition to the dinner.

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“Watermelon and strawberry mojito” by the pitcher. A light and refreshing beverage for those who want to drink, but want to avoid the burn. So good that you would want more than one glass, so why not save yourself the time and cost by ordering a pitcher to share. Drink fast though, as once the ice melts the drink dilutes.

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“Tropical mimosa.” Take a regular mimosa with sparkling wine and chilled orange juice, then add peach and melon liquor, with a splash of pineapple juice. This one is a double. As above, this too was an easy to down drink.

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The “Ultimate Bellini” was a regular Bellini, accompanied by an extra flavoured shot of vodka. A frozen blend of premium white rum, peach liqueur, and sparkling white wine topped with Boone’s sangria. What I didn’t realize was the extra shot came separate, outside of the actual drink. I was recommended the white grape vodka shot, and glad I took it for it very accurate and very flavourful grape flavour. So good that I wished I had asked the brand so that I could have purchased a bottle for myself. It was suggested that I take a sip of this shot then follow it with one of frozen slush. I ended up enjoying both separate. I don’t see the need to have a regular Bellini and this version when the only difference is the latter is a drink with a side drink.

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“Calamari strips” with tartar and marinara sauce. Your standard deep fried and heavily battered chewy pieces of squid, perfect for sharing. They were peppery and played well with either of the two sauces provided. I preferred the white tartar as the more traditional pairing. Though it was nice to have two dipping sauces, to keep the palate interested.

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“Ahi tuna tacos” made with seared pepper crusted ahi tuna, cilantro lime slaw, avocado cream, and crispy avocado. This was the most decorated plate of the night. All the necessary ingredients needed to craft your perfect two bite hand held. These tacos were meant to be light and refreshing. Not the usual ones coated heavily in sauce and dripping with oil. The plate offered different tastes and textures between the fresh herbed tuna, the zesty slaw, the whipped avocado, and its fried crisp counter part. The only down side was its portion size. It was listed as entree, but given the ability to only craft two full tacos from two small flour tortillas, it left you hungry looking for more food.

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I appreciate a restaurant’s ability to split an order and their foresight to do so between two plates, if they know you will be sharing. They did just that with our “portobello mushroom chicken” prepared with basil, roasted garlic cream sauce, vermicelli noodles, and seasonal vegetables. Despite its bland colouring it was actually very flavourful. The noodles were a perfect el dente, offering a great base to be take with the herbaceous chicken and smokey roasted Vegetables.

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The “Stacked burger” was just that, a mouthful with meats piled one on top of another. Prime rib, Montreal smoked meat, double smoked bacon, mushrooms, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and horseradish cream. The burger was a juicy mess. Bite after bite lead to juices dropping off your chin and sauces in between fingers, in a good way. The first bite is aways the best, when the bun is still toasty, the lettuce is still crisp, and you can still still make out the quality of beef being used. Towards the centre of the burger the meat became drier and each oily bite harder to get past.

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The order comes with fries that I substituted for the soup of the day, a red pepper bisque. What arrived was a murky green pool topped with sliced tortilla chips and soften cheese. The taste was decent, but I didn’t like the texture much, between the soup’s graininess and the soggy chips, it had me regretting the need to pay extra for something I didn’t like.

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“For the love of chocolate cake” was a aptly named dessert. I am not a big fan of chocolate, but this one won be over. It me going back for luxurious bite after glorious bite. Four layers of opulent chocolate cake divided by decadent chocolate fudge icing, drizzled with salted caramel and topped with a scoop of chocolate crunch ice cream. The cake’s layers were spongy and evenly coated with thick fudge. Together with the creamy ice cream and the sticky caramel you had a perfect spoonful. I was surprised that this was as not sweet as it looked, instead it was simply chocolatey. Dare I say the best chocolate cake I have ever had. Though the number of ones I have tried isn’t too large. Definitely worth the wait we endured, over 20 minutes for a pre-made dessert with only some assembly required. Even the kitchen noticed the time they were taking, they sent the manager to deliver it and the following explanation. Apparently they weren’t able to type the order into computer and therefore it held up the preparation process. I question why they couldn’t just deliver the order first and place the purchase in the system after the fact. And what was meant to be any apology turned into an uncomfortable come on, as my guest was being cheeky and the manager was being pushy. Long story short the cake was compensated and the manager even put in the effort to check back with us before he left for the evening.

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“Peanut butter & jelly cheesecake with toasted marshmallow ice cream”. For those who like peanut better this one is a must try. The nostalgic flavours of peanut butter and grape jelly in a decadent cheesecake with a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce. Sadly it wasn’t as large of a portion as the chocolate cake, but very rich and satisfying in its compact portion none the less. The crunchy peanut butter cookie chunks and smooth jelly syrup went well with the creamy cheesecake and its buttery graham cracker crust. The ice cream didn’t quite taste like its promise of marshmallow toasted on a flame, or otherwise. However it was still very good and just as inventive as the dessert it was set to compete against. It was a delicious blend of sweetness enrobed in velvety cream. I could finish a pint of it as is.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Out of all of the modern casual chains, “Milestones” is one I like the most. Perhaps with fewer locations I still find newness in their fresh sheets, and creativity in their menu. Either way it is a solid destination for a larger group gathering with a minimal wait. Don’t deny your cravings.

MILESTONES
2425 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC, V5Z4M5
604-678-8488
milestonesrestaurants.com
Milestones Grill and Bar on Urbanspoon