On this night we were at Atlas Steak + Fish celebrating a birthday, as one of the nicer options for a finer meal in Burnaby. Located within Grand Villa Casino, the steakhouse and seafood restaurant has become a staple with easy parking, plenty of large group seating, and an after-dinner activity built into the venue.
Admittedly, it has been a while (pre-covid) since my last visit, but things are as I remembered it. Their feature wall of wine bottles at the entrance, live music from a professional pianist in the foyer, a walk past the open kitchen, on route to a large table set with cloth napkins and a tablet drink menu.
We were dining with 2 small children today, so I was lucky enough to get to colour with them. Utilizing a sealed pack of red, yellow, and blue crayons to colour the back side of their informative kids menu. It included a hot dog, pizza, and burger to colour in. Alongside the ability to learn the parts of a cow by its steak cut. I did this, all while enjoying a 9oz glass of their house red, a mellow cabernet sauvignon.
To start, the table received 2 orders of Atlas’s popular house bread served in a skillet. These were fluffy and plump looking loaves that easily split into fours. Yeasty and soft, served with a pungent blue cheese infused churned butter. I advise coming hungry, just to be able to indulge in all of this.
The adults also shared an order of a dozen Seasonal Oysters. They were presented on a silver pedestal with plumes of smoke billowing for a dramatic effect. The selection was mid-size, mostly briny oysters, served with a champagne vinegar mignonette, lemon, hot sauce, and fresh horseradish. We would all enjoy 2 a piece, dress in all the options.
The Beef Carpaccio was another appetizer that the table shared. Shaved beef tenderloin, pickled shimeji mushrooms, sundried tomato, garlic aioli, and grana padano. Based on the colouring the dish appeared to be semi cooked, with the meat seasoned heavily for a tangy, salty, and spicy finish. Not all that appetizing as is, the finely criss-crossed potato chips were a necessity as a base, but unfortunately there was not enough to go around.
For mains, everyone ordered their own, with plenty of sharing to be able to taste one another’s. I had the Spicy Lobster Spaghettini, looking for carbs coming out of a night of heavy drinking. This was half an Atlantic lobster tail de-shelled and cut up into chunks, red prawns, salt spring mussels in shell, roasted tomatoes, and fresno chilies. I appreciated the presentation of the dish and the chefs fanning out the mussels in a decorative pattern. As for taste, during my first go of it I found the serving lean. A barely there tomato sauce with no spice from the chillis, and seafood that could have used more salt to season. However, as leftovers, when the sauce pooled over the noodles and the flavours were better infused, I could not get enough and slurped up every loose strand greedily.
The Chili Rubbed Cowboy Rib steak was a large slab of Certified Angus Beef at 16oz. Atlas proudly advertises that they only use Certified Angus Beef and U.S.D.A Prime for their ATLAS cuts. That each steaks is hand-butchered and aged a minimum of 40 days before being prepared over their mesquite-fired Josper oven. The result, a lot of buttery beef given a nice char.
If you are looking for a fattier cut with more gristle to chew through, go for their Certified Angus Beef Prime Rib in a 10oz cut. This was more than enough meat and included generous sides unlike the rib steak above, and is only available on select nights. It is slow roasted, served with potato puree, fresh horseradish, yorkshire pudding, creamed kale and spinach, and a red wine jus. Each bite was lush and fatty, although a little bland. It could have used more peppery pop in the gravy, but the sides were plenty salty and garlicky to have you overlooking that. And I liked the break the eggy and doughy Yorkshire pudding provided in between more savoury mouthfuls.
For a leaner protein look to their Tuna Provencal. Josper grilled ahi tuna, Mediterranean olives, tomatoes, baby roast potatoes, capers, fresh herbs, zucchini, and potato hay. This is basically a tuna steak and at Atlas they advertise that they only use the freshest top-catch fish and shellfish, which they then prepare carefully to ensure the highest quality. This was lean and herbaceous from the Mediterranean seasonings. A well composed textural dish with the inclusion of more crispy potato “hay” to crown the dish.
And for something a lot more comforting the Wild Mushroom Risotto is a great choice. Prepared with medley of mushrooms that includes king oyster, crimini, oyster and shemenji alongside truffle oil, chives, and a parmesan crisp. Naturally, the dish was very mushroom forward with a sharp cheesy finish. But I always find I need a main protein to accompany all this starch and the “meaty” mushrooms can only do so much.
And what is a birthday celebration without cake? We brought our own chocolate dessert, so passed on what the restaurant had on menu, although if we were to order one, it would have to been their famous Baked Alaska, which is doused in liquor and set on fire for a blue blaze.
In short Atlas continues to be a solid pick for more casual fine dining in Burnaby.
Atlas Steak + Fish
4331 Dominion St, Burnaby, BC V5G 1C7, Canada