Today we were visiting the newest Earls location, now open at The Amazing Brentwood. It is so great to see more large party restaurants like this in my neck of the woods, that we don’t have to drive downtown Vancouver for.
Located at the foot of Brentwood’s outdoor plaza with water feature and plenty of outdoor seating. Just off of the Brentwood Skytrain, they are sure to see a lot of lengthy lines once patio season approaches.
But for tonight, we were content with one of their interior booths, all warm and cozy, out of the elements. We were seated here within their dimly lit, modern dining room with plenty of lush faux foliage
Dining in as a healthy group of 4.5 we were sure to explore much of their classic menu offerings, starting with drinks.
The Watermelon Slush with Smirnoff vodka, watermelon, strawberry, and vermouth was an easily punch,.
The classic sweet orange Negroni made with Tanqueray gin, Campari and Cinzano Rosso vermouth was as expected.
And their Tokyo Cosmo was a sweet fruity cocktail with Absolut Citron vodka, yuzu, white cranberry, hibiscus, and fresh lime.
For round two we had the classic Mojito prepared with Captain Morgan white rum, mint, and fresh lime. Given a choice between either raspberry or cucumber. We went for the former for a lovely sweet berry mint combo.
The Marilyn Monroe was a refreshing spritz made with Smirnoff Vanilla vodka, prosecco, passion fruit, and fresh lime.
Earls also has a solid list of non-alcoholic cocktails. For those wanting something to help with the detox, look to “The Remedy”, a blend of ginger, pineapple, turmeric, electrolytes, and soda.
For food we started with their Seafood Platter, a chilled bowl of fresh oysters, prawn cocktail, ahi tuna poke, crispy prawn, lobster, and refreshing condiments. It was a good mix of cooked and raw seafood that tasted fairly fresh. The whole was a nice variety of tastes and textures from raw fish to a western take on sushi that was filling with all its soften rice.
The Truffle Fries was a hit with the entire table. Crispy shoestring potatoes dressed in black pepper and Grana Padano; served with a side of truffle aioli. The ability to dip generously in the goodness of the truffle aioli is what really makes the fries sing. There’s no missing the truffle flavour in this.
By comparison the Street Corn + Avocado Dip was bland. I liked the thicker crunch of the tortilla chips, but wanted more punch from the Valentina crema, tajin, and feta. The dip was more refreshing with citrusy avocado and sweet charred corn; where I wanted something more salty and spicy with the corn chip.
I found the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with fennel, prawns, and remoulade incomplete. It felt like it was lacking substance without a doughy or crunchy base. Like I was eating a crab meat salad with no filler, and therefore uninterested in eating the actual side salad next to it.
One of Earl’s newer offerings is their 14oz Ribeye with Truffle butter served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. This is an instant classic. A fatty cut of tender beef well paired with buttery potatoes and a crispy onion threads for added texture. It was just a pity that I did not get more truffle in this, as I did with the fries above, especially as it is listed in the title of the dish.
The Earls Chicken Biryani is their take on the popular Indian dish, not meant to be authentic, but a nice interpretation of it for those craving that flavour profile. Spiced basmati rice, green cardamom, cilantro raita, and lacha bread. This modern take ate like a chunky stew with familiar heated spices, but was not actually spicy. I liked it as is and found the flavour better soaked in as leftovers.
Once again I found myself missing truffle from the Truffle + Steak Tortellini, thinking that it went all into the dip for the fries above. Truffle cream, ricotta, spinach, seasonal vegetables, and Grana Padano. Firm pockets of tortellini in a barely-there cream sauce, the slightly bitter broccolini added a slight crunch and some needed greens to lighten the dish. As for the steak, it was lack lustre cut compared to the other two more premium options above, it also didn’t help that I accidentally ordered it “medium” when I prefer it rare and closer to blue.
The BBQ Ribs + Cajun Chicken is one of their staples. A mound of food and more than enough for 2. We ordered the full rack over the half, and it came under two pieces of heavily crusted chicken breast, and over a warm potato salad, bacon, and coleslaw. This was like picnic food on a plate. The rib meat was so tender that it fell off the bone. Sweet like mesquite barbecue sauce, it contrasted the Cajun spice rub of the dryer chicken that was still moist at the centre with a smokey charcoal coating of black pepper and paprika. Both meat options found balance from the fresh creamy tang of the slaw and the firm texture of the potato chunks. I really enjoyed this assembly gathered like this, all together for my eating enjoyment.
And seeing as one of us was 4 year old and had been waiting patiently for the end of the savoury portion of our meal, we had to order all the desserts to share.
Our child guest was most excited for Earl’s White Chocolate Crème Brûlée. Caramelized white chocolate, fresh berries, and Chantilly cream. You break through the classic crispy sugar crust to unveil a smooth cream that reminded me of butterscotch.
The Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding was a popular one amongst the table and was the first to go. A warm pudding cake, with chocolate and toffee sauces, vanilla ice cream, and maple crumble. This was a well-balanced spongy and warm cake made all the richer with its ooey gooey coating, while given a nice crunch to end on with the maple topping.
And for something a touch less sweet, look to the classic NYC Cheesecake with its graham cracker crust, seasonal fruit, and Chantilly cream. Cheesy foamy topping and butter cookie crust straightforward and exactly as expected.
In short, Earls Brentwood is a fine addition to the neighbourhood and a great option when looking for a restaurant to visit that will satisfy many palates. I am predicting it now, they are sure to be the best patio in Burnaby come spring/summer.
Earls Kitchen + Bar
4525 Lougheed Hwy. Unit 1308, Burnaby, BC V5C 3Z6