Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Steveston Seafood House: Everyone's here with a coupon!

Had a coupon to this place and was super stoked to try with my partner in crime!

Steveston Seafood House on UrbanspoonRestaurant: Steveston Seafood House (visit their website here)
Location: 3951 Moncton Street, Richmond
Cuisine: Seafood
Price range: $30+ per person

Date of visit: March 10, 2015
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4/5
Food variety: 3/5
Food quality: 4/5
Buck worthy? 3/5

We were seated in a little corner alcove, which I liked since we could see the rest of the restaurant and sit on a curved bench (as opposed to chairs). Stared at the menu for a while, then realized we were getting a prix fixe menu (LivingSocial coupon $69), so no need to think! We were started with Coconut Prawn and Scallops. There were four of them on spoons, quite a nice presentation. I couldn't physically see the scallops nor taste them, but they must be in there, right? The prawns were nicely cooked and the coconut sauce was fragrant and creamy. A little on the sweet side, but nice to start with.

The second starter was their Beef Carpaccio. A surprisingly large plate, the beef was thinly sliced and covered with balsamic reduction, some sort of hard cheese (aged cheddar?!), sweet onions, and capers. The beef fell apart and stuck to the plate, but after being scraped off and placed on the toasted bread-- delicious! Meaty flavors went well with the tart flavors of the balsamic and capers then the cheese made it creamy and a bit salty. Wonderful party in my mouth. The arugula salad was overwhelmingly saucy though =(

We were then both served a Salad of Mixed Greens. I love lemons, so when I saw lemon on the plate, I automatically squeezed all the juices onto the salad. Bad move. It became far too tart. Anyhow, there was sauce already mixed in, with a slice of tomato and some onions on top. Not a bad size to get some veggies into the meal! Some parts weren't that fresh (the tips were oxidized) but aside from my own mistake, the salad was decent.

Onto our mains, we both were served a Cedar Plank Salmon. The wood was warm and the plating was beautiful. Although all night it felt like every dish had balsamic reduction in it-- as if there is no other seasoning. Or maybe it's the theme of their courses? The salmon was perfectly cooked, juicy and melted in my mouth. I believe its sockeye salmon. Regretfully they over-seasoned the fish with too much salt on top, but after scraping it off, we continued enjoying the wonderful main. Veggies were a little overcooked, so they were too soft and the asparagus was not tender. The rice was scrumptious. It was creamy and al dente, reminded me of Hainan chicken rice-- yummy!

Finally we were served dessert :  Tiramisu. I saw another table be served dessert and was worried it would be disappointing, since theirs looked like a tiny triangle of tiramisu about to fall over. Luckily ours turned out to be quite nice. The cream part was rich and smooth-- I could taste the mascarpone distinctly. The cake however, was really moist and bland (as you can see from the water leaking out on the plate). Otherwise, a decent tiramisu =)

First time in my life seeing a tip of 100%, and first time for Adorables to tip that too! Their service was lovely and attentive, I enjoyed our meal. Almost everyone around us had a coupon for their meal too, wonder if they are able to profit at all?! (picture is of original price)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

M Cafe: Brand new but cutting corners already?!

Been eyeing this place for a while now, it's been "Opening soon" for some time, and every time I go to Sushi Town next door, I peek in to see if they're open yet. Finally, BlackBab00n mentions to me that they had just opened (finally!). Rounded up my family to go try it!

M Cafe on UrbanspoonRestaurant: M Cafe
Location: 2773 Barnet Highway, Coquitlam
Cuisine: Chinese, Hong Kong-style
Price range: $15-20 per entree

Date of visit: March 5, 2015
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 3/5
Food variety: 5/5
Food quality: 2/5
Buck worthy? 2/5

Saw the manager (?) from Copa Cafe, I guess he transferred over here? Anyhow, Elephant noted that the menu was all words and no pictures, which was true and made it difficult to decide what to order. Finally we decided to order something from each section. First we ordered from their Signature Double Boiled Soup set ($14.95) for Fish and Tofu pot. It came with rice and of course, the soup. Soup came first and it was rather salty, but tasted ok. Had pork and shark cartilage in it... like what you'd get from a soup package at T&T.
The fish and tofu pot came sizzling hot with some rice to accompany it. Portion was decent and the fish was ok. I liked the tofu. It was rather oily though. After a while the fish stuck to the pot, we had to scrape it off ^^"
Next was a Western Style dish, Baked Seafood with Cheese on Rice ($9.95 mini size) and it came with a drink, I ordered Honey Lemon (add $0.50 that I didn't know about). Let's talk about the drink first, normally at Hong Kong-style cafes like this, you get two slices of lemons around 0.7cm thick. They managed, with great skill, to cut that in half and serve two slices of lemons that were 0.2-0.3cm thick. Very stingy. Needless to say, my honey lemon water had little lemon taste.

Now the rice, this was interesting since the presentation was quite nice, the cheese was golden and the sauce covered the rice well without much leakage. First spoonful in, I already knew something was off. The sauce looked overly creamy and thick, which came off in the flavors. It wasn't very salty but super creamy. Not what I expected, but the fried rice under was great. Seafood included imitation crab, sparse pieces of tiny fish, one mussel, some small scallops and some shrimp.

I ordered a Japanese Tonkotsu Combo ($8.95). You get a choice of soup, noodle, and two toppings. I chose original soup, flat rice noodle, pork rind, and deep fried egg. The soup base was very condensed and Old Bean felt it was way too salty. I liked the soup, it was a rich pork bone base, with a hint of creaminess. The flat rice noodle was al dente, pork rind was plentiful, but the highlight was the deep fried egg. It was literally a soft-boiled egg that was deep fried. I cut it in half to show the center in the picture it came as a whole egg. The outside became soggy and chewy.

Elephant ordered a Sizzlers Special Set ($14.95) with steak, fish filet, linguine, with lobster and shrimp roe sauce. He got the steak medium-rare, but it came pretty cooked-- and tough. Portion size was pretty decent and the plate was hot. He didn't like the sauce and I found the flavors odd too. Fish had a weird baking soda taste to it, not fish-tasting at all. Crispy though.

It came with a drink, soupbun, and dessert. The soup was average. I found the bun quite good, chewy and moist.

We decided to upgrade the dessert to a Belgian Waffle ($4.95, original price $8.95). It took forever to come after we told them we were ready for it... sat around for at least another half an hour before it arrived, and it wasn't freshly made anyways. They had toasted pre-made waffles, cut it in half, and decorated it.

At least the presentation was nice! They also only gave us a spoon to eat it with... =.= LOGIC. Thankfully I still had my knife and fork from the meal, so we could cut it up a bit to share. Ice cream was good, waffle mediocre-- definitely not worth paying the full price for.

Since I had so much time to observe them as we waited, I noticed that although there were about four servers walking around, there was only one guy doing actual work. Everyone was looking and walking around doing minimal tasks. Our table was cluttered with empty plates and bowls, other tables were not cleaned or emptied, and I felt like I couldn't ask any other waiter for assistance. They gotta get their act together!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Broken Rice: Seriously broken rice!

Super keen today with GirlNextDoor, we rewarded ourselves to a fancy dinner after our hot yoga session post-long-work-day. Having passed by here many times, I finally get a chance to try! Super excited!!

Broken Rice on UrbanspoonRestaurant: Broken Rice (visit their website here)
Location: 4088 E. Hastings Street, Burnaby
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Price range: $20+ per person

Date of visit: March 3, 2015
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 4/5
Food variety: 3/5
Food quality: 4/5
Buck worthy? 4/5

Walking in, we knew this was not your typical Vietnamese restaurant, it felt very modern and westernized. So we concluded we should order special items over your typical Phở. xD We chose Uncle Hing's Chicken Wings ($6.95) with Garlic Butter as our first appie. This was fresh: crispy outside and juicy inside. the butter went well and enhanced the flavors of the wings. Even GirlNextDoor had the chicken skin (she normally doesn't eat it!).

Next we enjoyed their Duck Confit Sliders ($6.95). They reminded me of peking duck, equally delicious. The duck was tender, moist, and flavorful, which went well with the texture of the crunchy cucumber and carrot. The bun was steamed, chewy, moist. Beautiful creation!

Then we had their Phnom Penh Roll ($6.50). This was a bit disappointing after the two superb appies. It contained Chinese sausage that made the flavors odd and I just didn't like the overall texture. Also contained egg, carrot, jicama, basil, lettuce and peanuts with a peanut dip. 

We actually started with a light Green Papaya Salad ($8.95) with Beef Jerky as jerky was the most popular option. This was packed full of crunch and flavor. I enjoyed the lightness and tartiness of the salad, but the basil was too big that it became overwhelming in flavor. I wish they julienned it so the flavors could mingle more.

For our actual main, we got their Coconut Braised Pork Belly ($13.95). The display was tidy. There was broken rice, salad, and the dish. They bundled the pork belly with green onion, very cute! This was where it got interesting. We studied their rice, none were full pieces, hence their name! We all had a good laugh with it. The flavors of the broth was soaked into the pork, which was tender and melted in my mouth. It wasn't too fatty but enough that it added flavor to the meat. Wonderful!

Overall our experience was quite positive. Can't believe we ordered so much! The service was great and I like the modern look. Mostly the food was enjoyable and delicious! I still wonder if they have to break the rice, or do they buy rice leftovers from rice farms....? xD