Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hub Restaurant and Lounge

a 'hub' of a good deal...


Arrived here on a Saturday afternoon hungry for some nice, runny, savoury egg benedicts! (Okay fine, probably wasn't expecting them to be 'savoury', but rather, 'decent').  Without much hesitation, I opted for the Shrimp and Crab Benny, while my dining companion ordered a (rather naked) Eggs Benny with the Hollandaise sauce on the side.

Shrimp and Crab Benny
When our plates arrived, the first thought that came to my mind was: "Wow! They were quite skimpy on the amount of roasted potatoes!" My d.c had the same initial reaction.  The eggs themselves were well poached, with the yolk being of a darker yellow hue. (Okay, I just googled why this is so - found out that the colour of the yolk is dependent upon a chicken's diet! The more yellow the yolk = the healther the chicken's diet :)). The amount of the shrimp and crab was sufficient and tasty.  The best part of the eggs benedict served here at Hub is that they are served on a (rather atypical) toasted crumpet as opposed to the generic English muffin.  The crumpet was chewy and very reminiscent of a pancake, which I enjoyed.  I also tasted a bit of pesto in my eggs benny, which was nothing but a bonus!  I should also add that in addition to the roasted potatoes there were served alongside the benny, there was also an accompaniment of a small greens salad.  Both sides were good.

(A rather naked) Eggs Benny...
with hollandaise sauce on the side


Ok - nothing to boast nor complain about


Being an avid follower of many of the popular local restaurants in Vancouver, I was able to snatch up and catch a recent tweet by Hub promoting a coupon for $10 off your order (thank you, Twitter! :)).  The promotion was in celebration of their "birthday week" and so, the value I received today was more than pleasant. 

The value of the food itself (sans coupon) was decent ($13 for a Benny).


Very reminiscent of your typical Cactus Club type of restaurant.  It was super dark in there and even seemingly moreso because we arrived on a Saturday morning at about 1 pm (felt a little weird, too).  The booths are comfy and spacious with black leathery seating.  It was very quiet for a Sat morning (about 20% full at most).

Overall:  7.1/10

Yay: Come here for a relaxed and "casual sophisticated" experience - a good alternative to your typical Cactus Club, Joeys, Earls abode. Also, they offer $6 appies offered daily from 4-6 pm!

Nay: Yaletown (parking)

Posted by: J

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

McLean's (CLOSED)

McLean's Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli....that's allll you'll ever need to know


Grilled Humboldt Squid with Chorizo
in a Lime & Sansho Pepper Aioli

On this night, we started off with the Albacore Tuna Tartar as well as the Grilled Humboldt Squid.  Both were excellent choices and very good starters.  The Tuna Tartar was served with avocado, ponzu, cilantro and sesame seeds.  The tartar mix was one of the best i've ever had - the flavour was bang on and the tuna tasted very fresh.  I also liked how it was served with nori chips, which were basically scoop-shaped (think Tostito tortilla scoop chips) dried seaweed chips (though they're not crunchy, but rather chewy).  The Grilled Humboldt Squid was very appetizing - it tasted similar to cuttlefish and was very tender. We also liked the fact that it was grilled, as opposed to being prepared deep-fried calamari-style.

Beef Tenderloin with Tiger Prawns

All our mains were equally as delicious.  The best one was, in my opinion, the Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli.  It was nicely prepared in a white wine cream sauce with sundried tomatoes and Italian parsley.  It was topped with a very generous amount of freshly-shaved pecorino pepato (no idea what kinda of cheese this really is but very similar tasting to parmesiano reggiano (or however you spell it)) This was one of the best ravioli dishes I tasted.  The ravioli itself was cooked to perfection and paired perfectly with the white cream sauce! I love love love stuffed ravioli and order it whenever I get the chance to.  We also had the Duck & Wild Mushroom Risotto (huge portion) and the Beef Tenderloin with Tiger Prawns.  Both of these entrees were marvelously prepared as well - great tastes, good portions, and they were served hot!

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli - sooo darn delicious


Above par, our server was quite professional - I don't know how many times she responded with "you're very welcome" when we said thanks, lol

** not sure why they made us wait a good 15 mins. prior to seating us (there were several unoccoupied tables) and we even made a reservation!


Ok - quite fair and reasonable :)


McLean's got a more upscale feel to it than I expected - classier, elegant looking decor, and quite intimate making it a good locale for dinner parties of small groups or a romantic date

Overall: 8/10

Yay: 2-level restaurant (top being the dining room/lounge and bottom being a more casual bar!), deeelicious ravioli and generally well-executed West Coast fare!

Nay: Parking (Gastown...)

***Interesting fact:  If you hadn't already guessed, this restaurant is actually named and owned by former Canuck goalie, Kirk McLean!  No, we did not get to see him on our visit here as he is actually, currently, the goalie coach of the Colorado Avalanche!

Posted by: J

Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Wagon

comfort food at a reasonable price...


Three words: Pulled Pork Sandwich. Deeeelicious!  Think: an oozing and generous amount of saucy, tangy, spicy, stringy and tender pieces of pulled pork with a creamy and crunchy coleslaw sandwiched between two halves of a fresh Portugese bun.  It is very messy to eat, so be prepared to have piles of napkins ready (in addition to making sure that what you're wearing is pulled-pork-proof! lol!)  This p.p sandwich stood out from many others that I've tried because of many reasons, one being the the fact that it was served on a nice, toasty, portugese bun and two, I loved that the sauce was a bit spicy.  The sandwich also came with an order of fries which I liked.  They were crispy, tasted like pomme frites (my favourite), and very similar to the fries from NY Fries!

Since my d.c and I had dinner plans later in the evening, we made a very wise and conscious decision to share the p.p sandwich with an order of Perogies, made in-house.  They were good, though nothing extremely out of the ordinary.  Nicely panfried, generous amount (about 6-8 pieces), stuffed to the pocket with pototoes, served with bacon, caramelized onions and sour cream - the perogies were very satisfying.

p.s check out the plating (above) used for the Perogies - nostalgic much!?




Very good - both the p.p sandwich & the perogies were under $10, making the total bill a little under $20. 


It is a diner, afterall so don't expect a pretty sight here.  The floors could use a mop.  A renovation could definitely be in order, but I don't think people come here for the ambience!

Overall: 7.8/10

Yay:  Great value, excellent pulled pork sandwiches, weekend brunch available

Nay:  Minimal to no decor

The Red Wagon on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pink Peppercorn Seafood House

The Cannery version 2.0....resurrected, bigger and better!


When the local legendary 'The Cannery' restaurant closed down less than a year ago, I, like many others, immediately thought of things-to-do-before-the-Cannery-closes.  I, personally, am not that big of a fan of the place - though they do indeed have a wonderful scenic view and a pleasant ambience, I thought the food was just mediocre-tasting and a little pricey.  Needless to say, I did end up purchasing a gift certificate for some friends who love the Cannery and had one of my amigas purchase me a bottle of their ever-so-popular Lobster Oil.

Fast forward a few months later, I find that, to my surprise, the Cannery has not completely died afterall! In fact, one of the chefs from the Cannery decided to make a very wise move and opened up a restaurant of his own where he also brought along some of the Cannery's specialities (I swear, he brought the decor along with him as well!)  After reading several (quite good) reviews of the Pink Peppercorn, I was excited and eager to try it.

To start the night, I ordered their Prawn Caesar to slowly sip and enjoy.  I was expecting a cocktail prawn/shrimp but to my surprise, it was served with 2 very plump and delicious garlic-buttered sauteed prawns - neatly placed on the rim! It was darn amazing.  The Caesar was prepared well, too.  As an appetizer to start, my d.c and I both agreed on ordering the Salmon and Crab Cake.  When it arrived, we were surprised and quite elated to find that there were two crab cakes! Score! The salmon and crab cakes were nicely-battered (though I wish it was a bit crispier), quite plump and generously filled with salmon and crab.  There was also some sort of sweet, tangy, hoisin sauce (?) drizzled atop, and paired with some spring greens.  We were also served warm and toasty french bread with their (once again) famous lobster oil and balsamic vinegar :)

Complimentary French bread served with
Lobster Oil & Balsamic Vinegar

For my main, I opted for their Halibut Special which was a Herb-Crusted Pan-fried Halibut with mashed potatoes, grilled veggies and mushrooms in a creamy terragon sauce.  It was delicious!  The halibut was soft, flaky and cooked to perfection. The portion size was very generous as well.  The mashed potatoes were good as were the grilled veggies (red pepper, broccoli, asparagus).  The creamy tarragon sauce was rich and savoury.  My plate was also nicely dusted and capped off with a touch of pink peppercorn :) 

My d.c opted for the Seared Scallops and Tiger Prawns in a Garlic Butter Sauce, served with rice and grilled veggies as well.  It too, was amazing - rich garlic butter sauce, accompanied by perfectly cooked scallops and tiger prawns, generous portions...everything was quite near perfection.  We both left feeling very satisfied and was so close to ordering dessert until we realized that we seriously could not fit anything else into our system!


Very warm, friendly, polite and attentive


Very good and extremely reasonable


Dimly-light, romantic and quiet

Overall: 8/10

Yay: Excellent value, great service, ideal for a romantic night out

Nay: This place is very quiet - definitely not ideal for parties or large group gatherings

Posted by: J