Sunday, April 18, 2010


I've always enjoyed the service tendered by the Glowbal Restaurant Group restaurants. Coast Restaurant is no exception.

1054 Alberni St
Vancouver, BC V6E 1A3
Telephone: 604.685.5010
Hours: M-Th (11.30am-1am); Fri (11.30am-2am); Sat (4.30pm-2am); Sun (4.30pm-1am)

Food: 8/10
Service: 10/10
Ambiance: 9/10
Pricing: $$$$ (expect to fork out at least $50 per head)

Pros: Great quality of service that I've come to expect from the Glowbal Restaurant Group; Decent pricing; Good  ambiance
Cons: Taste and cooking quality varies

Overall Rating: 9/10

Coast on Urbanspoon

Ever since Coast Restaurant relocated from Yaletown to the business district, it's been getting much attention and the influx of patrons (locals and celebrities) isn't losing steam anytime soon.

I always make it a point to go early and even off-hours when I go to a place. That way the restaurant staff can focus their attention on the few patrons and you get to leave as soon as the crowd has built up and the noise level elevated. This is especially true if a restaurant is getting much attention. I'm not there to people-watch. I'm there to enjoy the food.

Going early for dinner, we were able to get a nice location. In this case, we were the first patrons to be brought upstairs and have a nice table at the second floor overlooking the ground level where we get to see the unique circular bar incorporating the fresh seafood.

Once we placed our orders, more utensils are brought in to match the dish.

While waiting for our food to arrive, I was able to get a sneak at the open part of the kitchen where I was beginning to salivate what they were preparing which tempted me to want to order even more.

With no one else dining on the second floor, it also gave me the opportunity look around and appreciate the dark ambient lighting without annoying other patrons who may mistake that I'm staring at them or looking at what they're eating.

If you've been dining at other Glowbal Restaurants, you know you can amass a collection of free teasers and samplers before your real appie arrives. They gave us a taste of their flat bread. By the way, Coast Restaurant does not offer a serving of bread which you would normally associate in dining places like these. I don't mind because I prefer to have each dish represent it's most basic mark-up cost rather than pad it even more to shoulder the cost of a bread basket and butter. Which means if you want bread, you may as well order their flat bread which ranges from $14 - $17 depending if you feel like having prawns, salmon or lobster on it. If you think a whole order is too much for the amount especially with the amount of dishes you've already ordered, then that's where the tear-apart coupon comes in.

Bear with me with this soup photo. It isn't photogenic, but it does look and taste better than what you're seeing right now. I have limited lighting on hand. I'm sure we've all had New England (cream base) $8.00 and Manhattan (tomato base) $8.00 chowder versions. So if you want soup, I would suggest trying their "Coast signature item" instead which is the Smoked Local Fish chowder $9.00 and incorporates cold smoked fish ingredients as well as honey mussels and bacon. It's a good twist to a classic New England chowder favourite.

I'm a calamari lover. I'll order it at any restaurant when I see it on their menu especially when I dine at an Italian or Chinese restaurant. If you serve calamari and you announce it as your specialty then be prepared to ensure it tastes better and unique. Another "Coast signature item" is their Buttermilk Battered Calamari ($13.00) which comes with a smoked garlic aioli dip.

I was so excited for this dish that I was only set up for disappointment. The delicate buttermilk batter did nothing for me and was just falling apart. I needed something hefty to stand up to the calamari. While the "smoked" aioli really just tasted like mayonnaise. I didn't taste the garlic nor any smoky flavour. The most disappointing aspect was the rubbery calamari itself which happens when it's over-cooked. Someone in the kitchen doesn't know how to cook calamari. It has to be cooked for a very short time over high heat. Maybe since I was one of the early dinner patrons, the oil wasn't hot enough that rather than flash deep frying the calamari, they left it longer to make up for the low heat. I don't know. It's still no excuse for calamari of this quality and for a restaurant which announces the dish to be one of it's specialty.

Good thing one of the restaurant manager checked up on our table and I told him about the rubbery calamari. I told him it was still edible but disappointing in quality because it was supposed to be a signature item. Another restaurant manager was called in to which I explained I'm not making a big deal of it and told him the same thing that it was edible, but for a signature item it shouldn't have been rubbery, but that they didn't have to do anything or remove it from our bill since I will munch on it. He insisted to please us and removed the calamari from our bill. This is why I appreciate dining at any of the GRG restaurants. They have people that take care of the overall dining aspect.

They call it "steamers" on their menu, but I refer to it as Moule Frites since that's exactly how they serve it. We chose The Classic Mussels ($17.00) with a simple broth of Chardonnay, garlic,  leeks and Italian parsley. I wanted to enjoy the taste of the mussels itself. This one did not disappoint. In fact it was everything I expected it to be.

Did you think I would forget to mention the "frites" portion? Never. I always have my french fries cooked well done for that excellent crispy texture to contrast against the soft, tender and juicy mussels. Do you see how well done my fries look? Yum!

I think they should offer an optional side of garlic baguettes so I can soak up the mussel broth like other restaurants are offering. Just saying.

Yes, it's too dark as the ambient light was changing. Can you guess? Sushi! In this case Eel & BBQ Salmon Roll $12.00. Another Coast signature dish and one that incorporated avocado and Sake BBQ sauce. Everything was soft and fresh down to the rice. I like how it was served on a slab of marble. Down to the presentation, it was indeed a classic fusion dish.

You think I'd skip dessert? No, sir. Here's their Warm Apple Turnover $8.00 with spiced apple cider and dolce de leche. Definitely a winner.

I enjoyed how it was presented on a small cast iron dish which kept it warm.

Oh, you thought I was done with dessert? How can you resist wanting to try out a Molten Banana Coconut Cake $8.00 that needed a ten-minute bake time? You get caramelized bananas and a side of coconut crème anglaise.

Make no mistake. This is a soufflé. To best enjoy, I break apart the soft centre and pour the warm sauce so the cake is sweet and moist. Together, this was pure dessert bliss.

I will be back.

1 comment:

  1. Hi "One Frame Off":
    I enjoyed reading your site ... and that you go to the type of places I enjoy going to. Keep up the good work! Will be looking forward to more posts from you.