I have to say, sometimes I have the toughest time trying to determine a dinner location in Burnaby, especially when it comes to somewhere for fine dining and celebrating special occasions. Often comes to mind is the Hart House near Deer Lake. On a Saturday in May (yeah it’s awhile ago, but I had the draft ready awhile back; it’s just been collecting dust), Mr. and I went there for a friend’s birthday.
I remember a couple of years ago, I went to the restaurant for Sunday brunch and I was quite happy with the food. Therefore this time around I was expecting similar quality of food. Boy was I wrong. I should never go to a restaurant with any expectation because it’s never consistent – it often depends on the chef and the service staff. In this case, it’s definitely a hit and miss for us.
I ordered the Duck Breast off the regular menu. It was a generous serving of meat (and you know me and my meat) – not only there’s a huge slice of duck breast, there’s also a ridiculous amount of lentils with shredded duck meat on the side. The duck breast was quite moist and juicy, and the seasoning was just right. And while I don’t mind lentils and the shredded meat made it more flavourful, there was just WAY too much of them. I couldn’t finish them all.
Now here’s the kicker. I will let Mr. explain his own dish to you:
I’ve only had Spot Prawns a couple times before; they have succulent meaty bodies with mouth-watering flavouring – possibly the best tasting shrimps in the world, cooked or raw. They were in season at the time, and the Hart House offered them as a seasonal special. I expected deliciousness to follow. It didn’t.
The best way to describe these prawns is that they have been chewed on, digested, and spat back out into their original shells by some very skilled seagulls, and then served to me on a plate. No one likes mushy crustaceans, especially not when you are paying $30 for them. They were served on a bed of edamame and mushrooms; their texture only reminded me more of how bad the prawns were.
Honestly, that was disappointing. Here your server was selling the “daily special”; over there in the kitchen, you’re messing up probably the most popular dish of the evening. Spot prawns were in season at that time – you can never go wrong with something in season!! If the quality of prawns weren’t great, don’t offer them to your customers. If the prawns came fresh and you cooked them to this state, yeah you just killed the prawns again. I’ve had a fair share of fresh spot prawns and I’d like to think that I know what they taste like when they’re fresh. And don’t think we’re being picky. All 6 prawns in Mr.‘s dish were mushy; so were the 6 on my friend’s plate.
To wrap up the dinner, the chocoholic in me convinced Mr. to share the Chocolate3. It consisted of three types of chocolate desserts. There’s nothing really wrong about them, but nothing wow’d me. I definitely have had better elsewhere.
The service was great, as it should be expected at a place like this. The server is friendly and helpful. He even added a happy birthday inscription to my friend’s dessert (much like what happened to me when we went to Chambar). (Mr: But I bet he didn’t try the spot prawns.)
Looking around, we were definitely the youngest crowd there, although I also noticed a couple of big family dinners. Because it’s a house, its acoustic is pretty bad. It got very noisy when a table in the next room (yes in the next room) began to yell across the table and talked loudly among themselves.
It’s almost a niche for the Hart House to situate itself in Burnaby (especially now that the Horizons is not operating), but they just delivered a rather disappointing dinner to me and my friends. They will need some major polishing and to perfect its offerings before I’ll go back again. If I ever will.
6664 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby