I don’t usually go to chain restaurants, because I find them to be generic (work with a formula) and over-priced. For the same price I feel like I could get something better, something that’s made with love and care for ingredients, at independent restaurants. But due to its convenient location, I selected the Earls in Port Coquitlam to be a lunch meetup with my girlfriends.
Because it’s lunch time, I didn’t want something rich, so I ordered the Grilled Chicken and Baked Brie Ciabatta. It was very good. The grilled chicken wasn’t dry at all and baked brie gave it extra moisture and creaminess. I really liked the use of apple slices and sweet fig jam in the sandwich. The sweetness of the fruit paired very well with the chicken. The sandwich was not greasy; it’s light with refreshing flavours.
CC ordered the Baby Calamari. I tried a few pieces and they were pretty standard calamari. The batter was light, squid was fried to become crispy yet tender inside. The tzatziki had a tangy, yogurt flavour.
JX wanted a burger, so we convinced her to choose the Bronx Burger. It sounded really interesting with the addition of onion rings in the burger. It’s a huge burger! JX certainly had difficulty eating all layers in one bite. I didn’t try the burger, but tried a bite of the onion ring. I found the batter too thick and I couldn’t really taste the onion. The burger patty looked a bit dry, but JX didn’t complain about it so I assumed it tasted better than it looked.
Although JX was running late, our server appeared very patient when we had to wait 30 minutes before ordering. She was very nice throughout the entire lunch.
One thing to keep in mind, is to pay attention to what you order for sides. When our server took our order, she would give us all these options for sides (soup, salad, fries, yam fries, etc.) without telling us explicitly that some might require extra charges. Until we received our bill then we realized we got charged extra. Ask your server if there’s extra charge for certain sides; also read the fine print on the menu to help you determine whether you want to spend an extra $1.50 for a Caesar salad.
There’s pros and cons of going to a chain restaurant. It’s the convenient location and consistent corporate-formula quality that could lure me back. My grilled chicken sandwich tasted pretty good and I would order it again. But the lack of surprises in menu and hidden costs may make me think twice about going back again.
Earls Kitchen & Bar
2850 Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam