In Vancouver, there is no shortage of fine dining options to celebrate your special occasions. The suburb, is a different story. Last year, Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam revamped its restaurants and introduced Stake, a fine dining establishment focused on sourcing local products. I was there when it launched its menu in the Fall (here’s the proof – check out 0:45 and the hand model at 1:17 – I could be a YouTube sensation one day!) and was quite impressed. So to celebrate CC’s birthday, a few of us girls went there for dinner.
The menu isn’t very big, but there are a few good options. We shared a few appetizers to start. The Signature Smoked Crispy Pork Belly was our favourite appy. The meat was tender, the fatty bits were rendered nicely. Perhaps the edges were a bit too charred but it didn’t have any burned taste.
Even though the Albacore Tuna Tataki was a standard affair, I had to commend on the nice sear they’ve had on the fish. I liked the thick cut on the fish, so it gave you a bit of a bite. They could probably up the acidity in the sauce to help cut through the rich tuna.
The Pan Seared Scallops were nicely caramelized on the outside, and just slightly rare inside. The bacon bits added some smokey flavours and savouriness to the sweet scallops. This was a pretty enjoyable dish.
For entree, I ordered myself a 6oz Seared Beef Tenderloin. Wow, what a great piece of steak! It was cooked to perfect medium rare; the meat was super tender and the juice was just locked inside the meat. Probably one of the best steaks I’ve had recently. And the fondant potato was rich and creamy with the cheese sauce. I don’t usually finish the carb component of a plate but I ate all the potatoes! This plate was not cheap, though, costing $29; otherwise, I would’ve opted for the bigger piece (there was a 10oz or so option at a higher price) and it would’ve been even more satisfying.
CC and MR shared its daily feature Surf & Turf Platter. We were told that it would be sirloin tip and prawns, along with salads, mash and vegetables. When the two bowls of salad arrived at the table, it looked promising. But when the platter got to the table, it wasn’t quite what we expected. The prawns were excellent, nicely seasoned with fresh crunchy meaty texture. The mash and vegetables were pretty well done too. It was the beef. There were many pieces to go around, but the texture, along with the thick brown sauce, felt more like a beef stew. That being said, the meat was tender and flavourful; it just didn’t give you the satisfaction of cutting through a nicely cooked piece of steak. I think CC and MR finished the entree wanting slightly more than what they got.
Lastly, for dessert, we shared the Chocolate Marquise. It was quite rich, with the some textural contrast from the chocolate pearls; but the texture of the chocolate mousse was a bit softer than I expected and I can definitely use a bit more of the raspberry coulis.
It was a Saturday night, and the restaurant wasn’t too busy. There were enough customers to keep the servers moving but they were definitely not swamped. We were seated in the middle of the restaurant, on a raised platform with railings around. Strangely, the servers thought it’s OK to deliver our plates and replace our cutlery by passing them over the railing, instead of walking a few steps up to actually get to our table. Hmm…
I actually thought the food was really good and definitely fitting for its fine dining positioning. However, it might be slightly over priced for the Tri-Cities market, service needs some fine-tuning, and entree options can be expanded. Overall I was quite happy with the dinner, so I hope the restaurant can continue to improve and offer a fine dining option to the suburbanites.
2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam