coast seafood – tasty but not quite perfect

11 Feb

“3/5 stars, $135 for 2 people including two glasses of wine”

I was craving some seafood and my foodie friend and I decided to go to Coast located on 1054 Alberni Street in downtown Vancouver.  It’s part of a chain of restos that include Italian Kitchen across the street and Trattoria in Kitsilano.

The atmosphere is great with modern gas fireplaces outside on a heated patio and a large round oyster bar right in the center.  You can opt for lively seating on the main floor or quieter on the second level.

image courtesy of Coast Seafood's website

We started with a dozen chief selected oysters ($28) that came with a standard cocktail sauce and a mignonette sauce that was quite delicious.  Fresh ground horseradish in the corner…the oysters were fresh with a tiny bit of shell shards in a couple of them.

Our second appetizer was the raw sea scallop served with chili-tobiko crème fraîche and black sesame tuile ($17).  The flavour was slightly tart and spicy although the dish wasn’t cold as expected.

Signature Cold Platter - image courtesy of Coast Seafood's website

For our main, we opted for one of the signature platters.  The cold platter came on a bed of crushed ice with the dazzling effect of dried ice underneath.  Although tasty looking, we decided to try the hot platter instead ($29 per person). The platter came with four different varieties of seafood, gnocchi and vegetables, quite a generous serving for two people!

The B.C. cod and wild sea tiger prawns were served on a bed of cheese grilled brussel sprouts.  The cod was creamy and well cooked while the tiger prawns were much too over cooked and chewy.  If you’ve never liked brussel sprouts, these will surely change your mind!  Salty and full of flavour the sprouts are grilled until charred with a punch of cheesy parmesan.

On the other side of our platter was the grilled sockeye salmon and Qualicum scallops on top of some asparagus.  There was a cream sauce on this combo and the scallops were soft and cooked to perfection.  However the salmon was so overcooked and dry even though it was seasoned quite well.  The potato gnocchi was to die for and I don’t normally like gnocchi.  They were creamy with a soft texture in a light lobster cream sauce.  Coupled with the earthy mushrooms and freshness of tomato and basil, each bite was heavenly.

For dessert, we got another sampler and shared($14).  With four varieties, you couldn’t go wrong.  The best thing on the platter was the Tahitian Vanilla Cheesecake Lollipops.  These little round cheesecake circles were coated in white chocolate for a crisp bite.  The outside edge was rolled in pop rocks and candy crumbs.  Although the pop rocks didn’t exactly “pop” in your mouth, they did add that fruity flavour so often coupled with cheesecake.  In the center of the platter was a chilled hazelnut mousse with very light wafers in between.  It was delicate and not overly sweet but the wafer did end up being slightly soggy after it sat for a while.  In the corner was a tart with a lemon custard and passionfruit foam on top.  Tart and sweet, this was a nice contrast to the rich cheesecake.  In the other corner there were four generous pieces of what I can only describe as homemade Crunchie bars.  Crunchy caramel sponge toffee inside with a coating of milk chocolate, topped with a bit of fleur de sel.  The salt made this delectable.

All in all, the flavours of the whole meal were great, not the most inventive but nothing was overly seasoned or bland.  The atmosphere was nice, perfect for a night out with friends or even a romantic dinner.  The kitchen needs to work on their cooking times as seafood that is over-cooked really affects the texture.  Be warned that the menu on their site isn’t always updated regularly.

All in all I would give it another go…

Atmosphere: 4/5
Flavour: 4/5
Preparation: 3/5
Presentation: 3/5
Uniqueness: 2/5
Service: 4.5/5
Value: 3.5/5


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