My family decided to head out, and treat ourselves to a lovely seafood (lobster) dinner this past weekend. Expectations were high, tastebuds salivating, and tummies rumbling. I’m sorry to say, we were let down. One of my brothers-in-law suggested to my father that we head out for “Lobsterfest” at a notable Vancouver restaurant, The Boathouse. This was planned so we could finally treat my father to a Lobster Thermidor dinner he’d been craving since our favourite haunt, The Cannery had closed the previous year. 5 of us went, and 4 decided that we would never return.
We’re not picky eaters. Sure, once upon a very recent time, I definitely was. Then I grew up. I was looking forward to some great seafood. After inspecting the menu, and recognizing that all of the restaurant’s lobster options were either bland or heavily doused in cream, my sister and I settled upon a Miso-crusted Halibut with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Dad and brother-in-law ordered the Prime Rib and “Lobster Thermidor”; and Mom a chicken rice bowl of sorts. Of these, the only happy patron was my mother.
Riddle me this: in a restaurant based on, and known for their creative seafood dishes, why would the best plate at the table be the poultry?
The issues: the restaurant did not serve a “true” thermidor. Rather, they used a pre-made sauce, and mix it with about 45 grams of lobster meat and crab meat. This is a big deal. Lobster Thermidor is delicious, this concoction was not. Throughout the remainder of dinner, my father kept asking me to iPhone google all restaurants in Vancouver where he could get a proper Lobster Thermidor. Surely, this is not normal table talk when you’re out at a restaurant. Issue number two: under-cooked vegetables. It’s not rocket science people, green beans are fairly easily to cook. One side of the bean should not be mush, and the other stiff as a rock. Issue three: dry, chewy, fish. Nothing can ruin a palette more than dry, rubbery, chewy fish. My halibut was just that on the ends of the fillet, thankfully the middle was spared this atrocity. The same however, could not be said for my sister, hard and chewy throughout. She barely finished 2/3 of her $29 plate.
I wish I could say it was just the food that was lacklustre. I am very particular about the ambience of a food establishment. I observe and quietly judge the service, the table cloths, the host, everything. The fact that on top of their perfectly fine white table cloths, this place had white poster paper was a bit disconcerting. However, this wasn’t the least enjoyable part for me, that would go to our server. Our far too talkative, small chatting server. I may be alone in this preference, but I enjoy when your server is knowledgeable, amiable, and leaves you the heck alone. This guy was the total opposite.
In conclusion, did we enjoy ourselves? No. Was the family consensus to never return? Yes. What can we learn from this boys and girls? Don’t cheat on your menu, hire cooks who understand how to handle seafood, and choose servers based on their quiet strength. Sorry Boathouse (English Bay). I’m giving you two huge thumbs down.