Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday dinner #2 - Joe Forte's, smoking dog bistro, and (regional tasting lounge)

So, there was a little funny story to this birthday of mine.
I got upset at Jordan for letting me plan everything myself.  I know, I know.... being a guy, he just thinks that it's the best if I plan everything myself so that I'd get everything I want.

But I don't want that!!

I just want a quiet  and relaxing birthday - I just don't want to plan!!! I'd be pleased with anything he plans, even if it were a free burger at Red Robin's! Anyhow.... so I got upset :(

Him, being the insensitive and man of the men and know that I simply can't resist seafood, surprised me with a seafood dinners weekend. LOL So now, after my crab dinner at The Keg, we are back to Joe Forte's (right across the street from the Keg) for more seafood!

Bread - with balsamic vinegar and lobster oil (3/5)
Seafood tower on Ice - 2 tiers - $60/person 3/5
The Bread - I loved the lobster oil.  But it was just, cooking lobster shells and heads in olive oil..... I don't understand how it can be sold for $22/bottle when it is easily replicated at home.. (with the waste parts too!) I'd recommend to make this at home if you love lobster - why wasting the shells and everything right? :)

The seafood tower - what a disappointment!  It was composed of (from top, clock wise) salmon fillet, oyster rock feller, steamed half lobster, dungeness crab, seared scallops and (middle) steamed mussels in white wine scarce.  The salmons were really really dry and tough; though the dill flavour really came through.  The mussels were the worst; they had a foul smell to them.  (This was the biggest turn off, as I didn't expect the mussels to smell funky... it didn't have to be fresh, but unsanitary was a whole different story!  Jordan had a mild allergic attack after consuming the food.... and I am suspecting the dirty mussels)
Our favs of the dish were the scallops and the oyster Rockefeller.
The scallops were really nicely seared and with a perfect doneness being plump.  It was bouncy and sweet; a great sign for it being fresh.  The Oyster Rockefeller, well, hands down for it to be their signature dish.  It was garlicky, sweet, savoury, crunchy and creamy... all the greatest flavour and texture combinations you can ask for!  A little splash of lemon cuts down the richness of the sauce a little and it was super heavenly!  

The ambiance tho was a bit too touristy - it almost seemed like everyone in the restaurant were a tourist.... our server wasn't very attentive either and we had to ask multiple times just for our water to be filled.  He only came around to take our orders and basically to give us our bill.  I didn't feel welcomed or well taken care of and really was a bit disappointed.

Food - 2.5/5 (fairly average for the quality....)
Service - 2.5/5 (not very attentive
Ambiance - 3.5/5 - great if you are a tourist!  but it looked a bit dated for me...

The smoking dog bistro - bouillabaisse - 3/5
I planned my girl's night out with the girls on the day of my birthday; so I picked the Smoking Dog Bistro in kits.  There were many more dishes ordered and other than the bouillabaisse I also tried the escargot as well as the baked brie.  The escargot was a tad too salty but it was plenty garlicky and buttery - but it was really salty....  The baked brie tho was creamy and paired well with the balsamic vinegar, cranberry, and (esp) the garlic!  
My bouillabaisse tho, was quite bland.  The saffron broth lacked any depth or flavour, the seafood was predominantly mussels and that piece of toasted bread was like a joke.... There were some spicy mayo at the bottom of the bread that not only made the bread soggy but also made no sense at all.  I didn't enjoy it very much.
However, what made the night was the company and also Jordan's second surprise.  

He phoned the restaurant and paid for all of our meals!

It was definitely a surprise and although a tad cheesy, it was definitely a plus point among all my girl friends :) A word of advice for all you boys out there: 
it is feasible - so try impress your girl's girls with this! 

Service for the night was great too; but that could have been because we were the only customers there.  We received all the attentions and even got a glass of wine on house!

Food - 2.5/5 - really average food...
Service - 4/5 - minus for server watching hockey during work
ambiance - 3.5/5 - not exactly romantic but definitely casual and comfortable

Bread chipotle butter - 2.5/5

Another day for my bday in yaletown with my faux sister - Sophi <3 we were roommate for 3 years in Toronto and she's just like my little sister; probably the closest person to me other than Jordan and my mother. :)  We headed to R.TL (Regional Tasting Lounge) in yale town for my bday gathering.

It really took me by surprise that a restaurant of this calibre is charging extra for the bread.  At $5, it does not live up to what it is at all.  The bread was cold and the chipotle butter was nothing special.  I wouldn't order this again; and I don't think you should either.  It's just not worth it!

We ordered the "La Formule for two" that was composed of :
Mussels - green curry - 3/5

(From left to right) Szechuan steak sliced flank, vegetables & spices 1.5/5 ; (choice) wild mushrooms 3/5;  mushroom  & truffle risotto, wild mushrooms, shaved parmesan 3/5

dessert - 
saffron gelato rose water, pistachio, crème congelé 

The mussels were really flavourful with a lot of lemon grass flavour.  However the steak was so tough that I could barely chew.  I liked the risotto as the truffle oil really came through and the rice was al dante.  (I love truffle oil so... it might be a bit overwhelming for some...)

The whole meal was $55 (+$5 bread) and Sophia and I ordered a bottle of wine to share.  It was definitely  not the best value but given the ambiance and the service (quite nice; but it was slow when we went in...) it was Okay.  

Food - 2.5/5 - mediocre at best - maybe we didn't order the right items?
Service - 3.5/5 - very good - but it was slow when we went in!
Ambiance - 3/5 - not the most romantic place; but definitely cute and chic

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House on Urbanspoon Smoking Dog Bistro on Urbanspoon Regional Tasting Lounge on Urbanspoon

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