Okay, it’s not downtown Vancouver – but it was a great dinner so we’re going to fudge the rules a little on this one so I can tell you all about it. (What’s the point of being in charge if you have to always follow your own rules?!?)
As part of this past week’s World Culture Month tour for the Fraser Valley Regional Library system, I was provided with a stay at the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack the first night of my tour. It was almost dinner time when I arrived, and the hotel restaurant – Prestons - was calling to my rumbling stomach.
The first thing I noticed was the uniforms the servers had on. Gorgeous, violet dresses which stood out nicely against the muted tones of the dining room. It was a nice change from the standard black and white that most servers are sporting these days.
I decided to sit in the dining room instead of the lounge, as the view of the mountains and the duck pond was more easily visible from there. Brittany (my server) was very helpful and once I had decided on the calamari as a starter, she recommended the house white – Prospect Point Pinot Gris from BC – as a pairing since it was on special for $5 a glass. The wine was tasty, with hints of apples, pears and lemongrass. It was nice and smooth, with a good mouthfeel – not too viscous but still coats the tongue with flavour as it goes down.
The calamari was grilled, naked, and spiral cut so it was interesting to eat. Rolled almost like a sushi roll, it was topped with olive tapenade and served on a bed of arugula. Like all grilled calamari I’ve ever had, there is a risk of chewiness from overcooking, but the spiral cut and the light hand of the chef made sure this wasn’t a problem. I found the overall taste a bit smoky and on the bitter side with the way the flavours came together (and the charcoaly taste), but with the lemon squeezed on top the citrus brightened the flavour up a bit. The portion size was quite large, and because I was on my own I found myself not quite finishing it to make sure that I left room for my entree. I found the charcoal taste from the grill and the olive tapenade overpowered the lighter fruity flavours in the wine, so I would probably try pairing something a bit more robust if I had this dish again. Perhaps even a citrus based cocktail.
For a main course, I was in the mood for some red meat and ordered the top sirloin with fingerling potatoes. The steak was melt in my mouth tender and cooked to a perfect medium as requested, and the veggies were crisp, bright and not overdone. Although the potatoes didn’t have a lot of seasoning on them, they were nice and moist and were an excellent way to convey the very delicious jus to my mouth. It was like grandma’s gravy with some serious class – a bit sweet, a bit citrusy, and straight up tasty. The verdict on the main overall?
I did get all crazy and have a glass of red with my entree. Brittany recommended the Pascal Toso Malbec from Argentina, which was smooth, smoky and rich. Also, budget-friendly at $8 per glass. Full bodied, it had a bit of a mineral, or earthy, flavour and stood up nicely to the steak and jus combination.
Even though I was quite full, I was also aware that there was a pool on site and was planning to hit the gym and then do a few laps to tire myself out before bedtime and work off my dinner. Sooo, when I saw the Vanilla Matcha Creme Brûlée with Mini Sugared Donuts on the dessert menu there really wasn’t much hesitation. The number of laps I was committing to in the pool went up, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t regret it.
There was a moment of heartbreak when Brittany returned to tell me that the people before me had just laid claim to the last order of creme brûlée in the house, but I’m taking it as a sign that I’m meant to go back to the Coast again someday in the near future when Jared can come with me. Creme brûlée has always been his favourite, and I watched the people enjoy their mini donuts with envy. We’ve got several tasty looking reasons to return!
Thumbs up to the social media team at Coast too. Before I left the restaurant, they’d already sent me a reply to my tweet to see how everything was going after I’d posted I was planning to have dinner there!
TIP: check your room BEFORE you hit the restaurant for dinner. I discovered a 30% off lunch or dinner coupon in the room when I went upstairs ; ) Not sure how long that promo will be on, but it’s definitely worth taking advantage of. The prices were reasonable (fine dining atmosphere with upscale pub in Vancouver pricing) but saving your pennies while living it up just means you’ll be able to indulge yourself even more!
Great place to stay, as well as eat. Rooms were clean, the bed was amazingly comfortable, the business centre came in very handy prepping for my presentation, and staff members were all helpful and friendly. The pool was chilly (great for doing laps) but the hot tub and sauna more than made up for it! Two thumbs up for the Coast Hotel in Chilliwack.