Coast Restaurant, part of the famed Glowbal Group, is a seafood establishment located in downtown Vancouver. Situated on Alberni Street near Burrard, Coast is popular for their fresh British Columbia seafood including their colossal seafood towers.
It was Gary’s birthday last week (a monumental birthday for that matter) so I made reservations at Coast since, surprisingly, we had never been to this particular Glowbal restaurant and my hubby was in the mood for seafood. We have always had good experiences with the Glowbal Group, i.e. Trattoria in Kitsilano, so we were expecting a smooth evening. However that wasn’t entirely the case at this restaurant.
We were seated at a lovely table for two and greeted by a friendly server and presented with large menus. Our table was topped with Ikea-esque placemats, resting on white paper, over linen tablecloths. The paper tablecloth reminded me of the Macaroni Grill in Victoria where they provide crayons to children so they can draw on the table to occupy themselves during the meal. Coast’s menus are massive and include a lot of items to choose from – everything from sushi to filet mignon to an über tempting lobster mac n’ cheese!
For drinks, I decided on a Basil Beach ($13.00) cocktail that included Bacardi rum, Cassis, basil, ginger, and lemon juice. What was served to me didn’t taste at all what the menu described, however, my drink was divine and I could taste a hint of lime and plenty of refreshing cucumber slices. For my meal, I chose a prawn cocktail for my appetizer and the salmon for my main course. Gary decided to order a few dishes on the menu: oysters, mussels, crab cakes, etc. to taste the range of offered seafood at Coast.
Jumbo Tiger Prawn Cocktail ($16.95) – These prawns were large, yes, but I wouldn’t exactly call them jumbo. When I think of jumbo tiger prawns, I think of the size served at El Pescador. The other part of this dish that was disappointing was the fact that it only included three prawns…for almost seventeen dollars! Had I known this “cocktail” only consisted of three prawns, I would have certainly ordered something else. Even though the presentation was lovely, the kitchen loaded up on condiments and garnish to make the dish appear larger that it actually was. On a positive note, the prawns themselves were crunchy and perfectly cooked.
Dungeness Crab Cake ($16.95) – Coast’s original crab cake with fennel salad and house-made tartar sauce. The salad was more of a garnish than an actual salad and the fennel flavour was subtle as the salad consisted of mostly mixed greens. The crab cake was fabulously moist and contained plenty of crab meat.
The Classic Mussels ($18.95) – Steamed in Chardonnay, garlic, leeks, and Italian parsley, these mussels were served with frites and mayo dip on the side. The chips were fantastic. However, the problem with the mussels was that one third of the mussels did not open: aka they were dead and shouldn’t be consumed. Gary also ordered half a dozen raw oysters (between $1.95 to $3.25 each) and requested a variety of the best/freshest. The oysters were served on a bed of ice with lemon, mignonette and house-made cocktail sauce. However, one dozen of only two kinds of oysters were served to our table by mistake. Our server apologized and told Gary to eat all twelve anyway. He explained that he didn’t think he could eat twelve all by himself since his wife doesn’t eat raw oysters, and he didn’t want them to go to waste because he had ordered other dishes as well – the reason why he only ordered six oysters in the the first place!
Salmon ($30.95) – Caught off the mouth of the Skeena River B.C., aboard the Sea Trek, this salmon was served with lobster & mascarpone polenta, forno roasted tomatoes broccolini and herb beurre blanc. The problem with my salmon was that it was too rare. I like cooked fish to be palpably moist yet easily flaked with a fork. Mine was dry on the exterior rim and cold and raw in the interior. Our server offered to bring out other plate of salmon. To our surprise, the second piece of salmon was equally as raw in the middle! The server told us it was the “colour of the fish” that made it appear so rare. Actually, it was because the fish was cold and raw in the middle. There’s rare and there’s raw. I don’t know anyone who enjoys their salmon cooked the way a blue steak would be cooked. Why not just order salmon sashimi!
A trio of desserts appeared at the end of our meal with “Happy Birthday” (which I had requested) written on the platter. From left to right: The first dessert was two chocolate lollipops containing actual “Pop Rocks” candy. Yes, the very same kind you used to buy when you were a kid. I didn’t know Pop Rocks were still sold! The second dessert was two pieces of chocolate covered honeycomb that tasted exactly like “Crunchie” chocolate bars. The last of the trio were two chocolate truffles topped with mascarpone whip and drizzled with berry coulis. We were confused by the amount of cream placed over each truffle. It seemed excessive – we couldn’t even see the truffles. Overall, I can see children really enjoying this platter of treats, but we had anticipated that Coast, an upscale restaurant, would serve something a little more sophisticated for dessert.
Overall, Coast Restaurant offers a lovely decor, pleasant ambiance and good service. The supervisor, who genuinely felt badly about our evening, served Gary some clam chowder to make up for all the dead mussels. He also took the mussels and salmon off our bill, which was appreciated. Disappointingly, it seemed like the kitchen was not at the top of their game during our particular visit. Therefore, in terms of food, this seafood restaurant serves great starches – their fries, bread, and polenta were superb! Moreover, prices at Coast are expensive for the small appetizer and main course portion sizes that are offered.