Posts in category "- Burnaby"

Pho 101

If a restaurant is totally out of the way and feels like you took multiple turns to get there, it better be worth it. That particular restaurant where it took many left and right turns to get to was Pho 101 in Burnaby.

It was a cold rainy dreary day so the comfort food craving kicked in. When I think of solid stomach filling comfort food, I gravitate toward 2 different types of cuisines: pho noodle soup and congee. And this particular day my gut and shivering self was wanting pho. I only picked Pho 101 based on the decent reviews found on UrbanSpoon.

Pho 101 is located on Hastings in North Burnaby. Tucked in a little plaza with some parking and probably gets constant patronage from the neighboring school. When we arrived to the small clean restaurant, we were immediately seated and straight away skimmed the small menu. Pho 101′s selection of dishes is small but varied. They have the standard fare of banh mi sandwiches, rices, appetizers and noodle soups. As we were all starving, we started with a couple of appys to share.

First we got the shareable spring rolls

It was a basic deep fried spring roll with minced pork and shrimp, vermicelli, carrot, and mushroom. It seemed to have all the ingredients except for the shrimp. Of course, it was greasy and crunchy but nicely packed with the ingredients.

Next came the ‘familiar’ looking chicken wings

It’s flavoured deep fried chicken wings served with a side of lemon and pepper sauce. And when I mean familiar,
I mean it’s very brave of them to try put it on their menu that made Phnom Penh famous. The comparison was inevitable.  Their chicken wings were crispy but not as crunchy as Phnom Penh’s version and also not as flavourful.  The dish in general was just ok.

For myself, I go the Pho with a bit of everything.  Large plates of the usual garnishes of sprouts, thai basil, and lime were brought to our table…..did wish they added jalapeno or chilli pepper.

I got one with rare steak, flank, and tripe.  It was still a pretty large bowl of noodle soup even though I ordered the ‘regular’ size.  It was a bowl with a generous serving of the meats and the broth was good but wished it was a bit lighter.  After we finished lunch there, I was left with a slight after taste which meant (well for me) that broth was a touch too much seasoning.

We left with our bellys full and a need for an afternoon food coma nap.  Pho 101 is decent and a good place to go to if you live or work in the area. But it hasn’t reached cult status to make it worth the trip to try out

Pho 101
Burnaby North
5937 Hastings Street
Pho 101 on Urbanspoon

EBO Restaurant and Lounge

For our departmental dinner, we went to the closest restaurant that could hold more than 20 people and wasn’t a Cactus Club / Earl’s / Swiss Chalet. That restaurant was EBO Restaurant and Lounge which is part of the Grand Villa Casino at the Delta Burnaby Hotel. Having a hotel and casino in the middle of tech industrial land seems like an odd location. I always wondered what kind of crowd you might find there. Well… a friend went there recently for a girls’ night and she said it looked like the Real Housewives of BC were congregating at the hotel club/lounge.

When we went for the dinner, it was a pretty tame night as it was a week day. When we arrived, the large restaurant was pretty empty and our long table was situated awkwardly in the middle.

We started off with a few plates of calamari and tomatoes and mozzarella to share as we scanned the menu. I didn’t get a chance to snap pictures of the appetizers because it was shared. The calamari is a dish of crispy Lemon Fried Squid, Fresh Coriander and Chili Dip, Scallions. The calamari came out nice and hot but it seemed like a small portion for the price. The tomato and mozzarella consisted of fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh bocconcini, basil, aged balsamic and arbequino.

The full dinner menu is very limited and the prices were on the ‘fine dining’ level. My eyes went straight for the ‘Roasted Squash Brick’…I am such a sucker for kitschy named foods.

I should have asked our waitress to clarify what the dish was about. On the menu it’s described as Roasted Local Winter Squash and Ricotta in Brick Pastry, Cauliflower “cous cous” Verjus Vinaigrette. When the plate arrived, I immediately thought ‘squash spring roll’. It was pretty much pureed squash wrapped up in something similar to a spring roll wrapper deep fried. This is my second time at a restaurant where I felt I was ‘bamboozled’ by the menu description and it turns out to be, really, a spring roll of some sort. It’s not called a ‘dumpling’ when it comes out in a tube shape and deep fried! I was hungry so I ended up just finishing up my meal.

Even though my dish didn’t seem up to par, my coworkers seemed to have faired better with their choices.

One picked the Rare rice-Crusted albacore tuna Steak, Avocado Puree, asparagus with Serano Ham with chili gastrique

The Grilled Steak and Frites was very well received

Choice of ribeye, strip loin, steak skirt, or smoked bacon wrapped bison with sauteed seasonal mushrooms, french beans, garlic and parmesan fries. I had a nibble of the fries and it was pretty good and crispy.

And for dessert, our wonderful Marketing Coordinator ordered the ever so delicious Dairy Queen ice cream cake as there were a few birthdays to celebrate. EBO also provided chocolate truffles for us to enjoy.

Ebo’s menu comprises of the basic hotel food at prices that seem high for the area. Even though the food seemed to be hit or miss that night, the waitress who tended our table was very attentive and professional.

EBO Restaurant and Lounge
4331 Dominion street
Burnaby, BC V5G
EBO at the Delta Burnaby on Urbanspoon

Sushi Garden

I’ve always been a huge advocate of quality delicate sushi thus you’ll rarely find me at an AYCS (all you can stuff) or ‘quantity over quality’ sushi restaurants. Sushi Garden fits the latter but for its price and portions one can’t really critique about its quality.

It was a reunion dinner with an old Air Canada coworker friend and we so happen to work in the same area in Burnaby. So one day after work, she came by to pick me up and we headed to Sushi Garden for a quick dinner. This popular Burnaby sushi restaurant first opened near Metrotown where it was a well liked ‘hidden gem’. The hidden gem grew, expanded, and became a Japanese food factory..churning out food and turning over tables as fast as possible.  And that’s why I’ve stopped going to its Metrotown location.

When we arrived, we waited for about 15 minutes before we got a table. My friend mentioned that this place seems to be perpetually busy.

To start, we ordered the spicy tuna sashimi which was completely covered in a spicy sweet sauce

We then chose two sushi rolls

First was the ‘kitschy’ Island roll which was cooked tuna, fish flake topped with kiwi sauce. I’m guessing the tuna came out of the can and entirely not sure why they decided to add the very sweet kiwi sauce. I also picked my regular go to spicy chopped scallop roll. Once again there was way too much spicy sauce in it to the point I couldn’t tell if scallop was in the roll.

Lately I’ve been having a thing for udon so I suggested to try the Mentaiko Udon

It’s udon noodle stir fried in cod roe sauce. I actually liked this comforting dish: the udon was cooked well in a nice light sauce topped with green onion and nori.

At this point, we’ve had a lot of carbs so we barely touched the tako yaki

We had a piece or 2 each but all we tasted was mostly the dough and not much octopus.

For variety and cheap bites, and you don’t mind the aloof service, then places like Sushi Garden would be a choice. I rather go to a small little spot with smiling chefs who are focused in preparing sushi as a delicacy.

Sushi Garden
4269 Lougheed Highway
Burnaby, BC V5C
Sushi Garden (Lougheed) on Urbanspoon