I first heard of this place from Janice, over at Good Eat, and at first I thought I'd never been to this place, but then soon realized, I'd been here when it was under another name. I think it was once known as Dave's on the Pier or something like that. As I recall, my experience during that time was absolutely pathetic. The place was dead, and we were literally the only customers in there. We ordered the fish and chips, and ended up getting two measily slabs of Captain Highliner or possibly even Kirkland's (Costco's generic brand) frozen fish. They were fish bits re-assembled into a mold and I swear they looked exactly like these:
Either they ran out of regular fish, or the company was planning on closing and never bothered to restock their inventory. Either way, it sucked @$$ and they charged more than Dave's Fish and Chips on Moncton. I swore I'd never return, but it seems that they must have changed owners because any number of times, I'd walk by this restaurant and I never saw what I ate that one time. The fish always looked, well, real. Never again, did I see the instant fish sticks that I had the day I went. Besides that, this place was packed. I guess it might have had something do with a pier that was packed full of tourists.
I almost want to say the view of the harbour was spectacular, especially on a hot sunny day, but I grew up in Richmond, and I've seen this view about a million times,
I think they're trying for the fine-dining, but it just doesn't make it. The bound menu and the linen are a nice touch, but when you open your eyes to the rest of the restaurant, it's not quite there.
When our meals came, the first thing that popped into my mind was tacky plates, and the fish is a little smallish isn't it? The prices at Sockey City Grill certainly aren't competitive, and I was a little disappointed with the portions. It looked like they even skimped on the fries. I ordered the Oysters and Chips and the oysters were tasty, but tiny. We're not talkin the large oysters you can get at T & T for less about $1 something each, these were more the smaller $0.79 ones. The fries were okay....I wonder if they were made in house (I doubt it) and the coleslaw had raisins in it. The tartar sauce was good (had garlic in it), but the presentation was cheap...just a very small plastic cup. $17 for 4 smallish oysters and a pile of unseasoned fries. Good dip though.
The two peice cod and chips will set you back $14, and size-wise, they weren't very far off the mark from Captain Highliner's Fish Sticks. These guys were definitely overbattered to make up for their shortcomings in the meat department. We definitely got the bottom of the barrel here.
I tried to make the fish and oysters look massive in the pictures, but I don't think I was able too. Anyway, complaints about the food, decor and some of the service aside, Sockeye City Grill did have one saving grace. Our server James, who happened to be the manager, provided phenominal service. He was friendly, attentive, and made sure were were comfortable and okay at all times. I'm pretty sure he had no idea I was there to blog about the place, but regardless, he was really good. Someone like him could definely do better as a professional server, because Sockeye City Grill might be too far gone to save. They count on tourist $$, and when the pier is packed and there's nowhere else to go, they will definitely get customers, but the place could be so much better. James, if you're reading this, excellent service, my kudos to you. A few suggestions: Telll the owner to figure out if they want to go high-end or family restaurant.....make up their minds! If they wanna go high end, the place desperately needs a reno. The prices are high-end, but the food ain't. Either slash prices, or more fish for the $$. Oh yeah, get rid of the receptionist pictured above, she's a waste of space.