This place has so much potential to be a place of fine dining, but sadly relies on it's spectacular view rather than culinary skills. I wasn't surprised as I had heard stories from others before, but I wonder if the owners or management are aware of the general consensus of their restaurant? I posted a review on opentable.com but it looks like it either deleted or heavily edited.
Why did I go here? The occasion was my mother's birthday, so I took my mom, dad and grandma out to Top of Vancouver for lunch. I told them that it may not be as good as Salmon House or Seasons, but the view would be great, and it was. I was dead on with my prediction about the food.
Our server was fantastic, and she and the view made the experience quite pleasant. In fact, when she first brought the bread, I thought that we were off to a good start because the bread was good. Warmed, with a nice little dish of whipped butter. Unfotunately, this is probably going to be one of the last times I will use "tastes good" in this review.
Like I said, the view was outstanding, even on a cloudy day. I've been using my gift from Eric, the Olympus E-PL2 for this blog since my Nikon P100 bit the dust a few months back, and only recently started playing with some of the various settings. Thanks again Eric for the fantiastic gift! The only thing I think I would want is maybe a zoom lens and I'll shop around for one of those someday. Here I got some interesting shots with the diorama mode:
Anyways, back to the food. We ordered the Stuffed Mushroom Caps, and I've had a similar dish at The Teahouse and Seasons, but theirs run about $12. Top of Vancouver bends you over for an extra $3, and they don't taste nearly as good. The mushrooms were soaked in a pool of butter that had helped moisten the bread when we ran out of whipped butter, but the pool itself could have benefited from maybe a bit more garlic.
Presentation on this one was nice though.
Another shot of the mushrooms.
Okay, so the Lobster Bisque was a win apparently. I didn't try any myself, but my parents commented that they liked it, and said that it was rich and creamy, and actually tasted like lobster. For $12, we had one bowl split into two, and each bowl had a really decent size portion.
After the soup, it was all down-hill again. The Pan-Seared Halibut Filet for $36 must have been someone's idea of a really bad joke. We paid $36 for this dish, and really got a great view with friendly service, only to get a dried out filet of unseasoned Halibut laid out on top of some really, really cheap veg....and I'm not even a big fan of veg, but baby carrots and baby corn? It was supposed to be served with smoked salmon and baby scallops in a white wine cream sauce, but there was a small shred of smoked salmon, a couple of scallops and not nearly enough cream sauce to moisten the life back into the dried out halibut filet. On top of that, there wasn't much in flavour country.
When I saw the side veg, the only thing I could think of was Price Smart. I mean, put a little effort into it! Just look at the Lobster Tail Combo I had from Salmon House during Dine Out last year, and you can see the difference in quality. I'm glad I didn't order this for myself, but I felt bad for my mom and grandma who did.
I ordered the Braised Lamb Shank for $32 but the seasoning just wasn't there. The meat itself was not that tender either, but I could have lived with that, but bland lamb is unacceptable at $32.....with cheap garnish. I loaded up with salt and managed to finish my meal, but was severly disappointed. I guess my all-time favourite lamb is still Kisamo's. If I ever go again, I'll try the steak.
My dad ordered the BBQ Pork Ribs, again witht he cheap veg garnish (not that it really mattered in the end) for $32. For $6 less, you can go to The Keg and get a far superior rack of pork ribs. Yeah, sure, it comes with garlic mashed potatos instead of the veg garnish, but at least it tastes a whole lot better.
A few more shots of my lamb. It looks tasty, and it was large, but that's about it.
We got a comp Mango Cheesecake for my mom's birthday, and apparently, this is made in-house. This was good, no lie there. We actually liked it and were glad that the experience ended off on a tasty note. Overall, my parents and grandma were really, really impressed with the view, and our server was very friendly and professional, but the food was a bit of a fail. Actually, the ambience of the whole restaurant was a bit lack-luster as well, except for the fact that you could see a 360 degree view of Vancouver. Yes, the restaurant itself could benefit from some renovations because it was starting to show it's age. And although I said our server was very pleasant, the uniforms, if any, weren't indicative of a restaurant in it's price point. The hostess was dressed in a skimpy little thing that was a far cry from classy.
I'm not hating on the restaurant, and would love to see it do better. The place was at practically 10% capacity when we went and there were only 1 or 2 servers visible. It was practically empty, and a rating of 70% on Urban Spoon is saying there is plenty of room for improvement. This could be a really classy place, with some contemporary renos, some professionally attired servers, and a hostess that isn't dressed for clubbing. And most importantly, the food could also use some TLC