Saturday, August 7, 2010

We Should Have Gotten Back on the Trolley . . .

and kept going. But no. After photographing the views (yesterday's entry), we decided to stay and have lunch at the Prospect Point Cafe & Lions Gate Bar.

www.DineHere.ca describes the cafe: "...nestled on the cliff side, you will find a grand view deck over-looking the Lions Gate Bridge, seating over 200 people. The Prospect Point Cafe specializes in West Coast cuisine, with wild BC (British Columbia) Salmon as the specialty. There is also a great selection of casual comfort food including pastas, burgers, rice bowls, pizzas and of course their famous Fish & Chips.”

We entered the café at about 12:30 p.m. and found the restaurant almost empty. Maybe that should have been a clue. We had our choice of sitting at one of the umbrella tables on the patio or inside on the “view deck.” We chose inside and were seated at a table next to an open window where we had a nice, if somewhat obscured by trees, view of the bridge.

We are always interested in the prospect (pun intended) of grazing from the appetizers menu but the limited and uninspiring selections (Edamame, Montreal Poutine, Cod Fish Poppers, Chicken Tenders, BC Garlic Prawns) didn’t excite either of us.

Since British Columbia salmon is considered to be the house specialty, I reviewed the list of salmon salads, sandwiches, and entrees. The Wild BC Salmon Burger, a salmon fillet with wasabi mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onions sounded interesting. So did the Warm Salmon Salad with grilled salmon, mixed greens, and soy-ginger-garlic dressing or the Hot Salmon Caesar Salad with a wild BC sockeye salmon fillet. Among the cold smoked salmon plates was: the Smoked Salmon Plate with wild smoked sockeye salmon, capers, cream cheese, and crostini; the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwich; and the Wild Smoked Salmon Caesar.

And for smoked salmon entrees there were the Simply Grilled Salmon, Cedar Plank Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon, Pine-Nut Pesto Salmon, Maple Glazed Salmon, Zesty Citron Salmon, Fresh Ginger Garlic Salmon the Grilled Salmon Burger, Hot Salmon Caesar Salad, Smoked Salmon Linguine, and Grilled Pesto Salmon Fettuccine.

Faced with this multitude of choices, I finally settled on the smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich. I’ll begin by admitting that the smoked salmon was first class, although I would have liked more of it. The fish was moist and tender, was not heavily smoked, and had an intensity of flavor without being overly “fishy.” I am fond of salmon that has been cured or smoked, since the removal of moisture concentrates the salmon taste. The bagel on which the salmon sat was mediocre at best and the squiggles of the promised cream cheese added nothing to the sandwich. I think I would have been better served by the salmon plate with crostini.

We have been taking the Skytrain into the city and leaving the truck at home (or in the train parking lot), so we have not made plans for where to eat lunch. We tend to find the nearest spot when hunger strikes. A little advanced research would have led me to this comment on yelp.ca: “Should never have ended up hungry here. I cannot say 'TOURIST TRAP' loud enough. $15 for some greasy tasteless fish and chips. Service was ambivalent at best. The view is largely obstructed and not nearly as good as the lookout itself.”

It was Chuck’s misfortune to order the fish and chips and I think that the yelp.ca writer’s comments are an accurate reflection of our opinion.

The minute his plate hit the table, I could tell that the fish were greasy. While they didn’t have an “off” taste, I am sure that this is a case of not changing the cooking oil often enough. And, while I realize that fried fish sometimes becomes dry around the edges while the center is still cooking, neither of his pieces of cod had a flake left in them. The fries that accompanied both of our dishes were OK. Just OK.

And the above reviewer’s comments about the service rings true. Although the Prospect Point Café’s staff are not the only ones who have seemed to disappear after bringing our food to the table. Trying to get a refill on water or iced tea requires setting off a cannon to get the servers attention.

Based on the quality of the salmon, I would give my smoked salmon sandwich 4.0 Addies, but Chuck’s fish and chips earns no more than 2.0 Addies--and believe me, I’m being generous.