Sherman's Food Adventures: The Reef

The Reef

The return of good weather in the GVRD also signals the start of softball season. Our team had it's first game today and we were a bit short. We did have enough players to field a team, but barely enough. We did our best, but lost 16-11. Uncharacteristically I had 2 home runs and 7 RBIs. I think the rest of the team was wondering why I don't do that more often. Well, I'm not sure if I can do it more often! LOL... After the game, we decided to go for something a bit different than our usual Asian-inspired meals. So off we headed to The Reef on Main street in Vancouver. There are actually 2 more locations on
Commercial Drive and in Victoria.

The Reef serves up Caribbean food in a casual atmosphere with plenty of loud music. 4 other members of my team joined me in this food adventure, giving me much more to talk about! We started off with the complimentary Johnny Cakes. They're essentially fried dough balls. Strange that such a simple thing can taste so good. After that we shared some Plantain Chips with Jerk Mayo. The chips were a bit under-fried, but the spicy jerk mayo made the dish a real winner. The starchiness of the plantain was given a real kick and smoothness from the mayo.

Judes had the Island Thyme Chicken which is marinated in coconut milk and slow cooked in Jamaican thyme. I tried the chicken and my first impression led me to believe it was overcooked. However, this is a result of slow-cooking it. Admittedly, it was a bit dry (it was the breast meat); yet with the hits of coconut and thyme, it tasted great.

I had the Maracus Bay Mahi Mahi which is pan-seared in lime and curry served on a bed of coconut rice. The star of the dish was actually the apple and cho cho (chayote) slaw. The crunchiness and tartness of the slaw really added a nice texture contrast between the soft fish and rice. The fish itself was a bit overcooked; yet it was still moist. I think they were a bit heavy with the lime because the fish became very tart, especially combined with the slaw. Fortunately, the smooth coconut rice brought the flavours down a level and everything seemed to work well once you got a little of everything in one bite.

Lionel Hutz had the Molassy Ribs which have been "loved" by chipotle and brown sugar. I tried this too and it was pretty spicy and rich. The meat was tender, yet not mushy. I thought the ribs were okay, but with such bold flavours, I really didn't taste much else. Lionel Hutz made a point to say that the coleslaw was sour. We weren't sure if it was supposed to taste that way or not. Boss Woman had the Curry Chicken and she didn't really like it. To me, it looked okay, and the mango chutney looked appetizing. However, she said the chicken was dry since they shredded it into the curry. I think it's supposed to be made this way; but I guess it wasn't the type of curry that she normally likes. Hey, you can't really argue with personal tastes.

Milhouse had the Jerk Salmon and it looked like it was a bit overcooked. Well, with anything in jerk spices, it'll always looked overcooked. However, the salmon looked cooked all the way through and if it was like my Mahi Mahi, then it might've been dry. Alas, Milhouse seemed like he enjoyed it, so I'm going to assume it was okay.

The Reef is definitely a distinctive place. The atmosphere was funky and decor was run-down
trendy. Moreover, the food is not something you can find readily in the GVRD. There were some issues with the food; but overall, I liked the flavours. To me, the food may have been overcooked; however, it could be that I'm used to and prefer just barely cooked meats. Despite this, I still enjoyed eating at The Reef.

The Good:
- Funky atmosphere
- Bold flavours
- Something a little bit different

The Bad:
- Overcooked food?
- Sometimes flavours were too bold, overpowered the dish

The Reef
4172 Main Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Reef on Urbanspoon