Sherman's Food Adventures: Washington Avenue Grill

Washington Avenue Grill

In the latest installment of "On the Hottest Day of the Year", Ma (not my own mom) and I made our way out to White Rock for some lunch. I owed her some money and decided to repay her with a nice meal. So with the T-tops off, we hopped into her 300ZX. It was a pleasant ride, except for the really hot wind that kept blowing in my face and the sun beating down on me. We decided to try out the Washington Avenue Grill right on Marine Drive. WAG, as it's called is affiliated with The Vault out in Cloverdale. That would probably explain a familiarity with the menu at first glance. Situated in an old house right on the beach, WAG offers a beautiful view and a nice sea breeze. That breeze was very welcome since there was no A/C. I personally think I'm on a streak in visiting non-A/C restaurants in the last month (also the hottest month so far).

We started off with 2 appies, Dry Ribs and Rice Noodle Wrapped Fried Shrimp. Fried probably a tad too long, the dry ribs were indeed dry; but the dipping sauce helped rectify it. The fried shrimp reminded me of the ones I had at Eat Vancouver, which is actually a good thing. Encrusted with a crispy noodle coating, the perfectly fried shrimp were a delight to eat. For our mains, I went for the Seafood Hot Pot. I assumed it would arrive in an actual hot pot; however, it was served in a large square bowl instead. Maybe it was cooked in a hot pot? A bounty of shrimp, salmon, halibut and mussels resting on top of rice noodles were bathed in a considerable amount of red curry broth. The whole dish would've benefited from a little less broth. Not only does it hinder the presentation of the seafood; it would be a little hard to finish it all anyways. I had to order a side of bread to soak up some of the liquid. With that being said, the seafood was fresh and cooked perfectly. The broth itself was quite light and did not overwhelm. Ma had the Chicken Penne with Portabello Mushroom Sauce. This dish was very rich. The pine nuts on top added both texture and flavour to the pasta.

For dessert, I had to go with the NY Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote. It was beautifully presented. Despite being rich, the cheesecake was not all that smooth. It almost had a doughy quality to it. Taste wise, I really liked the blueberries - good flavour without being too sweet. However, I wished there was a stronger cream cheese taste. On the other hand, Ma's souffle was outstanding. It was chocolate decadence without being overly sweet. The sweetness came in the form of ice cream on top of the souffle. The overall experience at WAG was pretty good. The beautiful scenery on a nice day with the cool sea breeze in between bouts of heat and sweat added to the ambiance. In addition to the view, the location has loads of character and charm. The food was more than acceptable, if not a bit standard. Prices were very reasonable for the venue and the portion size. However, I didn't notice until we were gone that I had been charged much more than the menu prices. I'm not sure how that happened. Either the server made a mistake and charged me dinner prices or the menu prices had changed. Whatever the case, that bothered me somewhat. But, I won't take away the fact that the service was very good. Much like the Vault, WAG doesn't blow me away; yet it is a decent place to grab some food and enjoy the view.

The Good:
- Excellent venue, inside and out
- Reasonable prices and good portion sizes
- Good service

The Bad:
- Food was not bad, yet it was predictable
- Discrepancy between bill and menu prices

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