Sherman's Food Adventures: Copa Cafe (Vancouver)

Copa Cafe (Vancouver)

Last Monday, we were supposed to have a softball practice. Yes, I was stuffing my face in Portland; but that meant missing eating out with my softball team after practice. Almost like it was meant to be, that particular practice was rained out! I guess there is no eating without me! This Monday, I am back in town and eating with the team after practice. Again, the practice was merely a cover to go eating, I didn't really care if I caught or hit anything. Our choice of restaurants tonight was Copa Cafe out near the new Skytrain station at Cambie and King Edward. In fact, today was the inaugural day for passengers and it was free from 1:00pm - 9:00pm. The lineup at this station was out the door and almost around the block! Boy, that's a lot of people wanting to go to Richmond. At least they are not in their cars, they are safer for it.

Copa Cafe is actually run by former chefs and employees of Cafe Gloucester which is less than 10 blocks North. Therefore, the menu and food are quite similar. The decor, on the other hand, is quite a bit different. It's modern and trendy with warm colours. It could be that it's fairly new; but the restaurant is clean including the washrooms. For me, Copa reminds me of Barry Manilow's corny tune "Copacabana". I jokingly started to sing it and Dr. 911 joined in, "Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...". Another lady waiting in front began to smile at us; but Milhouse and Lionel Hutz couldn't wait to disassociate with us by heading to our table quickly. We actually messed up on the head count and found that our 2 tables were not sufficient. The staff were more than accommodating and set up a larger table immediately for us. I was impressed at their attitude regarding this inconvenience. Miss Y, as always, made a scene by wheeling in her pink
luggage into the restaurant. No, she's not a stewardess or some psychotic luggage lady. Rather, she had purchased it earlier in the day and did not want to leave it in the car. Of course, the odd behaviour didn't stop there, she decided to order Wonton Noodles... in a Hong Kong-Style Cafe! Uh, it's just like when she ordered a regular hot dog at Japadog or quiche at the Red Onion (which specializes in burgers). What's next? A Sweet and Sour Pork at a Japanese restaurant? Predictably, the wonton noodles were not very good. The soup was quite bland and the noodles were not the typical chewy ones. At least the wontons were not half bad. When you want wonton noodles, you go to some place such as Congee Noodle House or Congee Noodle King.

Almost as if she was practicing cannibalism, Hot Chocolate had... GASP! A hot chocolate! The humanity! Too bad she didn't get her dinner until almost all of us had finished. She, like 6 others, had the set meal. There is an A side and a B side to this menu. You merely mix and match to your liking. You can get A+B ($18.95), B+B ($14.95) or B+B+B ($16.95). All meals included dinner roll, soup, beverage, a choice of side and sauce. I was quite hungry and had the "triple B" meal and selected Ox Tongue (how surprising), Grilled Rib Eye and Prawn Cutlet (which was really 3 fried butterflied prawns). For $1.50, I substituted my soup (Russian Borscht or Cream Soup) with Lobster Bisque. For another $1.50, I up-sized my drink to a Jumbo Cold Horlicks (insert joke here). I blame Milhouse for this because he ordered first and I am really easily swayed by other's decisions. We both agreed that the bisque was better than expected. I chose to have my meal served on a regular plate rather than the sizzling cast iron plate. For me, I just wanted the extra room afforded by a regular plate to eat my food. The breaded prawns were pretty crunchy and the tongue was tender. However, the rib eye was quite tough and had been marinated. I really do not prefer my steaks prepared this way. Milhouse, Lionel Hutz, Bear (guess what? had the short ribs) and Mr. Blueberry all had the set meal as well. They all seemed satisfied at the quantity of food they had received. For whatever reason, Milhouse's dish looked the largest with a fried Sole Fillet that barely fit onto the plate.

Judes ordered the Lemon Chicken with Rice. She remarked that the rice was quite hard and the sauce was alright. The chicken was quite crunchy; but there seemed to be quite a bit of batter on it. I almost didn't get a picture of what Boss Woman had because she was sitting at another table. Also, much like Lionel Hutz, she is quite impatient and does not like waiting for me to take a picture first. I was able to swoop in, block her out and snap a few pics before she laid a fork into her food. Her dish was the Brisket and Vegetable with Fried Rice Noodle. It certainly looked good and she seemed happy with it. Dr. 911 had the Singapore Fried Noodles. Presented on a large plate, there was no shortage of peppers, large shrimp, onions and egg. He remarked that the noodles were firm and that it tasted quite spicy.

This was the first visit to Copa for most of us (excluding Bear and Milhouse) and we left impressed. The service was much better than anticipated, although one dude was not dressed like an employee and we were creeped out when he started to take our plates away. The food was both plentiful and on average, pretty good (as long as you don't order the wrong items). In terms of the parking at the back, Milhouse commented that, "it's as hard as pulling teeth for some people". Dr. 911 (being a dentist), begged to differ.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Reasonable prices
- Clean, comfortable environment

The Bad:
- Like any other HK-style cafe, some food gets lost in translation
- There is parking at the back, but it's tight (do you trust the other drivers?)

Copa Cafe on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Oh, c'mon, give Miss Y a break. I mean, at least she ordered a Chinese dish, not an American Chinese! :P

The food looks good for what you would expect from a HK-cafe. Though, going to one of those by yourself...

twinkienic said...

Thanks for the post! How do you compare it to Gloucester Cafe?

Sherman said...

Kim, we never give Miss Y a break! ;p

Twinkienic, I think Copa is quite similar to Gloucester in terms of food quality and price. However, it's a bit more comfortable sitting there, probably because it's new and a bit bigger. Service is still a bit hectic, but was good. I personally think you can't lose with either of them.

holly said...

Don't worry about going by yourself to the Copa. They actually cater to singles and have nice two seater booths.

Same for Cafe Gloucester, but it's a bit more squished and if you don't mind being almost elbow to elbow to other people.

I don't think you can go wrong at either cafe. Both are good hk style cafes. About the only decent ones in Vancouver.