Fine dining and kids. Now those are two things that are normally not associated with each other. You'd have better luck not having someone steal your parking spot at Aberdeen Centre. In fact, you'd have a greater chance at finding a car parked correctly there than experiencing fine dining with your kids. It just seems like there are not many nice restaurants that truly accommodate kids. Who can blame them? The whole point of fine dining is to enjoy not only the food; but the ambiance as well. Screaming kids tossing mac 'n cheese at you is not what most people are looking for when celebrating an anniversary, birthday or engagement. What if I told you about a place that not only welcomes the little ones; yet also has an actual kid's menu? Wait, what if all children 6 and under ate free? Better yet, what if you call in the next 30 minutes, you get a free garlic peeler??? Okay, the deal ain't that sweet!
Seriously, it was a pleasant surprise to find a place that we could take the entire family and not worry about what the kiddies were going to eat. Besides, my son won't even eat the simplest of things, let alone foie gras! I originally tried to make a reservation for 6 via Opentable; but just like other times, I couldn't get one. So I had to call the restaurant directly for one. I'm thinking that each restaurant only reserves a certain amount of tables for Opentable bookings. When we did arrive, there were many tables that could accommodate a party of 6 and they were not occupied throughout our meal. The table we got was awesome. It was a large round table in a semi-private corner. Excellent, the kids could do whatever and no one would notice!
The menu here is not very extensive. In fact, it's downright small. Moreover, the prices may appear a bit high, particularly for a restaurant that is pretty far removed from the Downtown core. We ordered 2 appies to share - Crab Cakes and Prawns to Share. At first glance, the crab cakes didn't seem too interesting, especially since they were not very big. Once I cut into them, it was a different story. Chalk full of fluffy crab and cream cheese, these little morsels were pretty good. The accompanying chili aoili was a bit too standard; not that it wasn't good, it just wasn't all that creative. It tasted like a chili mayo you'd get at an Izakaya. Not necessarily a bad thing, I just thought something more interesting was in order. Consisting of 10 tiger prawns, the Prawns to Share were accompanied by roasted garlic infused drawn butter and thyme flat bread. The prawns themselves were quite ho-hum; yet with a squeeze of lemon and a quick dip into the butter, they were sure tasty. Not sure if it was worth the $23.00 though.
My mom and Viv weren't too hungry and got an appetizer each. My mom got the Chowder with spot prawns, crab, leeks, potatoes, corn, bacon and scallion oil. The soup itself was served table side with the liquid being poured over the seafood. Although the table side service was impressive, it really didn't add anything to the soup. However, the soup itself was creamy and full of seafood. Viv went for the Scallop and Spinach Salad. It consisted of 3 seared scallops over a bed of spinach and bacon dressed with a maple vinaigrette. The scallops were seared beautifully with a nice caramelization; however, they were a touch overcooked. One other issue was that the spinach that came into contact with the scallops were completely wilted.
For my main, I had the 12 oz Ribeye. It rested on perfectly cooked French beans topped with blue cheese butter accompanied by a side of garlic Parmesan fries. I asked for the steak to be cooked medium-rare and it came out exactly so. I like a good butter on top of my steak; but for some strange reason, the whole thing became quite greasy and messy. I did like the blue cheese, it gave the steak some really good flavour. As for the fries, they were crispy. Nothing more I can say about them. My dad opted for the Salmon with fingerling potatoes, French beans and bacon. Similar to the chowder, the lobster emulsion was served table side. The fish itself was prepared so that it would have a crispy skin while maintaining a moist interior. We thought this was a successful dish; however, I'm not sure if it needed all that sauce. The fish was a bit lost.
My son, predictably, had the Grilled Cheese & Fries. Doesn't he ever get bored of grilled cheese? My daughter had the Mac 'n Cheese with a side of raw veggies and dip. Both meals included a choice of beverage and a dessert. My son had the chocolate brownie and my daughter had the chocolate chip cookie. Since they are both under
the age of 6, the meals were free. That's right, not only is there actually a kid's menu at EBO, it's free! Lemme help you do the math here. If you go to a chain restaurant such as Milestone's or Earl's, you would be paying roughly $20.00 per entree anyways. I'm comparing apples to oranges here because I know someone is going to point out that the burgers are under $15.00 each. If you ordered a steak or a salmon fillet, you will absolutely pay more than $20.00. At Milestone's, their kid's meals cost $10.00 and they don't even have one at Earl's. Thus, you will be paying roughly the same or even less at EBO depending on how many kids you bring to dinner.
Sure, the food wasn't perfect, it did have its flaws. But c'mon, what meal is perfect? Maybe the tasting menu at the French Laundry? If you have $240.00 to burn per person! Thus, for the equivalent price you'd have to pay at Earl's, Milestone's and the sort, you can have a good meal with your kids. Furthermore, the service we got was outstanding. Our server was friendly and sincere. But let me make one thing clear, if you don't have kids, then EBO become a little less attractive since the prices are not that cheap.
- Kid-friendly and kids under 6 eat free
- Attentive, sincere service
- Really comfortable dining room
- Limited menu
- Dishes could've used a bit more refinement