Sherman's Food Adventures: Enigma


For once, I didn't have food on my mind during our Monday softball game. You see, I had made a seafood soup prior and had a couple of bowls. Inevitably, my teammates would try to bring up the topic of food. Why? Well, I think they look forward to a food adventure too! But lately, I've been passing the buck to Bear so I cannot be blamed for a bad restaurant choice! Since last year, we've been meaning to visit Enigma. Getting dangerously close to UBC, this is not a place that was exactly close to me. So when we found out that our game was at Byng, it was time to take advantage of it being in the vicinity. Once again, we were not exactly looking and smelling our best; thus we stood out like a sore thumb. I'm sure we have a hand in clearing out restaurants when we arrive. But that could be just attributed to Lionel Hutz because he comes across as a hybrid of a gangster and a lawyer. Yah, a very scary sight indeed. This time around, there was a formal function of sorts that took over half of the restaurant. Everyone was dressed quite nicely. I felt a bit out-of-place strolling by with my shorts and t-shirt.

We didn't have any reservations and the place was quite busy for a Monday. As mentioned, there was some company event on one side of the restaurant. With the limited amount of seating available, the staff were very accommodating to seat us and then when people left, provide a better seating arrangement. One strange thing about the place is the location of the washrooms. Getting to them is akin to an episode of the X-Files. You walk across the restaurant, through a walkway, then down a flight of stairs, down a corridor and then washroom. I was surprised I didn't have to use any flashlights or run into an alien along the way. We had a pretty large group for dinner tonight with the likes of Bear, Judes, Milhouse, Lionel Hutz, Hot Chocolate, Miss Y, Silent Bob and former teammate TS (eating_club Vancouver). Apparently she decided to join us since it was within her restaurant radius. Anything out of that radius is considered "too far". No, we didn't invite Kim. We don't need a waterboy for our softball team...

We were started off with some complimentary French bread and it was fantastic. Pillowy soft on the inside, crusty on the outside and served warm, this was an above-average complimentary bread. For myself, I decided to get the Baked Brie Dip to start. I figured for $10.00, it would be a modest amount of brie with some bread. I figured wrong. The dip was freakin' huge with a nice mix of brie and cranberries. The result was a lighter-than-expected mixture that was slightly sweet. Our server offered more bread since there is obviously not enough on the plate. For those who tried the dip, they all agreed it was pretty good and a great value. For my main, once again I went for lamb - Braised Lamb Shoulder with rosemary demi-glace, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. There was a generous portion of lamb swimming in an aggressively seasoned demi-glace. I had mixed feelings about the sauce because on one hand, it was so flavourful I lost the taste of lamb. On the other, it was extremely tasty with a predominant hits of red wine and rosemary. The lamb itself was quite tender while dry in a few spots.

Miss Y continued her "alternate reality" when ordering her food. She went for the Lamb Curry. Just like her quiche at the Red Onion, regular hot dog at Japadog and wonton noodles at Copa, she loves to go off the beaten path. However, in this case at least, she felt that the curry was quite tasty with plenty of lamb. Not so much with the naan though. TS went for the Beef Carpaccio and a side order of Yam Fries. Apparently she was too busy socializing to really pay attention to what she was eating. Thus, all she could come up was that the carpaccio was decent. The yam fries could've been more crispy; yet they were decent as well. Boss Woman had the Beef Burger and it was pretty much your standard burger. It was prepared correctly with no surprises either way. The fries were the starch-covered type; thus being crispy. Lionel Hutz went for the Spinach Salad... again... He had it at Chill Winston last time we ate together. I'm beginning to wonder about him! Anyways, he thought the salad was alright' but the chicken was a bit dry. He did remark that the dressing was on the sweeter side and the accompanying bread noHot Chocolate also had a bt all that great.

Milhouse decided on the Guinness Stew. I guess he went for this since he knew very well that if he actually had some Guinness, he'd get drunk. This was the safer route for him. However, much to his dismay, the stew was pretty much devoid of any Guinness flavour. Instead, he though it tasted like Stagg Chili. I tried a spoonful and although it was lacking Guinness flavour, it was thankfully better than a can of Stagg Chili. What he meant was that the meat had a processed flavour to it. With that being said, it was still very tender and not too bad as a regular stew. Bear ended up with the Salmon Caesar. He admittedly chose this dish so he could splurge on dessert later. Honestly, if he had a choice, he'd just go to a dessert shop and eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner there! So naturally, he was not overly enthused about his dinner; but did concede that the romaine was crisp and the salmon cooked perfectly. Hot Chocolate had the Salmon Burger and she essentially echoed the sentiments saying that the salmon was moist while being cooked all the way through. She substituted yam fries and once again, she was in agreement with TS. Decent; but could've been crispier and hotter.

Judes ordered something that I thought was quite peculiar. It's not that the dish was strange at all; but with all the choices she went for the Chicken Tenders with fries. Apparently, she just wanted something regular and wasn't in an adventurous mood. Hey works for me. Presented in a unique bowl, the chicken strips were accompanied by 3 dips which included sweet chili, plum and a peppery honey mustard. The chicken strips were fried nicely and the fries being quite generic. Silent Bob went for the Rigatoni with chicken, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. He really enjoyed the pasta because the sauce was flavourful and fresh tasting. The chicken was tender and moist while the pasta was perfect.

Now, as mentioned, Bear saved some room for dessert by having a salad. Would all his hard work and commitment in watching his calories pay off with his chosen meal-ender? His choice was the Apple Pecan Filo Bundle with ice cream and strawberries. Actually, he's had this dessert before, so it wasn't that much of a risk for him. He remarked that the filling was a tad drier than the last time he had it. However, the pastry was really flaky and the flavours were well-balanced. He was happy with the dessert and any thoughts of eating a salad for dinner, especially for a Bear, faded away.

Milhouse was coerced into the Sticky Toffee Pudding also served with ice cream and strawberries. He was debating on dessert, waffling back and forth. Bear told him to join him in having a dessert while I (being much like Bart) was just egging him on so I could take a picture and taste of it. He buckled under the pressure like a poorly made chair from China (hey, I had one that did that!). Lionel Hutz chimed in that Milhouse didn't need to order anything sticky since his keyboard at home was already so. We smartly stayed away from that discussion... Anyways, he thought the cake was sticky, sweet and quite rich. Exactly how a sticky toffee pudding cake should be; yet he personally thought it was just okay. I'm glad he ate it since I avoided all those extra calories! Looking very much like Milhouses' sticky toffee pudding, Miss Y's Warm Ginger Pear Pudding was good. She noticed that the sauce was very gingery. The sharp ginger was a nice contrast to the sweet ice cream. With Bear needing to eat a salad to even think of dessert, Miss Y eats a full meal and a full dessert. Despite these eating habits, which include 3 Krispy Kremes at times, she remains remarkably thin! We all hate her...

Remarkably, Silent Bob had dessert too. He doesn't strike us as a sweets guy. But due the lack of conversation, maybe we didn't realize he is the sensitive, silent type. And of all things, he chose the Cheesecake. I guess he's not as "testosteronie" as he presents himself! As for his cheesecake, it arrived plated vertically. He really liked his New York-style cheesecake. Although he did state that he'd prefer more strawberry sauce on the side. If it looks like we demolished most of the menu here at Enigma, we did. The consensus is that it is a great neighbourhood joint to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Nothing is mind-blowing; yet most of the food is pretty solid and reasonably-priced. Of course with the sheer number of dishes and desserts we had, it would be easy to be critical of certain components. However, with that being said, it also has to be said that nothing turned out terrible. That in itself is an achievement.

The Good:
- Friendly service
- Decent portions
- Diverse menu

The Bad:
- Nothing mind-blowing, so don't expect to be wowed
- Some items get up there in price

Enigma on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

"We don't need a waterboy for our softball team..."

Watch out when you go back to your hockey league... :P Based on the experience on the weekend, I am certain you now know that distance might not be an issue for TS anymore. Needlessly, I was surprised, too!

Well, it seems you really like yours sticky as well... *cough**cough*

What about the prices? The food looks "nicely" plated yet the exterior would indicate it is a regular restaurant at best.

Sherman Chan said...

LOL Kim... In terms of the prices, it ranges roughly from $15 - $20. Considering the portions, food being relatively decent and the location, it's alright. I wouldn't say I'd drive all the way there to eat again. But if I was in the neighbourhood, I would certainly give it consideration.

Anonymous said...

No,Kim, but what about Mijune?

trisha said...

looks like you did a good job covering the menu! i wish yam fries would come with a few dips, like the chicken did. i like dipping in things other than mayo. personally i think yam fries and mayo = yuck. i kind of want to go there just to check out the washrooms though - sounds like an adventure!

Sherman Chan said...

Trisha, yah, the food is decent for sure. Haha, I love mayo with my fries! The washrooms are really not that interesting other than being far away from where we were! LOL...

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