*Restaurant is now closed*
The grand opening of Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe back in February created quite a splash, for all the wrong reasons. Originally Anthony Sedlak, celebrity chef on the Food Network, was touted as the Executive Chef. However, as construction delays persisted, he pulled out to pursue other TV endeavors. That left partners Steve Da Cruz and Andre McGillivray without a star chef; but that is where Chef de Cuisine, Jason Liezert comes in. Since then, there have been a wide range of differing opinions about the place. I'll be honest, I was in no rush to visit. However, I got an invitation to try it with an offer of a free entree. I mulled it over and decided that my one entree would not be very representative of the food. Furthermore, my schedule has been so nuts lately, I wasn't even sure I could make it out there. Thus, I sent them back an email with a better idea. Since I already eat out after Monday softball, I would bring my softball team out after our game. This way, I could kill 2 birds with one stone. Or in this case, we could cover much more of the menu. So, instead of me getting free anything, the arrangement would be 25% off the total bill. Hey, I need to somehow persuade my team in joining me! To respond to the complainers ahead of time, it is true they were expecting us. However, I truly believe a restaurant cannot improve or degrade +/- 10% just because they knew we were there. If the food ain't good, it won't improve overnight. Conversely, if the food is good, it ain't going to all suck in the same period of time.
Once again, we brought down the level of class with our attire. Milhouse really topped it off with his ripped T-Shirt. TS, who joined us for dinner for the heck of it was the only one nicely dressed. Prior to our visit, I was already aware of the bright blue coloured chairs; but wow, those things are loud. Distinctive? Yes. My style? Nope. Another thing that struck me right away was the extensive selection of booze adorning the whole East wall. Their drink menu is huge! Too bad, other than Miss Y, none of us were in the mood for cocktails. Maybe next time. We got some Gougeres as a amuse bouche and it was a bit too doughy and dense. Then, we got more carbs in the form of bread with corriander/pepper butter. Our table enjoyed the butter and kept eating the bread. For myself, I decided to get the Baby French Onion Soup to start. The server remarked that it was small and she wasn't kidding. If I had to describe the size, it would be equivalent to a small teacup. Despite its size, the soup packed quite a punch. Unlike many other versions I've had, this one wasn't too salty. Rather, there was ample natural sweetness from the caramelized onions. And as a side note, I'm not a huge fan of onions in general, so this was good.
For my main, I went for the Beef Tenderloin with veal bone marrow crust. As always, I was troublesome and asked for the steak to be done medium-rare, closer to rare. And from the picture, it is obvious that it was executed perfectly. Did they try extra hard since they knew we were here? Possibly; yet once again, if they are incapable of doing so, they wouldn't have succeeded. Sitting atop the tenderloin was the aforementioned marrow crust and blue cheese butter. I did like the rich taste of the crust; however, it was more crumbly than a crust per se. Although the blue cheese butter rocked. It added only a understated flavour (the blue cheese was not overwhelming at all) and smoothness to the well-seasoned meat (good thing too, tenderloin is not all that flavourful). The arugula and red onion salad provided a nice bitter/tart counterbalance to the heaviness of the steak and condiments. The side of Pomme Frites was good and bad. It started off being fantastic. The frites were very crispy and well-seasoned; but as I got closer to the bottom, the small little pieces were almost impossible to pick up and eat. As for dessert, I opted for the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, partly because Silent Bob picked the dessert I originally wanted. No duplicates! I liked the hard torched sugar topping and the strong vanilla taste of the custard. It was not too sweet and I found the portion size to be gigantic. However, the custard itself was too thin. It kept dripping on the table as I ate it.
Silent Bob and Milhouse both went for the 24/7 special which includes 2 courses for $24.07. Be sure to look out for the daily 24/7 tweet from @thecornersuite. If you retweet it, you get a free sorbet for dessert. The 24/7 special for tonight was a Cauliflower Soup with truffle oil followed by a Flat Iron Steak over black quinoa salsa & tagliatelle pasta. Milhouse thought that the soup had a nice consistency being not too creamy. It didn't taste like cauliflower with the flavours being subtle. (without the pungent aftertaste). As for the steak, he thought it was nicely cooked, tender and went well with the quinoa. It gave a nice firm feel and a texture that was a contrast with the softer steak. Lots of nice flavours. For dessert, Silent Bob selected the Lemon Meringue Pie with rhubarb sorbet. I liked the presentation as a small little tart instead of the more common slice of pie. However, Silent Bob said it was very, very sweet. He tried to figure out what was making it sweet, the crust or the meringue. Either way, he thought it was good; but very sweet.
Bear, as always, went for the Duck Confit with English pea purée, spaetzle, preserved lemon, jus. He felt it was a solid 'B'. Taste was good, but not quite an 'A' (I'm sure he was referring to the one at Cafeteria). The meat was just slightly on the dry side. The skin was a bit crispy, which was nice. The accompanying potato gratin was just okay - the presentation was better than the taste/texture. The brandied cherries were a nice touch, but he only ate one because he avoids wine/brandy (allergy). In terms of desserts, Bear is our expert and unfortunately, the Chocolate Tasting was inedibly sweet. The chocolate ice cream and pot-au-creme were brutally sweet - and that's an assessment from Bear, who's got a high tolerance for sugar! The flourless chocolate cake was okay, but he was not a big fan so it was also a bust. Overall, he thought it was the biggest dessert disappointments ever. I know this sounds harsh; but I would have to agree. I tried every piece and the sugar just overwhelmed everything, I could barely taste the chocolate.
Judes went for the Qualicum Bay Scallops with salted consommé, mushrooms, potato dumplings, radish salad. It's funny that she was even here with us being that it was her wedding anniversary! She thought the scallops were amazingly tender, a descent size and tasty. The presentation of the food was awesome, the veggies were cooked also to perfection and complimented the scallops. Amazingly enough even though she thought it was a small portion for the value, she was full. Maybe she was already filling up with bread & H2O? There was a mustard sauce, hoisin sauce and some seedy sauce. She tried all combinations of sauces with the scallops and came to the conclusion that she did not care for any of them. The salted consommé was a little too salty for her tastes. From the last time we had dinner at Cafeteria, Boss Woman was complaining there weren't any burgers on the menu. Although it really isn't a criteria for that type of restaurant, I guess it doesn't hurt to have one on the menu. And lo and behold, there it was, the Station 7 Burger on Corner Suite's menu. As described on the menu, it's a loaded burger with thick-cut bacon, aged cheddar, tomato, onion and BBQ sauce. She was quite disappointed in its size initially. However, it was juicy and the toppings more than made up for its small size. The frites were nice and crispy, not soggy. Very satisfying, especially since she was starving. Only disappointment was it took too long for the food to come out.
Miss Y ended up ordering 2 smaller plates for her meal. She started with the House-made Gnocchi with poached egg, bacon, English peas and mint. I had a try at this dish and I liked the soft gnocchi (soft, but not mushy, still had a nice bite). The flavours were subtle with a
understated smoke from the bacon and herby taste from the mint. Her second item was the Dungeness Crab Cake with crushed peas, bacon & quail egg salad and carrot purée.
She thought the crab cake was fairly standard; it was nice, and not too greasy. What made it stand out were the "fixings" ...a quail's egg and carrot puree. She loves pureed vegetables; but the carrot puree was fairly salty. It was probably meant more as a condiment anyways.
Now in the words of TS: Perusing the menu, I came upon their cheese menu. Wow. I don't think I'll ever come upon a point in my life when I would need that much selection of cheeses. Although the 24.07 menu sounded like a really great deal, I decided to order "light" since I had actually already eaten dinner before joining Sherman and his team. I decided to order "light".
I had the mini Croque Madame, endearingly called Croque Mademoiselle, from the petits bijoux (small jewels) section of the menu and the large entrée-sized Tuna Niçoise Salad (as opposed to the appetizer size). The Croque Mademoiselle was nicely done. There was enough of ham and cheese in each bite, and the whole sandwich was nice and golden-brown. It appeared that they dipped the sandwich in egg before frying. In keeping with the 'petit' theme, they used a quail egg for the fried egg component on top. How can one resist a quail egg? The sandwich was served with some cornichons, which helped counteract the richness of the croque mademoiselle.
The Tuna Niçoise was also well executed. The tuna was nicely-seared while each salad component was lightly (not overly) coated with a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing. Boiled fingerling potatoes, roasted tomatoes (a nice touch to ensure they were nice and sweet), hard-boiled egg(s), olives, haricot verts: is there any wonder I love niçoise? There was also a good mess of dressed arugula, which was a pleasant surprise. Much better than your garden variety (pun? haha) mesclun. I tasted Sherman's frites and they were very good as well (TS! That doesn't sound right!). I wasn't expecting much from The Corner Suite, but I was proved wrong. (Now, I didn't get dessert, but I don't usually. So, if they have bad desserts, that's still fine by me.)
So I think we plowed through a good sample of the menu, except for the cheese and cocktails. The consensus among all of us was satisfaction. None of our appies or main dishes were amiss and in fact; some were very good. Did they put in extra effort this time around? Possibly. But case in point, the desserts were quite weak as a whole. Thus, the chef(s) are only capable based on their current abilities. Despite the discount, we still ended up paying a pretty penny for our meals, so the prices here aren't exactly cheap either. Mind you, for the more expensive entrees, the equivalent at Earl's or Cactus Club would cost nearly the same. The real litmus test is this: would we come back? At least for me (and TS too), yes. We'll just go somewhere else for dessert.
- Entrees and appies were solid
- Extensive drink and cheese menu
- It's hip (despite the chairs... LOL)
- Desserts need work
- Kinda dark, hard to see the food (I know, it's for ambiance...)
- I dare you to find parking