I remember a time when I couldn't wait for my birthday. Hey, it was a time of gifts, cake and fun. What kid wouldn't like a new supply of toys or new clothes... uh... okay, just the toys then. How things change when we grow up. Now my birthday is nothing but a number to me. Sure, it is special in some ways; but honestly, that number just keeps going up and quite fast I might add. With every passing year, it would appear that I grow more old and wiser. Apparently, Viv thinks that the maturity stalled somewhere. Hey, am I the only one? What's wrong with playing loud offensive rap music in the SUV? Oh right, my kids shouldn't be listening to that stuff... Maybe Viv's got a point.
Anyways, it was indeed my birthday and we originally didn't have any plans. However, my parents were wondering and alas, we decided to go out and celebrate anyways. What was I thinking anyways? Not go eat on my birthday? Have I lost my mind? Well, that could be a by-product of this age thing. So luck would have it, my birthday fell on a weekday. That meant we really couldn't go too far and out too late since the kiddies need to go to bed. Hence, we ended up heading over to Saint Street Grill in Port Moody. With walls adorning an eclectic mix of framed art situated in a 70's lounge environment complete with reddish hue lighting, this unassuming spot from the outside cannot be accused of being bland on the inside. Trendy? No. Original? I'll say.
We got some appies to share starting with the Grilled Caesar Salad. It consisted of a whole grilled romaine heart, shaved asiago and herb puff pastry stick drizzled with house made dressing. I thought the romaine was nicely grilled with some charring which provided smokiness. I would've preferred a bit more asiago for impact, although the dressing was pretty good with a nice level of saltiness. If I had to compare, it is somewhat similar to the one at CRU except made a notch below in terms of flavour. Next up was the Crab Cakes consisting of crab, carrot, green onion, corn and orange zest with kafari lime leaf wasabi aioli. This was also pretty good. I particularly liked the sweet pop from the corn and the understated citrus from the orange zest. Somehow, the crab was not lost in all of the ingredients. Rather, I could still taste the natural salty-sweetness. In fact, the aioli was quite muted as well. Probably intentional. Our final appie was the Coconut Prawns sauteed with coconut milk, lime, ginger and fresh cilantro. A zucchini salad with soya sesame chili dressing and toasted peanuts was served on the side. We felt this was the most successful of the appies. The coldwater prawns had a nice snap while there was a pronounced coconut milk and lime kick. Yet, the best part of this appie was the zucchini salad. It was crunchy with nice Asian flavours, in particular, the sesame oil and toasted peanuts.
Although they offered to make something specifically for the kiddies, we went ahead and got them a regular dish to share. I'm always up for trying another dish! So we got them the House-made Gnocchi which are parmesan basil scented in a vine-ripened tomato sauce. We found the gnocchi to be quite large. I feared that it would either be too doughy or too soft. It was neither being somewhere in between. With basil hidden in the gnocchi itself, there was flavour even without the sauce. Yet, the sauce was a nice compliment with the tartness of fresh tomatoes finishing off with some sweetness. When it arrived, the Westcoast Hot Pot did not look like what we had envisioned. Rather than being in a "hot pot" per se, it was cooked in a pot then served on a deep square glass plate. There was actually quite a bit of nicely cooked mussels, scallops, prawns and salmon in a sesame ginger cilantro lobster broth. The broth was very light; yet flavourful at the same time. In no way was it fishy. Instead, there was a natural sweetness from the seafood. Underneath lay a bed of vermicelli noodles which soaked up more of the sweet broth.
Viv ended up with the Breast of Duck with maple butter and cinnamon orange jelly. We all thought the duck was cooked perfectly being tender and moist. The maple butter was quite sweet. The perfectly cooked rice would've been better if it wasn't soaked in the sauce. The jelly was a nice compliment to the duck, although it was used conservatively since it was quite sweet as well. My mom loves lamb more than I do, so I gave her first dibs on the Lamb Shank braised in pineapple curry jus. Overall, the shank was probably not as moist as we wanted it to be; but it was still sufficiently tender. The picture doesn't do it justice since it was a fairly large shank. As for the jus, it was slightly sweet with only a minor hint of curry. I felt that it could've used a bit more savoury elements to compliment the gamy lamb.
For myself, I had the Bison Ribs which are hickory-smoked, then slow roasted in a caramelized onion molasses demi-glace. Although it was only a modest amount of meat, the richness of the cooking method, along with the mashed potatoes and veggies ended up to be quite filling. Unlike the usual BBQ sauces we find on ribs, the one here was much more unique. There were elements of smoke and sweetness with depth while exhibiting very little in the way of tartness. The meat itself was fall-off-the-bone tender. There were some dry portions; but not inedible. All the veggies were perfectly cooked being vibrant and crisp. Ultimately, I liked this dish; yet I wouldn't say I loved it. In fact, that would probably summarize my feelings about the Saint Street Grill. It was alright, especially considering its location. Not sure if I'd necessarily drive out to Port Moody exclusively for a meal; however, if I were in the neighbourhood, it is a an option.
- Decent eats out in Port Moody
- Personable and friendly service
- Expensive (but there is an Entertainment discount)
- Alright for Port Moody; but may have a hard time competing in Vancouver
- Not sure about the red lighting