Cheap eats. When we look at this from a Vancouver perspective, it usually involves eating at a Chinese greasy spoon. Wait. To be fair, I could throw in Bon's Off Broadway, The Famous Warehouse and joints like that. Better yet, let's just head to Prime Time Chicken... However, what if I were to ask of a place where you can get cheap eats in a non-sketchy environment? Well, I found such a place in X-Site out on Hastings. Most of their items around and under $10.00. In fact, the food is more than passable too. Consider their daily features are under $8.00 and you really have a deal. Think of it. You can't possibly get that kinda pricing at any of the chain restaurants. So when I heard that X-Site had 2 sister restaurants, I knew there were some food adventures to follow. The 2 restaurants are LA Grill in Richmond and Flame Stone Grill in Port Moody.
Seeing how much I love driving to Richmond, we went to Port Moody instead. In fact, we took the whole family including the grandparents. When we walked into the restaurant, they sure seemed to fit in since most of the restaurant was occupied by seniors. You know the food is a good deal when there are a bunch of seniors finishing up their meal at 6:00pm. Seeing how there is no kid's menu here, we ended up getting an order of Garlic Cheese Bread and Chicken Strips for the kiddies. The best thing about the cheese bread was the bread itself. It was thick, soft and crispy on the outside. I personally would've liked more garlic flavour (more spread in this case) and for to have the cheese melted/burnt a bit more. Normally, chicken strips in most restaurants are the frozen Sysco-type. Nothing wrong with that other than being slightly generic. The ones here were house-made with chicken tenders from the breast meat. They were fried up perfectly with the meat being moist with well-seasoned batter.
For myself, I started with a Clam Chowder. When it arrived, I was surprised at how big it was. Not only was the bowl really large, the soup was filled to the brim. If I had to describe this clam chowder, I would say it most resembles the type you'd find at an Asian-run fish 'n chip joint. Neither creamy nor clammy, this was more of a flour-thickened soup than anything. For a "cream" soup, this was acceptable, it just ain't a clam chowder. While I was looking through the menu, I was not really in the mood for a burger. You see, this would be the 3rd burger I would've had in the last week. Kinda boring and not really all that healthy. The reason I ended up with the Havarti Burger was directly related to having a bit of diversity for this meal. In the end, it wasn't a bad decision since the burger was pretty respectable for the price. The beef patty was cooked with a nice char and it wasn't overly dry. Lots of cheese and 2 perfectly crisp bacon strips made it a solid burger. I like that they serve boiled potatoes with sour cream rather than fries. It is a change of pace from the regular.
My dad went for the Blackened Salmon and it was very much like the dish Viv had last time at X-Site. Once again, there is a decent amount of food for the price. The salmon was nicely prepared. It was moist and flaky. I would've preferred some more spice though. Viv decided to try the special of the day being BBQ Chicken and Beef Rib. In the end, she wished she didn't. The chicken leg was dry and the BBQ sauce was weak. It exhibited very little smokiness and tang being mostly sweet. The beef rib was moist in some parts; yet it was mostly dry and tough. The beans were okay though, they had a rich sweetness to them. For my mom, she had the 6 oz NY Steak. She asked for it be medium-rare closer to the rare side. And it came out exactly as such. It was seared nicely and super tender. A really good steak that would probably cost double the price anywhere else. It came with the same rice, potatoes and green salad as the salmon with the addition of garlic bread. Usually, the steak comes with a glaze; but my mom chose for it to be served on the side. I ate half of the steak and didn't feel it needed any more seasoning. It was meaty and full of flavour.
Alright. Flame Stone, much like X-Site won't necessarily out duel the chain restaurants in terms decor, ambiance or even overall food execution (however, some dishes will surprise you). However, if you consider the prices and portion sizes, many concerns can be overlooked. If you take advantage of their daily specials, there are not many places that can beat the value that this place offers.
- Food is surprisingly decent
- Large portions
- Food won't win any culinary awards