To say the area around the Burnaby side of SFU is a black hole of good eats would be a huge understatement. Why else would a location of ABC Country Restaurant survive for so long? There is no way I can hide my feelings about the place - food with very little reason to leave the house for. Finally and mercifully, the place closed only to be replaced by... wait for it... a White Spot (to my kids delight). So guess what happened when it finally opened for business? Yup, we made our way down to a packed house. Funny how empty it could be when it was an ABC...
Due to my son's fascination with fried prawns, we started with an order of their Nobashi Prawns. Perfectly straight and strangely uniform in shape, these were super crunchy. For all the times we've tried it, I find that the batter in between the exterior and the prawn seems to be too doughy. Whatever the case, they were not bad with a buttery prawn inside. Combining a second visit into one post, we had their classic Zoo Sticks. These were cut larger and longer than I had remembered, but ultimately, they were good. Each stick was cooked through while still being firm. The breading was crunchy and exhibited minimal grease. As an aside, did they think that amount of dip was sufficient? Plated attractively on a bed of edamame and drizzled with hoisin sesame sauce, the Shrimp Gyoza were okay except I didn't quite like the use of tiny shrimp mixed in with mushy pork. The flavours were fine (especially the spicy dipping sauce) as well as the dumpling skin, but the filling was texturally wrong.
For my main, I had to go for a classic being the Monty Mushroom with jack cheese and sauteed mushrooms. As I have said all along, my love for White Spot burgers may not have anything to do with being the best. It is mainly based on my childhood, where I must've consumed hundreds of their burgers (no wonder I was so fat back then...). Doused with enough mayo to make a porno look tame, the burger was indeed messy to eat. Despite the fully cooked burger patty, the amount of wet ingredients made up for it. Beyond that, what makes a White Spot burger complete, in my opinion, is the soft toasted bun. On that note, the same could be said about the Wild Pacific Salmon Burger. Therefore, the delicate salmon could stand on its own. However, it was slightly overdone though. Despite not being the crispiest out there, as per usual, the fries were a nice departure from the Sysco-type found at many other restaurants. Viv had the Original Beef Dipper. Nothing too fancy about this classic other than the use of tender real roast beef. The bun was a bit dense for my liking, but by virtue of being dipped into au jus, it didn't matter so much.
Whenever we visit White Spot, my mom goes for her ol' standby being the CBC or Chicken Broccoli and Cheese. Almost emulating a curry, but not, it works for most people. I'm personally not a huge fan of it, but with tender morsels of chicken with mild flavours, it does the "chain restaurant" thing by being non-threatening. On my other visit, I had the Spaghetti and Meatballs. The pasta was a bit past al dente, yet not overly soft either. I found the marinara sauce to be tangy and tomatoey. Of course it didn't elicit images of a Italy, but it was acceptable. As for the meatballs, they were large and meaty (which meant they weren't overprocessed). They were not dry per se while not overly tender either.
And of course the kiddies had the Pirate Paks. My daughter had the Cheeseburger with fries, yet was eying the gold doubloon the whole time. Pretty standard stuff served in a paper pirate ship. Ah the memories. At least they don't put the ice cream in there anymore - it would melt before the end of the meal! With his ol' standby, my son had the Mac n' Cheese which was not exactly super cheesy, but did the job. And really... White Spot does the job for a relatively reasonable price. If you avoid the "specialty" items and stick with the classics, there isn't much that is offensive.
- Other than the "specialty" items, prices are fair
- Nothing particularly Earth-shattering
- Must they use so much mayo?
- Everything other than the classics can be hit and miss