Sherman's Food Adventures: Brown's Social House (North Burnaby)

Brown's Social House (North Burnaby)

Whenever the words "Brown's Social House" are muttered, I usually shiver in disapproval.  Hey, compared to the other popular chain restaurants in town, Brown's is not usually at the top of the list.  My initial visit was not particularly impressive, but given that was 5 years ago, I decided it was time to give them another chance.  So after a crushing loss (a la Canuck-style) in our Friday night league game, the hockey team paid a late-night visit to the Brentwood Brown's.

I started with the Biltmore Pizza consisting of pesto, feta, shrimp, sundried tomato and jalapeno white sauce.  With large jumbo shrimp and a generous drizzle of pesto, the pizza looked appetizing.  And it really was since the flavours were abundant and pronounced.  There were big hits of garlic and spiciness that went well with the crunchy shrimp. However, it was on the saltier side and the crust was far too doughy (in need of more colour too).  Next, I had the Crispy Halibut Street Tacos with a side of gaucamole.  These were not bad featuring moist halibut with a very crunchy batter.  I would've personally liked less batter, but that would be nitpicking.  In terms of texture, I thought the tacos were on point, but the accompanying pico de gallo was a bit one-dimensional (being mildly tangy).  Moreover, the gaucamole could've used more acidity.

Emilicious and Gadget Girl shared 2 items beginning with the Tahitian Tuna Salad with lemongrass crusted albacore tuna, wasabi mayo and cilantro ginger vinaigrette.  Of note, the picture represents only half-an-order since they split the salad.  They thought it was decent since there was an array of textures from the lettuce to the wonton crisps.  The vinaigrette had a nice acidity while the mayo worked with the nicely rare tuna.  They also shared the #28 Dragon Bowl consisting of teriyaki chicken, coconut rice, veggies, red cabbage and spicy yogurt.  I was able to try this dish and it was more ingredients than rice.  As such, there was no absence of textures and flavours.  However, that also meant there was a bit too much flavour as it was quite sweet and saucy.  With that being said, the rice was not wet while the chicken was sufficiently moist.

Lionel Hutz had the obligatory burger with the Hickory Burger with smoked bacon, cheddar and BBQ sauce.  He thought the patty retained enough moisture to escape being dry.  Furthermore, the ingredient and sauce helped matters.  On the other hand, the bun got a bit wet due to this where it could've benefited from more toasting.  He remarked that the flavours were mild and it could've used more smokiness.  Milhouse continued the theme with the Almost Famous Blackened Fish Burger consisting of Pacific halibut, crisp coleslaw and chef's dressing.  The fish itself was thick and cooked just right being flaky and moist.  However, he didn't really get any of the flavours associated with blackened fish.  Rather, he remarked it was bland where even the coleslaw and dressing didn't add much impact.

Gordo and Sweet Tooth decided to share a Crispy Calamari before dessert.  I found this to be somewhat inconsistent as parts were crunchy while other pieces were a little soft.  As for the squid itself, it on the chewier side.  It was only mildly seasoned which worked since there was dipping sauce anyways.  I wasn't really impressed with the marinara sauce as it didn't go in my opinion, but the Cajun tartar sauce was not bad as it was creamy with a touch of spice.  They ended up with both the House Made Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Pecan Pie for dessert.  As much as the filling was tart and creamy, the crust on the key lime pie was far too thick.  Hence it was not easy to eat nor was it balanced with the amount of filling.  The chocolate pecan pie was not bad as the baked crust was thin and firm.  The filling was on the sweeter side and I would've liked to see even more chocolate.

And since no one ordered any of the Hand Cut Double Cooked Fries, I had to get a side of it.  These were decent as they were crispy while still potatoey inside.  They had the classic fresh cut feel to them.  Overall, this visit to Brown's was better than the last time for me personally.  Yet, that isn't really saying a lot.  The food has some redeeming qualities, but almost everything had a deficiency of some sort. Hence, that is where it lags behind the others such as Cactus Club and Earl's, especially when their prices are almost the same as well as the theme and decor.

The Good:
- Service we got was pretty solid
- Fun, lively atmosphere

The Bad:
- Kinda pricey
- Food is okay, but behind the rest of the competition

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