As of late, I've been addicted to buying online coupons for restaurants. Normally, most of the deals are with less-than-desirable places, so I tend to ignore them. Blame it on the deal-hunter in me as the "extra" year-end discounts lured me into buying one-after-another. With average-to-below-average experiences at The Brasserie Bistro and Big River Brewing, I was about to give up. But we decided to keep on soldiering on with our latest adventure at Bogart's Bar & Restaurant in the Downtown Hampton Inn.
For our starter, Viv and I chose the Steamed Mussels with shallots, garlic, herbs, white wine and butter served with grilled ciabatta. We found the mussels to be plump and on point in terms of doneness. The broth was flavourful without being salty with definite hits from the ample garlic and shallots. We didn't detect a whole lot of white wine though, but at the very least, it was cooked down properly. My parents decided on the Pan Seared Scallops with pancetta chips, cauliflower and goat cheese purée and French lentil ragout. Although a bit past done, the scallops sported an attractive sear which translated into a nice caramelization of flavours including the "just enough" seasoning. Underneath, the lentils were more than an afterthought as they were still toothsome and mildly seasoned.
For my main, I went for the Beef Burger with bacon, aged cheddar, house roasted tomato relish, dijonaise and crispy onions on ciabatta. This was a solid offering where the large beef patty was still moist while exhibiting a smoky char. What made this burger was the ample amount of sweet and tart tomato relish. It provided a burst of flavour as well as extra moisture. As soft as the ciabatta was, it managed to hold everything together without becoming soggy. Viv ended up with the Arctic Char (with parsnip puree, root vegetables and brussels sprouts hash) not because she wanted it, but because my daughter wanted to eat it in addition to her own dish... We found that skin to be nicely crisped up but the fish itself was a touch overcooked. It was devoid of seasoning as well. However, the rest of the ingredients were seasoned enough including the smooth parsnip puree and toothsome veggies.
For her main, my mom had the Steak Frites consisting of a perfectly medium-rare flat iron steak with house cut fries and demi glace. As such, the steak was tender and moist. The slightly thick, yet silky, demi-glace exhibited a noticeable red wine essence while being a bit on the saltier side. The large mound of fresh-cut fries were really good. They were lightly crispy on the outside while soft and potatoey on the inside. I liked them so much, I dug into these after I finished my own portion. Trying to eat healthier, my dad had the Bogart's Salad consisting of chicken, crispy bacon, goat cheese, avocado, hard boiled egg and roasted cherry tomatoes with house dressing. Honestly, I would never order a salad myself, but this one was pretty typical yet good in its own right due to the fresh and vibrant veggies as well as the moist chicken breast.
For the kiddies, my son was eying only one item on the menu and it happened to be the Mac n' Cheese made with with bacon, aged cheddar, Gruyère and Parmesan. Well, he ate this up pretty quickly due to the wealth of cheesiness from the sharpness of the cheddar as well as the saltiness of the Parm. We didn't notice any bacon in it though. He also enjoyed the crispy topping which added some texture to the al dente noodles. In addition to eating half of Viv's arctic char, my daughter had half of her Pizza Margherita. If we were to compare this to a real Neapolitan-style pizza, it would rate pretty low. But if we look at it as a thin crust pizza with cheese and sauce (and basil), it was okay. The crust was slightly crisp while the ample fresh basil did add good aromatics. It could've used more tomato sauce though as it was lacking some zip.
For dessert, Viv and I shared the Chocolate Molten Cake with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. We thought the cake should've been more intact before being served, yet that didn't make or break the dish. In fact, the kids hijacked it from us and ate most of it. For the small piece I did try, it was indeed moist and sweet. It was not bad, but a bit too wet for my liking. My parents opted for the Bailey's Crème Brulée with with orange almond biscotti. I sampled some and it definitely tasted like they added enough Bailey's. As for the texture, it was a bit too fluffy rather than custardy. It was not overly sweet though, which was a good thing since there was a significant hard sugar topping. If we ignore the fact we used 2 coupons for this meal for a moment, the regular prices at Bogart's are shockingly low especially for Downtown. In that case, we felt the food was more than acceptable given nothing was over $20.00
- Decent eats, especially for the price
- Okay portions, especially for the price
- Friendly service
- Food came out real slow
- Naturally, there is better food in Downtown, but it will cost more