Sherman's Food Adventures: Copa Cafe (Coquitlam)

Copa Cafe (Coquitlam)

The day before, I had visited Copa Cafe in Vancouver for the first time in nearly 6 years.  So you'd think that plenty of time would have to pass before I make my next visit right?  Well, how about hitting up Copa Cafe in Coquitlam the very next day?  Well, it wasn't because I was super excited about my meal that I had to have it all over again within 24 hours.  Rather, I went for dinner at Copa Coquitlam somewhat recently, but in my mind I didn't try enough dishes.  So we needed to return to complete this post! 

We went for the ol' standby with the Baked Pork Chop on Rice.  Alright, let me get this out of the way first...  I don't mind cooked onions, but I'm not particularly fond of raw ones especially if it is not integral to the dish (ie. authentic tacos).  So when I found barely cooked white onions underneath the pork chop, I had to pick them out (for the kiddies as well).  Without any type of caramelization nor seasoning, the onions only served to add a sharp taste that detracted from the already mild sauce.  With that being said, the pork chop itself was fried up with a light breading and was tender to the chew.  Next up, we had the Linguine Bolognese which was a backup plan of sorts if the kiddies rejected the pork chop rice.  We found the pasta to be on the softer side without visiting mushville.  As for the HK-style cafe interpretation of bolognese, this one featured sweet (cooked!) onions, carrots and tender ground beef all in a sweet and thick tomato-based sauce.

For myself, I went big with the B+B+B Meal where I chose Fried Sole, Steak and Ox Tongue with a side of linguine and mushroom cream sauce.  We thought most of the proteins were well-executed as the fish was crispy and flaky while the ox tongue was fatty and moist.  However, the steak was well-done and very chewy.  As for the mushroom sauce, it was thick but really bland.  It lacked any discernible flavours.  I decided to upgrade my included soup with the Lobster Bisque topped by a puff pastry lid.  The soup was a little thin, but not lacking in lobster shell essence.  It was certainly there in full-force with plenty of help from the lobster shells.  Although it was bordering on salty, it wasn't quite there yet.  The small nuggets of meat were still bouncy in texture.

On another visit, I decided to continue the lobster theme by ordering the Lobster Linguine.  Similar in flavour as the bisque but watered down somewhat, the dish was very large in portion size.  I found the pasta far too soft and it only got softer with the amount of sauce.  Furthermore, the amount of pasta helped dilute the impact of the sauce (even though there was plenty of it).  Initially, Viv was apprehensive in ordering the Curry Beef Brisket with rice.  The reason for this is that this dish is often too mild at HK-style cafes.  Well, not in this case.  It was pretty spicy and with a drizzle of chili oil on top, it was even more so.  Although presented in little chunks, the brisket was tender and fatty.

A rather surprising dish was the half-Hainanese Chicken.  Copa Cafe would not seem like the right place to order such an item, but it was decent.  First of all, they must've used a chicken on steroids because it was meaty and as you can see in the picture, filled up the plate.  Second, it was poached properly where the meat was moist and the skin had gelatinized.  Despite some issues here and there, the meals we had at Copa Coquitlam were decent.  Considering the lack of competition in the area, they don't have to worry about an empty restaurant.  Compared to the Vancouver location, we felt that Coquitlam seemed to be a bit better (despite online reviews indicating the reverse).

The Good:
- Large portions
- Efficient service
- Fair pricing

The Bad:
- Not outstanding, but good for the area
- Efficient service, but a little hurried

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