Sherman's Food Adventures: Chefe Daniel Flavours of Portugal

Chefe Daniel Flavours of Portugal

I never did get to try Chefe Daniel when it was located on Kingsway near Nanaimo.  It was a little restaurant that was not particularly interesting to look at from the outside.  Well their new location on King George Hwy and 80th in Surrey is a whole lot bigger.  I'm still not sure if the place looks super inviting, but it is at least a start.  Inside, it still retains the basic decor left by Villa Verdi.  Chill and I decided to give the place a try for lunch one day.

We began with a simple appie in the Chouriço (Grilled Portuguese Sausage).  Essentially the Portuguese version of chorizo, this was well-charred and caramelized on the outside.  Hence, the flavours were impactful and aromatic.  It was definitely meaty with whole chunks intermittently strewn within processed portions.  It was purposefully salty with a background spice.  This was further enhanced by the 3 house-made sauces which included Jalapeno Cilantro, Peri Peri and BBQ.  For myself, I loved the peri peri as it was creamy, rich and purposefully spicy.  They have an even spicier version that is tongue-burning.  I found the jalapeno cilantro to be bright and light with only a touch of heat.  Smoky and balanced, the BBQ was not too sweet nor salty.

For my main, I went for the fish special being the Cobbler coated with corn flour and pan-fried.  It was served with a garlic butter sauce and baby shrimp.  With a texture similar to sole, the cobbler was flaky, moist and delicious.  It was well-seasoned while the coating was thin and light.  I found the sauce to be creamy, salty enough and exhibiting a light brininess from the shrimp.  As for the sides of grilled veggies and fingerling potatoes, they were also on point being cooked just enough.  I loved the smokiness of the zuchini from the charring.  Chill went for the Febras or Pork Medallions with a mushroom sauce.  These large pieces of pork were buttery tender while being nicely grilled.  The sauce was Earthy with hits of saltiness and tang.  This was a well-executed dish (pictured is the second version on another visit, where it came with fries and without mushrooms).

I ended up returning the very next day with a few friends to try some more dishes starting with the Sardines on Toast.  The dish that showed up wasn't exactly what I had envisioned.  It consisted of a crunchy piece of toast covered by mesclun greens, shredded sardine, tomatoes and olives dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.  This was rather appetizing and very filling.  I wasn't sure about the shredded sardine though as it wasn't texturally my preference.  For my main, I had the Linguine with clams and cilantro.  At first, I was concerned that the cilantro would overwhelm the dish, but everything was good as it was aromatic and only in the background.  The pasta was al dente while there was a minimal amount of moisture.  With plenty of clams, I got some brininess to go with the balanced acidity and spiciness.

Dee Dee decided to try the Bitoque with fresh cut fries, pickles, olives and fried egg.  Although this looked like a mess of ingredients, they all worked in harmony.  The buttery beef was barely medium-rare, yet was tender and nicely charred.  With the tang from the pickles and mildness of the gravy, this was a pleasant dish.  The fresh cut fries were only lightly crisp with plenty of potato goodness left.  On the table was also the Galinha (Chicken Sandwich) which was served with a soft multi-grain bun.  The chicken itself was flavourful and moist while subjected to the jalapeno cilantro sauce.  With an extra dousing of the peri peri, this ate a whole lot better than it looked.  For $9.00 this was reasonably-priced as it came with house-cut fries as well.  Overall, we felt the value was there and of course the food quality as well.

The Good:
- Interesting and generally solid eats
- Reasonably-priced
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Food is good, but could benefit from more refinement
- Not sure about consistency as the Febras looked and tasted totally different on 2 separate occassions