Sherman's Food Adventures: June 2016

Supermarine

A long time ago, no not in a galaxy far away...  Rather, in Kits there was a late night spot named Abigail's Party.  We visited the place one day after Friday night hockey where we were greeted to a club-like atmosphere that was almost as pitch black as Dark Table.  We never did see what we were eating nor could we hear each other.  It was only after that we looked at the pictures and figured out what our dishes looked like.  Fast forward to the present and Supermarine had taken over the spot offering a simple menu featuring plenty of fresh seafood (and more light).  Sean and I dropped by to check it out.

Since we arrived during happy hour, we were able to snag 2 snack items for half off. The first to arrive was the Prawn Tacos sporting beautifully prepared Argentinian prawns.  These were meaty and naturally sweet with a taste of the sea.  The grilled tortillas held up well to the moisture of the slightly spicy pablano salsa verde.  Add in the acidity of lime and pickled onions as well as the crunch from the roasted peanuts, this was pretty complete in terms of texture and taste.  We also got the Fish Sticks which were actually croquettes consisting of potato and smoked fish.  These were crunchy with minimal grease.  I enjoyed the soft potato, but wished there was more fish.  When I found some, they were smoky and tender.  On the side was a lightly spicy jalapeno aioli.

Moving onto the actual appies, we got the both the Octopus Ceviche and Tuna Crudo. Bright, acidic and lightly sweet, the ceviche was large in portion and big on impact.  Tender with an appealing chew, the sweet octopus was completely marinated in the tart lime juice.  Textural variation was provided by the crunchy cucumber and red onion bits as well as the creamy and smooth avocado puree spiked with cilantro.  This was accompanied by crispy plantain chips.  I really wanted to like the Tuna Crudo, but the fried chili vinaigrette was far too potent and completely overwhelmed the delicate buttery tuna.  Adding to the acidity (which was already too strong) were orange segments and pickled fennel.  On the other hand, I loved the puffed wild rice as it added crunch and nuttiness.

For our larger plates, we foolishly ordered the Ling Cod Banh Mi.  As you can see in the picture, it was more like a ling cod burger.  This was key as the lack of a crusty baguette made a big difference.  The dense brioche bun took away from the fish.  In fact, the pickled onions, carrots and slaw all served to hide the cod. Moreover, the fish itself was blackened with a smoky and spicy rub that was too strongOn the flipside, the Royale with Cheese (say that Pulp Fiction style!) was money.  We found the burger patty to be nicely charred while still moist and somewhat juicy.  The sweetness of the caramelized onions combined with the salty crunch from the bacon as well as the aged cheddar made for a textural and flavour delight.  Even the thick-cut fries were money being firmly crunchy with the natural texture of potato.  Banh Mi withstanding, the rest of the dishes featured fresh and well-prepared seafood that were subjected to impactful flavours.  It was a double-edged sword though as somethings got lost in the process.

The Good:
- Fresh seafood prepared right
- Impactful flavours
- Friendly and warm service

The Bad:
- Some flavours overwhelmed the delicate ingredients
- Banh Mi needed a real baguette
    

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 Chouri├žo (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