Here we go again, another hotel restaurant (The Lobby in the Pinnacle Hotel in North Van). Not only that, here we go again with a Groupon as well. At the very least, this is a way to try the place out with less risk (as in spend a bit less money). It was the usual share one appie between 2 people, 2 entrees and as shared dessert. My parents joined us to make it a dinner for 4 as well as adding a few items for the kiddies. Unlike many hotel restaurants, the covered parking was included for The Lobby.
The kids started off with the Fried Beer-Battered Prawns with chili aioli. Although they appeared to be over-battered and dense, they didn't eat as such. In fact, the batter was crunchy and airy (thanks to the beer). The meaty prawn inside had a firm texture and was naturally sweet. The batter was spiked with herbs and the entire dish was sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. On the side, a creamy and spicy aioli created an illusion we were eating a version of ebi mayo. For their main, they shared a Prime Rib Beef Dip with fries. Served on a relatively soft pretzel bun, it held everything in place. The thin slices of beef were moist and extremely tender. There could've been a bit more of it though. As for the dip itself, it was slightly thick and not overly salty while having a bit of meatiness.
For my appie, I had the Beef Carpaccio that was classically accented by truffle mayo, shaved parm and arugula. Hence, the flavours were very familiar and complimented each other well. I would've preferred less truffle oil as it was too strong. The thin slices of beef were buttery and melted-in-my-mouth. Viv decided on the Quinoa Salad featuring feta, sliced almonds, kale, arugula, carrots and a lemon raspberry vinaigrette. I found the flavours to be quite pleasant with balanced sweetness and tang. The crunch from the spice toasted almonds added the necessary texture while the dried cherries were sweet. I would've liked to see the quinoa to be more firm though as it got lost. My mom had the Caesar Salad (not pictured) and it was pretty standard except being overdressed. The fried capers and slices of parm added both saltiness and nuttiness.
For our mains, my dad went for the Prawns and Scallops atop risotto. It was nicely plated and consisted of quality ingredients. However, the prawns were overdone where the desired snap ended up to be more of a dry meatiness. It did sport a nice sear on the outside though. As for the scallops, they were done right being buttery with a caramelized sear on the outside. However, for some reason, they lacked the natural sweetness and taste of the sea as we would expect from a scallop. The risotto was a bit clumpy, but the rice was not overdone. For myself, I had the Grilled Rib Eye which was done a perfect medium-rare while sporting a beautiful exterior colour. Unfortunately, the cut of meat was rather chewy (even for rib-eye standards) and that decreased my eating enjoyment.
My mom went for the Rack of Lamb that was prepared more rare than medium-rare. Despite this, the meat was succulent and super tender. In addition, the veggies on the plate were expertly prepared where they were still vibrant in texture and appearance. However, the overwhelming sweetness from the house-made marmalade destroyed any great flavours from the mint gelee as well as the demi. I found the herb gnocchi to have a delicious crust on the outside, yet it was a bit dense. For Viv, she ended up with the Halibut Bouillabaisse which was pretty good. The fish itself was crispy and tasty from the sear whereas the meat inside was flaky and moist. The broth was semi-thick and creamy from the coconut milk while the mild tang from the tomato came through in spurts. The rest of the seafood was on point.
For dessert, we were served at plate consisting of Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Pâté, Peach Panna Cotta, and Vanilla Bean Gelato with French Macaron. I thought the texture of the cheesecake was spot on being creamy and just rich enough. It was mild-tasting though. The dark chocolate pâté was rich, firm and appealingly bitter. This was the best item on the plate. As for the panna cotta, it was creamy, slightly firm and not very sweet. I found the peach portion to be bland. A bit icy, the gelato was pretty sweet and relatively firm. As you can see for yourself, the menu at The Lobby is pretty typical for a hotel restaurant. The food was decent with a few flaws. However, the place does what it is supposed to do in a non-offensive manner.
- Fairly good service
- Okay eats
- Lively atmosphere (this was the weekend)
- Some execution issues