Sherman's Food Adventures: Curve Lounge (River Rock Casino Resort)

Curve Lounge (River Rock Casino Resort)

To be completely frank, I've never associated good food with the River Rock Casino Resort.  From the buffet to Tramonto, it seems like they put in a good effort, but it just doesn't seem consistent enough to be a destination.  Hence, the only times I've been to the place has been through invites except for the first time I visited The Buffet.  However, with a change in direction, they are now putting more resources into changing up what was seen as a sore point all these years.  As a first step, I was invited (along with others) to sample their Happy Hour at Curve Lounge.  Not only did I not realize there was a happy hour, but also the beautiful patio outside with a view of the Fraser River.

Since we were served everything all at the same time, I decided to tackle the Seafood Tabouli with wild rice, mint, parsley, bulgur, roasted red onion, baby shrimp, octopus, tuna and fresh lime first (due to the heat outside).  This was well-executed with rare tuna that was buttery and soft.  I found the octopus to be tender with a pleasant chew.  These were lightly salted where their natural flavours were allowed to shine.  At first, I thought the fried tempura nuggets in the little jars were fish.  However, they turned out to be Jalapeño Poppers stuffed with feta cheese.  These were tangy and lightly spicy where the creaminess of the cream cheese dill aioli balanced out the flavours.

Off to 3 different Flatbreads, we had a Pugliese (oven dried tomato, caramelized red onion, mozzarella, provolone and fresh herbs), Frutti di Mare (clam, mussel, shrimp, scallop, tomato sauce and gruyère) and Veronese (prosciutto, wild mushroom, tomato).  Each one was crispy and thin that held up to all of the wet ingredients.  The tomato sauce was light and tangy which went well with the seafood.  The prosciutto was more meaty and spicier.  Something similar, we had Avocado Bruschetta with marinated tomato, red onion, radish, olive oil, lemon and watercress.  This was more robust due to the foccacia and the generous amount of ripe avocado.  The flavours were fairly mild where the squeeze of the lemon wedges was needed to bring it to life.

One tried and true appie that exists on nearly all menus is the Fried Chicken Wings.  We had the classic salt and pepper version which was fried up perfectly.  They were crispy with rendered skin while the meat inside was succulent and almost juicy.  There was a enough seasoning for impact as well.  I went back for seconds on this one.  Clearly something that was far too big (in my mind) for being only $6.00 was the Artichoke Dip. This was served in a large dish consisting of sweet corn, double crème brie and of course artichoke.  I thought this was pretty standard and possibly a little underseasoned, but the pop of sweet corn helped in that regard.  It was really rich due to the 2 slices of brie on top.

Looking more like a soup, the Caramelized Onion Cheese Fondue was the right consistency where it stayed liquid, but was thick enough to coat all the pastries and seasonal veggies.  I thought the pastries were of a nice size and crispy while the veggies were firm and vibrant.  I could definitely taste the sharpness of the cheese as well as a slight wine aftertaste.  I was still in disbelief that this was $6.00 as well! Going from heavy to light, we had the Inari Pockets containing marinated seaweed & bean medley with green tea scented purple sushi rice. As expected, this was Japanese-tasting with the sweetness of the inari and the umaminess of the seaweed.  I found the rice to be appealingly chewy.

For dessert, we were served a Chilled Mango Cheesecake, Dark Chocolate Bombe, Pina Colada Mousse and a colourful Unicorn Cake.  For me, the latter was on point with purposeful sweetness and the nice balancing tang of raspberry.  The pina colada mousse was refreshing and aromatic from the coconut and the pineapple gelee in the middle was a sweet surprise.  Normally, cheesecake is well, cheesecake.  This was was smooth and not overly sweet.  Once again, there was a surprise in the middle in the form of mango panna cotta.  that was also the theme of the chocolate bombe where a blood orange cardamom cremeux added a tangy counterbalance. Now these were not on the $6.00 happy hour menu, but I'd gladly pay full price for them.  But, everything else was definitely $6.00 and a fabulous deal.  How come I didn't know about this earlier?

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Nice spacious patio with a view
- $6.00 happy hour menu
- Generous portion size

The Bad:
- Lovely patio with lots of sunshine, but they need more umbrellas

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