Sherman's Food Adventures: The Deck Kitchen & Bar (Pacific Gateway Hotel)

The Deck Kitchen & Bar (Pacific Gateway Hotel)

"Hey, did you want to join me for a tasting at The Deck?", asked Nancy recently.  The Deck?  What and where is that I thought to myself...  After a quick Google search, it dawned on me that The Deck Kitchen & Bar was formerly Pier 73 at the Pacific Gateway Hotel.  I vividly remember my visit there a few years ago.  The place was located in an awesome waterfront location with plenty of space and parking.  However, it also sported decor that would give a 70's steakhouse a-run-for-its-money.  To top it off, the menu wasn't very interesting.  But with extensive renos and boasting the same stunning water views, the place can be now called trendy.  

We were seated right on the "deck" where one could literally just hang out and soak up the sun.  That we did and also sampled an array of dishes including the Ginger Beef.  Okay, before you start laughing, note that this wasn't any ordinary version.  Rather, it was the original 1975 recipe from the Silver Inn in Calgary.  Yes, the birthplace of the dish!  Apparently, the owner of The Deck is related to the proprietors of the Silver Inn!  I have to say this was very good.  First off, the sauce was thin and not too sweet.  There was a nice tang and bite from the ginger.  Second, the meat quality was superb being striploin.  As a result, it was meaty, moist and tender.  Lastly, the batter was light and crispy.  After that dish, I guess the Tuna Stack had a hard time following it up.  It consisted of furikakae albacore, yam, cucumber, avocado, ssamjang, eel sauce, sticky rice, sesame, tempura crisps and nori.  All of the above ingredients were on point including the chewy rice and combination of sauces.  However, I thought that the tuna should've been completely raw instead of tataki-style as it was too firm in texture. 

Majestically presented, the Deep Fried Whole Sea Bass was topped with cilantro, scallions and bean sprouts.  It was finished off with a sweet soy sauce that was employed in the right amount.  Therefore, the fish itself was allowed to be the star.  It was perfectly crispy outside while still retaining a flaky moist interior.  Seemingly a simple dish, yet at the same time, enjoyable to eat.  Staying on the same theme, we tried the line-caught Ling Cod & Chips with slaw and tartar sauce.  For some reason, when a restaurant is located near water, we have high expectations for the fish & chips (as it is usually offered on the menu).  Well, this one passed the test with flaky fish enveloped by a thin and crispy tempura batter.  The side of fries were plenty golden and crunchy.  A bit watery, the tartar sauce was still creamy and had enough flavour for impact.

Sticking with seafood, the Moules Frites looked plenty appetizing even before we dug in.  It didn't disappoint as all of the mussels were open, large and plump.  They were perfectly prepared where the broth was genuinely impactful.  The combination of butter, garlic, white wine, tomato and herbs were not only for our eyes (which happens often with this dish), I could taste all of it.  The side of fries were golden and crispy just like the previous dish.  Sporting clams, prawns, garlic cream, shoestring fried potatoes, mozzarella, bacon, fennel and mirepoix, the Steveston Flatbread had a lot going on.  The bacon and cold-water prawns stood out with the first bite while the cream and cheese announced themselves at the end.  I found the flatbread itself to be thin and crunchy.  It held up well to the ingredients.  I wasn't so sure about the mirepoix, especially the carrots, as it added a texture that didn't seem to go with the rest of the ingredients.

Similar to the flatbread, the Calamari Frito boasted plenty of complimentary items including jalapeno's, preserved lemon, yam, crispy onion and cilantro while dressed with a lime aioli.  I didn't see any issue with all of the ingredients since they were fine, but the drizzle of aioli did soften up the crunchy potato starch batter.  If it were served on the side, the crispiness would've been longer lasting.  The squid itself was tender with a firm chewiness.  We ended off with the Double Deck Burger with 8 ounces of meat, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle and burger sauce.  This was a very solid burger where the 2 meat patties were still moist while the bacon was thick-cut and crispy.  Loved the fresh tomatoes as it added brightness and moisture.  With all of the dishes we tried on the revamped menu along with the renovations, The Deck has successfully rebranded itself.  Finally, the killer location has been put to good use where it will appeal to more than just the hotel guests.

*All food excluding gratuities was complimentary*

The Good:
- Stunning views
- The decor to match the view
- Improved menu and presentation

The Bad:
- Not really something they can control, but since the deck is open to the outside, you must contend with the bees and flies (maybe sit on the inner portion to avoid that)
- Food is generally solid, a few dishes could use some tweaks though

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