Sherman's Food Adventures: Time & Place

Time & Place

Long ago, Crystal Grille at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown featured an underrated Sunday buffet.  It had changed names to Reflect over 10 years ago and still featured the buffet.  Sadly, that buffet is now gone (they still have a standard breakfast buffet though) and we are only left with a default hotel restaurant.  Once again, they rebranded and now it is known as Time & Place.  Interestingly, after looking at the menu online, the prices seemed very reasonable for a hotel restaurant.  Since my parents loved coming here for the buffet in the past, we took them along to see what this new place had in store.

Since we arrived in time for Happy Hour, we gladly selected a few items from that menu.  Interestingly a 1/2 pound of Wings during happy hour equated to $9.00.  But the regular price for 1 pound was $18.00.  Um, I don't think we were getting a deal...  Anyways, we ended up with 3 orders consisting of hot, garlic & pepper and salt & pepper.  Despite the stark difference in colour, the wings were uniformly crispy with juicy meat.  The hot wings were actually spicy and we enjoyed them.  As for the other 2, they tasted somewhat similar.

Although the Truffle Fries were not the house-cut variety, they were still quite good.  Yes, they somewhat resembled Costco fries, but that wasn't a bad thing though.  Each starch-coated fry was super crispy and ever-so-fluffy inside.  They were well-seasoned and only had just enough truffle oil tossed into it.  Good amount of parm on top to add some nutty saltiness.  These type of fries tend to be greasy, but we didn't find them so.

One of the better values on the happy hour menu is the Applewood House-Smoked Beef Brisket Sliders served with house potato chips.   Nestled within the firm, yet not overly chewy buns, there was a good amount of buttery soft and fatty beef brisket, grainy dijon mayo and caramelized onion.  Pretty good for a non-BBQ restaurant.  Although I wonder why the house-made chips and no house-made fries?

Our last happy hour item was the Slow-Roasted Pork Belly Mac & Cheese which was a fairly large portion.  Although this was on the drier side, there was still enough cheesiness in terms of texture and flavour from the bechamel made of edam and aged cheddar.  As for the macaroni, it was perfectly al dente with a firm chewiness.  There wasn't a huge amount of pork belly, but when we had some, the small bites were tender, fatty and meaty-tasting.

Onto an appie from the regular menu, we had the West Coast Mussels with T&P house lager, chorizo, caramelized onion and fresh cilantro.  Okay, for $18.00, this was an absolute steal.  This pot of mussels was filled to the brim.  As you can clearly see in the picture, these were extremely plump mussels at that.  Furthermore, they were cooked perfectly being buttery, briny and sweet.  Another positive - all of them were fully open.

For myself, I went for the House Ground & Pound Burger featuring a CAB brisket patty, LTOP and edam cheese on a kasier bun.  I thought the burger patty was excellent being moist, meaty and just fatty enough.  All the produce in the burger was fresh and vibrant while the burger sauce was creamy.  However, I would've preferred a softer bun like a brioche or at the very least, toast the kaiser bun instead of serving it as is.

Viv had the West Coast Cioppino consisting of Kuterra salmon and Pacific ling cod, West Coast mussels, tiger prawns, fingerling potato and broccolini in a fennel saffron broth.  For $32.00, this was an absolute steal.  The picture doesn't do it justice as it was chock full of perfectly cooked seafood.  Both the salmon and cod were hard seared, yet still were flaky and moist.  The broth was tomato-forward with a fennel finish.  It could've used a bit more salt though.  

My daughter decided on her favourite, Kuttera Salmon Filet with black garlic spätzle, charred green bean and cauliflower atop a roasted sunchoke and shallot emulsion.  Again, the salmon featured a hard sear and was mildly-seasoned.  This piece was cooked a bit more than the one found in the cioppino.  That black garlic spätzle was packed full of umami and featured an al dente bite.  Rounding out the dish was an aromatic emulsion.

My parents were pretty satisfied with the appies we were ordered, but they still shared the 10oz Grilled CAB Rib Eye Steak with mashed potatoes, charred tomato, broccolini, red wine demi and chimichurri.  Although the steak was charred, I would've preferred a bit more of it.  It was perfectly medium-rare though and was fairly tender.  The chimichurri was bright and flavourful while the demi was rich and silky.

For dessert, we shared two including the Apple Crumble with passionfruit mousse.  Okay, I want to say something positive here, but I cannot because this was terrible.  They didn't baked this enough (in the reheating process) where the crust was flimsy while the topping was mushy.  In fact, the whole thing was barely lukewarm.  Compounding the problem was that there was a complete lack of flavour too.

Now the Caramel Sea Salt Brownie was much better.  It was chewy, purposefully sweet and completely chocolatey.  The sea salt further enhanced the already impactful flavours. It was topped with vanilla bean gelato and there was a side of berrry compote.  Apple crumble withstanding, the food at Time & Place was respectable with some real highlights.  Considering the reasonable pricing, I would actually recommend the place if you were looking for a nicer dinner in a relaxed spot.  It is no more expensive than most of the chain restaurants out there.  Sure, it really depends on what you order, but if you do hit the right dishes, you will be satisfied.

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced
- Depending what you order, the food is more than acceptable
- Excellent service

The Bad:
- Some refinement is necessary, like the bun for the burger and the crappy Apple Crumble
- Very low-key spot, so not trendy like some other restaurants (however, I don't mind low-key sometimes myself)


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