One of the nice things about living in Seattle is that Canada is really close. This means that in the winter it’s not too far to drive to hit Whistler, and in the summer we can check out the ever-growing beach volleyball scene (can you say “loose” setting?). It also means an opportunity to check out even more restaurants. On this most recent trip, I was definitely looking forward to checking out a couple places, especially since I had heard some really good things about a couple of recently visited spots. This ended up being a quick trip, so we only ended up hitting two places; The Boathouse beachside cafe and the Sunset Grill.
Deck on the Boathouse beachside cafe
After sitting on the beach all morning, watching volleyball, I started to get hungry, and headed up to The Boathouse. On the bottom is a beach cafe that serves a pretty simple menu. It’s definitely a quick serve style with a couple registers and a grab and go bar, very reminiscent of what you would find in an airport. I decided to go with the bacon cheeseburger and sea salt seasoned french fries figuring that since it was associated with The Boathouse (which has some pretty good reviews), I would get something pretty good in return. The whole thing was a little pricey at $15 Canadian for a burger and fries, but it was on par for what I would pay at a place like Sport, so I wasn’t entirely turned off.
I ended up waiting for my order for about 10-15 minutes, so figured I was getting a nice fresh cooked meal. When I finally got it, I grabbed a little ketchup for the fries, and headed back to the beach. Sitting down, I looked into the box, and was a little disappointed as the cost-to-quantity ratio seemed a bit lower than expected. But, I thought that a good burger would make up for it. I pulled the bun off the top to check out the burger to see how it was cooked, and immediately realized that it wasn’t going to be good. The burger was in the shape of what could best be described as a snowflake, with six obvious points. It’s not the type of burger that is hand made; it’s the type of burger that’s pre-cooked, frozen, and reheated. And when I bit in, it was clear that it was not a real burger. The bacon was soft, not crispy, and lacked flavor. The burger was not at all juicy, and was not flavorful. In fact, I wondered if it had been cooked in a microwave rather than a flat top. The fries were lifeless and flavorless, as if they had been sitting under a heat lamp for quite some time. There was no crisp, just a bit of staleness. And the sea salt? Maybe they were afraid there wasn’t enough salt in the sea and they needed to conserve as there was scarcely any to be found. This ended up being the type of meal that not only did I not finish, but I was actually a little upset at myself for having eaten in the first place.
I will say that again, it was a cafe that was below The Boathouse, so it may not be an accurate reflection on the restaurant. But, if you are going to put your name on it, you should know what is going out. This was a pretty disappointing experience to say the least.
Final Verdict – 0.5 Stars
Deck on Sunset Grill
At the end of the day, after the tournament was over, the volleyball crowd packed everything up and headed to the Sunset Grill for a post tournament dinner and brew. It is apparently a Vancouver/Kits Beach tradition, and who are we to break with tradition? Walking in, there was a spot reserved and set aside for the volleyball players. The place itself is a simple Irish-themed sports bar with flat screen TVs and Irish flags. We ordered a pitcher of Molson (we were in Canada after all) and an order of Cumin Pork Ribs before perusing the Irish menu. I was debating between a few different options, but ended up asking the waitress her recommendation. She started with the pot roast, but after two days of having my own (which was damn good by the way), I decided I wanted something different. So, I opted for the prime rib stuffed with Yorkshire pudding, only to found out that they were out. Finally, I ended up going with the fish (basa) and chips.
Before we’d finished our first glass, the ribs arrived. I learned that they are the rib tips off the end of the pork spare ribs that are normally discarded that are rubbed and then cooked in the deep fryer. They were pretty good, nice and juicy, and bite off the bone tender which is how ribs should be. They were a little lighter on the spice than I’d hoped, but all in all a great start to the meal, and something I’m going to try and make myself. Unfortunately, this ended up being the high point of the meal. When my fish and chips arrived it looked ok, and I was eager to dig in. As I usually do with fish and chips I went to add some malt vinegar, but there was no malt vinegar. Just a simple, very mild flavored vinegar that the breading completely absorbed. Biting in, the outside was crispy, but the fish was completely mushy. Rather than nice and flaky like you want fish and chips, it was about the consistency of mashed potatoes. The fries were just as lack luster. While they appeared to be hand cut, there was no crunch or crispiness (or even heat). And the slaw didn’t appear to have any dressing on it at all, and I had to add vinegar just to get a little bit of flavor outside the raw cabbage. It ended up being yet another meal that I didn’t finish, and felt bad about eating.
The Sunset Grill was definitely a fun volleyball player spot; a great place to relax with a beer. And it’s a place where I’ll try a couple of other things because I’m sure we’ll end up back there (though not the cheeseburger which was almost as bad as the one I had for lunch). The ribs lead me to believe that there is some good food coming out of that kitchen, even if the fish and chips were not it.
Final Verdict – 2 Stars