The Other Half was given gift certicates for this place as a Christmas gift from his daughter. We phoned Friday to make a reservation for Saturday and were told only 5:00 or 9:00 pm were available. We chose 5:00 and made our way through the cold, dark fog to Cloverdale.
On arriving, it was impossible to park in the same block as the restaurant. There was a small crowd huddled at the front door, waiting for THEIR 5:00 reservations. It was COLD out there, but they did not open the door until a few minutes after 5:00.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant of this style and calibre tucked away in downtown Cloverdale. Realizing that this had been an old bank branch, it was amazing how the insides have been adapted. Stripped right to the cement block walls, and decorated with vintage "stuff". The area inside has been sectioned off into the main dining area (with a small stage), a bar and lounge, and some seating inside the still-standing vault itself. Makes the place seem much larger than it is!
Our drinks came quickly, followed by our appies: we split calamari and ahi tuna carpaccio. The calamari was one of the very best I've EVER tasted. Fresh and tender, lightly breaded, non-greasy and accompanied by excellent tzatziki - again very fresh and light, just the right amount of garlic. Sesame-crusted tuna carpaccio was also a winner - perfectly-sliced tuna, drizzled with wasabi-soy and garnished with pickled ginger and radish sprouts. Yum.
The OH ordered Mixed Seafood Grill and I struggled with deciding between Seafood Hotpot with red curry sauce and a tenderloin with added prawns; the beef won, but I will absolutely try the Hotpot another time. It smelled terrific as it wafted by on the way to another table.
Seafood grill was prawns, scallops, salmon and halibut in a spicy hoisin-type sauce. Served with rice and daily veg = green filet beans and roasted red pepper. Tenderloin was perfect, prawns were extremely fresh and tasty. Steak came with garlic mashed potatoes (not overwhelmingly garlicked) and the same side vegetables, done to "al dente" stage, a bit of crunch left in them. Also ordered a half-litre of Australia shiraz, which was a good choice. For dessert, we split a tiramisu and the OH had coffee. Both excellent.
The place was jam-packed by 6:00, with several large parties. Lots of servers and bus-persons refilling water glasses, removing empty plates, offering more bread. Orders arrived in good time, fresh and hot. If you make a trip to the very back of the place to find the washrooms (very clean) , watch out for speeding staff!
Absolutely recommended; be sure to make reservations if you even THINK it might be a busy time!