A restaurant attached to the largest Culinary School in Canada.
I congratulate myself on my longest title for a review since I first joined (LOL).
I reviewed this restaurant attached to the VCC Culinary Arts Program a couple of years ago.
This evening, a good friend and my family enjoyed the LAST Friday Evening Buffet. When I inquired about it - I was told that they were going to change the format to Serving "Stations" with carvers and staff (students) freshly sauteeing items. There will also be some self serve items at each "station".
We discussed reasons for the change - and managing left over food from the buffet was one reason for the change (as there is a lot of waste otherwise). Also, the change will allow better hygiene (as there will be a Foodsafe staff person serving at each station).
In any case, I truly hope that the new format has the quality of the buffet. The food is always expertly prepared, there are eager students working as wait staff and the place is spotlessly clean and elegantly decorated. The price is $24 per adult and a mere $10 for each of my children.
Again, I hope that the new format continues with the value pricing.
Just as an aside, JJ's also has table d'hote service on regular weekdays with three courses for $24. They also have fantastic lunches (as mentioned by a previous reviewer).
Reservations are a must.
Just an aside, it is important to remember that this is a classroom. The waitstaff and the chefs are STUDENTS in the program. Be patient, they are learning.
I'll update my review as soon as they have their new format up and running and I get a chance to check it out.
This was our first time dining at JJ's at VCC. We had heard about it before, but hadn't had the time to try it as they close quite early. They only have seatings for dinner at 5:30pm and 6pm and they close their doors at 7pm. On Fridays they have a buffet dinner as well.
When we arrived we were happily greeted by quite a few students, and the Maitre D. As the first to arrive they were eager to to serve us. The Maitre D told us the students cooking the meals were in their last month of training, while the ones serving us were in their 9th month of training, and both did exceptionally well! The servers were very polite (although a little timid), but very quick to assist. I have allergies and they were quick to check each and every item we ordered to ensure no problems.
The restaurant is very clean, and looks like it was renovated recently. The decor was nice, clean, and comfortable. It's kind of odd as it stands out from the rest of the campus, which looks like any other generic college.
The food was very good. The menu was a 3 course meal and had many options for appetizers, entrees and desserts. The food was on par with most fine dining restaurants. I had a tomato and goat cheese salad, to start, a New York Steak, and vanilla donuts with coffee ice cream. My wife had a seafood stew to start, braised lambchops, and chocolate cake. Everything was tasty, well presented, and the portions were quite reasonable.
And what's the price you ask? The 3 course set dinner was only $24/person! Quite amazing considering what we had.
Suffice to say we really enjoyed ourselves, and will definitely come back again if we have the chance. The only down side is the early seating times. Highly recommended!
This is going to become a regular spot for us. The valuse supasses anywhere in the lower mainland for fine dining. The presentation and flavours are amazing.
The servers are learning and are not learning to be servers- they are actually culinary students learning the "front of the house" as explained to us. You could tell which ones have never served before but they were solid at taking care of us.
What is amazing is the food that comes out of that kitchen - AND you can watch them prepare on the tv- I wish we were sitting closer to the TV to see better but it was great to see these future Culinary Experts learning their trade and enjoying it!
I had the Beets, Goat Cheese Crouton with candied walnuts and pickled shallots, the lamb sirloin and the dark peanut better cake (FOR $24~) Crazy cheep price but amazing food. The lamb was outstanding and mint chutney with roasted cauliflower was excellent. The peanut butter cake was the top of the house though! WoW - I was worried at portion size when i saw how pretty the salad was- but dont dispare- we left full!
My partner had the Pork Belly (I tasted and yes I had food envy) , he had the duck breast with polenta, veggies and rhubarb. also WOW - and the pistachio cake,white chocolate mouse.
Anyway - planning to go back by the end of the month in case they change the menu as i want to try the scallops and the i want the lamb again!
Go for the food! These are culinary students and whoever is in the kitchen training them - WOW - great job!
This is a really tough review to write as a restaurant usually has pretty consistent staff, managers and policies etc. JJ's is a college training ground so you should expect some variability as groups of students cycle through the program, gain experience and skill and then graduate.
Our group went for lunch the other day and the value is amazing with a really good variety of excellently prepared meals (steak, salmon, turkey etc.) for $9 including all the fixings. Dessert was $4 extra.
Most of our main meals were, frankly, excellent. The lamb was particularly appreciated by those who had it. The Christmas pudding was quite unlike anything I'd had before - and not in a nice way as it was crunchy and hard. It was a dare to try a Christmas pudding as it's always been an odd concoction.
If you are lucky - you will have an excellent group of confident and experienced servers and cook staff. Or, like us, you may have someone who looked very scared. The next table over appeared to have an excellent student who knew exactly what to do and say. We do hope we were not too hard on our server - but waiting 25 minutes for a cup of coffee is hard; and there were other issues. I was surprised that diners were not offered an opportunity to provide written feedback to the staff and students as it might have been helpful. I think Gordon Ramsey does that in his H**s Kitchen Show. Good idea as I'd like to help these kids learn quickly and learn well what provides them and the restaurants where they work - the best customer satisfaction and the biggest tips.
So - do go and enjoy the experience. It's really quite a nice room, but meal times may be a bit slow. I think reservations are a must as it seemed to be full the day we were there. Best of luck to the diners, the students and the staff that guide them. It is open at lunch and early evening only. Call in for details.
I have been a regular for years. I take select clients here for lunch and they are always delighted. However it is not for everyone . If you must have topnotch experienced wait staff go elsewhere and pay a lot more. This is a training ground for culinary hopefuls. As such the service can be "interesting". That being said, if you make allowances for the fact that these people are learning it is frequently a delightful experience.
The food is always excellent. It is sometimes adventurous but for the most part it is good solid high-end fare properly cooked and nicely presented. The prices are low and the mark up on wine is very reasonable. You can *dine* here for pocket change.
We went for the Friday night buffet. Food was reasonable but I found there were more appetizer than main course. The meats & salmon were overdone & kind of tasteless. The appetizers looked better than its taste but the variety was interesting. Dessert was good, choices were plenty but I thought they would taste better if they were more chilled. The waitress was quite attentive & our emptied plates were put away quickly. Room could be more ventilated for a warm summer day. Overall I think it's a good meal considering the cost.