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cryptocowMetro VancouverSince February 15, 20094 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (2.8)
  • Food3.5 (3.3)
  • Service2 (2)
  • Value3 (3)
  • Ambiance3 (2.8)


Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 Reviews Found
Dublin Castle319 Governors Court, New Westminster
Not The Pride Of Ireland (since 1912?)
Submitted Sunday, March 27, 2011 - 12:14am [Dine in]

The only thing Irish about the Dublin Castle is the green paint on the wall, and some novelty pieces posted on them.
The full name is Dublin Castle Neighbourhood Grill. They portray themselves as an Irish restaurant, but operate like a neighbourhood sports pub. Where a restaurant, in most cases, would seat you, Dublin's has you looking for a spot like a pub.
Service was abrupt like a pub, not a restaurant. Where pub service staff is often abrupt and swift as they look to move as much booze as possible, restaurant service should be relaxed and designed to make your visit a pleasant experience.
Castle? The building used to be the main entrance building of the old British Columbia Penitentiary (The Pen). This not a bad thing at all. But when you market yourself as an Irish castle pub, and pay homage in some part to the old Pen in some of the memorabilia that is presented, what are we to absorb from this experience.
So let's talk about food. They promote Irish, but tell us they provide our pub favourites. Therefore, considering delivering on Irish dishes is more challenging than most pub favourites, let's take a couple of items my wife and I ordered to guage the capabilities of Dublin.
My wife order the beef dip. The beef was tough, and the fries that accompanied it could have been cooked a bit longer. When cut thin, tender beef should have absorbed the dip with a consistency similar to the bread. Some side salad should have been a part of the dish. This is an easy entre to consistently deliver.
I had the fish and chips. The fries were perfect, better than those my wife had. And that was the positive part. The fish had a wedge shape which suggested it was not fresh, likely frozen pieces that were maybe battered at the restaurant. The batter easily fell away from the fish, which only further bolstered the argument the fish was not fresh. The fish also tasted fishy. Freshly cooked fish does not taste fishy!
It is so easy to deliver fresh fish and chips, or beef dip for that matter, and only a lazy owner or kitchen chef would be guilty on failing on simple dishes. God knows what they would do with any iconic Irish favourites.

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Poco Ocean Restaurant2755 Lougheed Highway, #2, Port Coquitlam
No More Visits To Hon's
Submitted Sunday, July 12, 2009 - 10:52pm [Dine in]

I am somewhat hesitant to post a review for Poco Ocean because I fear it will be more difficult to get a reservation than it already is. However, a restaurant this good deserves to be recognized.

We had been looking for a new Chinese restaurant to try in the Port Coquitlam area as we have become increasing disappointed with Hon’s. Looking at the reviews on this site, and checking the inspection history at Fraser Health, we decided to give Poco Ocean a try.

Especially for dinner you must make a reservation. The restaurant seats no more than 50 to 60 people. It is across the street from Hon’s at the farthest and most remote section of the Poco Place Mall at Westwood Street and Lougheed Highway in Port Coquitlam. This is the most unassuming restaurant you will go to.

We have been there three times and they are consistent and great. When you make your reservation, please be patient as English is not spoken well. However, do not let that deter you from trying this gem as the ladies waiting tables are very friendly and they want you to enjoy your visit. Also, do not let the specials written on the wall preventing you from trying some awesome food. Pick what you would like from the menus, then ask your server to suggest something (pick a protein chicken, beef, fish, pork) from the specials. You will not be disappointed.

One caution I would provide is that this is a small operation. They do a lunch and dinner service, closing at 2:00 PM and re-opening at 5:30 PM. There is the chef, and two serving staff. Service will appear to be slow (i.e. getting seated, getting your order taken, and paying the bill), but once your order is in the food is served in good order. Make sure you bring cash as they do not accept credit or debit cards. Two people having, soup, four items, and a beer each will run you about $55.00 to $60.00.

We will not be returning to Hon’s anytime soon! We have our new home for Chinese food at Poco Ocean.

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All Thai'd Up Restaurant2636 Kingsway Ave., Port Coquitlam
A Gem In The Hole-In-The-Wall
Submitted Saturday, March 7, 2009 - 3:05am [Dine in]

Hole-in-the-Wall has over time come to be known as a hideout a gang escapes to elude a pursuing posse. When one passes the Kingsway, Port Coquitlam, location of ‘All Thai’d Up’, it can easily be missed, day or night. The largely industrial and railway area surrounding ‘All Thai’d Up’ would easily hide anyone who enters it. ‘All Thai’d Up’ is an unpolished gem you will find in this hole-in-the-wall.

My wife was looking for restaurants in the Tri-Cities area and happened upon ‘All Thai’d Up’ when looking at top ratings at ’dinehere.ca’. It seemed inconceivable that a worthy restaurant could be found in this area. Well the adage ‘beauty is only skin deep’, or in this case a lack of beauty, is appropriate.

I have enjoyed Thai cuisine for more than 15 years, both in Toronto and Vancouver. Yes, as some reviewers have noted, this is not your typical restaurant Thai cuisine. The same goes for the owners, their approach to Thai cuisine, and their surroundings.

The owners, husband host/manager/waiter/bus boy, wife cook and sometimes waitress, is a team started from a trek through Thailand 20 years ago. Mrs. ‘All Thai’d Up’ cooks from a tradition of fresh herbs, freshly made curries, and a method more commonly found in the home, most especially found in her Tom Yum’s and Tom Kha. I will be back for her Tom Yum Gai.

Any worthy Thai restaurant has a good Tom Yum, but it is its curries that determine its authenticity. Her Gaeng Dang (red curry with chicken) has made me a number one fan.

I came to love Thai cuisine while living in Toronto at a small whole in the wall on Dundas Street. It is still a hole in the wall, and doing very well. Often it is the small, hungry, and principled restaurateurs and chefs that deliver quality food and a comfortable atmosphere at great prices that in the end will create an enduring success. Location is irrelevant.

There are some interesting extras about ‘All Thai’d Up’ that make it unique. They host a salsa dancing group. They teach Thai cooking, free. They teach how to make herbal remedies, teas, juices, and healthy cosmetics. They have poetry sessions, Thai meditation, and more. ‘All Thai’d Up’ has soul to serve up with their curries.

Now, ‘All Thai’d Up’ has been operating for 6 months, and their freshman short-comings are evident, no where more evident than in their service delivery. That is not to say their service is bad, or that they are not seeking to ensure satisfied customers. Mrs. ‘All Thai’d Up’ took our order, but forgot to write down and make my wife’s order. When we asked where the dish was, our host owned up to their error, and rushed the dish through. It was great. They also did not charge us for the dish, and we did not have to ask for redress because of their error.

I would suggest that ‘All Thai’d Up’ needs a bit more resources to ensure they can deliver they tasty meals in a timely fashion. This was evident with our appetizer, Satay. The chicken is charcoal broiled which matches well with their freshly made peanut sauce. However, the skewers cooked too long and the chicken crossed into dry. I can tell that if could for the right amount of time, Satay would be standard on everyone’s orders.

We will be returning to ‘All Thai’d Up’, and I dare say we will order takeout as well. I would suggest that eating at ‘All Thai’d Up’ is better as you get your meal hot as it was intended. I would also suggest that you be patient and encouraging. This gem is worth our support, and an effort by ‘All Thai’d Up’ to improve service delivery.

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Al Porto Ristorante321 Water Street, Vancouver
Did not meet expectations
Submitted Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 3:05am [Dine in]

A lack of solid execution in all areas.

Al Porto has an excellent location, a character building in Gastown, and a clean, Mediterranean Italian theme decor. However, our seating at a table was delayed 10 minutes or more after we arrived. We waited at the bar, but we had made reservations for this day made weeks before. The front staff were either not prepared, or there were not enough resources to start the evening. Surprising considering this was a Saturday night, and it was Valentine's Day, something a busy restaurant should always be prepared for.

Service execution could have been much better. We ordered drinks and our food at the same time, however we did not receive our drinks until well after our appetizers had been served. This was something considering we ordered the foie gras. One could not begin our foie gras without the wine to enjoy it with. We asked for coffee with our dessert when our meat course plates were removed, but yet again the coffee arrived after we completed our desserts. Al Porto either did not have enough wait staff, or the leadership of the wait team has failed to set and lead an example of best in service for every customer, at every moment, until the last customer has left the restaurant. We received more attentive and complete service from the young lady bussing our table, as she noticed when our bread required refilling, along with our water glasses.

Food execution could have been much better. The starting bread could have been much better. In fact I will bet my meal tab that it was bought bread. Al Porto serves pizza, so there should not be an excuse to make fresh bread. The butter that was served with it was cold hard, and without the bread being warm, it could not be spread. It should have been freshly whipped during prep, not little slabs on ice.

It was obvious that foie gras is not regularly a part of Al Porto's menu. Their team must have been afraid of over-cooking it as the smaller cut of foie gras was not properly caramelized on both sides with a hot enough pan. The veal medallions were flat. It was as though they had not been seasoned prior to being seared. The mushroom sauce was great, but without the veal done right, the dish fails. Also, the veal came close to being over-cooked. Another minute in the oven and it would have been dry. The Osso Buco was not a failure, but for the price I have had better at places like Pasta Polo in Coquitlam.

Finally, on food execution, it is easy to tell that a completed dish is sitting under a warmer awaiting the completion of a companion order for a table. The dish is always hotter than the food. This was evident in our meat course. This was also an indication that Al Porto was having problems with execution and timing of cooking an order. This should not have been a problem on a set menu considering that it is based on the regular menu, and that customers could only order from the set menu.

Food choice for the set menu is also an indicator on the creative and skill choice of the Al Porto team. Set menus are an opportunity to demonstrate to potential customers the capabilities of their team, and that their regular menu is worthy of inclusion in a customer's regular restaurant options. However, the set menu for Valentine's Day was almost exclusively from the regular menu.

One area that any restaurant can loose on are bathrooms. Any well run restaurant will have appealing bathrooms that are always spotless. A restaurant of Al Porto's seating capacity should have an attendant focused on bathrooms. Now, Al Porto's bathrooms were clean at the beginning of the evening's service. However, the decor was dated and undermined the aura of the decor in Al Porto's many dining areas. Just as the food execution undermined the menu and Al Porto's location and ambience. To be a part of our regular restaurant options, Al Porto has some work to do, and attain a higher level of standards.

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