1967 W Broadway
Different cultures have different standards. In my case, being born Chinese, specifically Cantonese, means there is almost no boundaries as to what I can’t eat (which helps because, as far as I know, I do not have any food allergies). However, that is not the case with other cultures, where they have some dietary restrictions. For example, in the case of Muslims, there is the concept of halal and, in the case of Jewish, the concept of kosher. In the case of halal, several middle eastern restaurants in Vancouver have the halal certified sign but, in the case of kosher, not that I could find. But, Sherman found about Maple Grill and asked the usual question… Who is up for it?
But, I wasn’t the only one who answered that call. Along was also Victoria and Karl. Darina originally also replied; unfortunately, it seems she was under the weather that day. Darina, I hope you are feeling better now!
After ordering drinks, it was a debate of what to order. Given it was four of us and the menu of entrees is somewhat limited, we thought we would be able to do a good dent to that, specially considering we would be able to order all the sides. OK, let me try that again: they have 6 entrees (appetizers, soups and sandwiches aside) and there are 8 possible sides. We could order our entrees with any two sides. In fact, you could order seconds for the sides but we chose not to do so in the end. However, we still had big plans for the food, which started with…
Rather than a single appetizer, we ordered *two* appetizers, in this case, hummus and baba ghanoush. Both were served with what seems to be whole wheat pita bread rather than plain pita bread. In both cases, they were good; however, we thought that, in general, there was something that could have been added to make it “better”. For example, the hummus was a bit chunky and some more seasoning would have helped the baba ganoush.
Did I mention something about us trying to do a heavy dent in the menu? And, since we were in a Jewish restaurant, that meant ordering also that stereotypical soup: matzo ball soup. This might be the very first I have this and… It was disappointing. From what I understand, it soup base is chicken soup. However, that chicken taste was really, really faint, almost as if it wasn’t there. As for the ball itself, again, I wasn’t sure what to expect, other. It was fluffy, yes, but devoid of much taste (let’s just say I was expecting something in it).
And, now… The entrees! Since they had six entrees and it was four of us, it was sort of a mad scramble to see who ordered what. However, being food bloggers, after we ordered the food, we ended up sharing what each of us ordered anyway… So, here are the four entrees we had!
From a protein perspective, for the most part, they were well prepared. The schnitzel, while not extremely tender, it was crispy and cooked through. The salmon was slightly overcooked but, otherwise, it was still flaky. Victoria’s lamb chop was juicy (in fact, we thought this was the overall winner out of all dishes) and my tuna, well, it was still raw inside while seared outside. On the sides, though, the story is a bit different. most of the sides were either epic fail or just average, as in something anybody would have been able to do at home. The only exception was the Israeli salad, which had a crunch and seasoned well enough.
We were of course pondering why we thought the sides were subpar when it hit us: because of the kosher guidelines, some combinations are not allowed, namely, that of dairy and non daily. In this case, that meant, some ingredients oftenly used to flavour dishes couldn’t be used. For example, no butter in the mashed potatoes (which all of us thought was bland), instead they added herbs to make up for that lack of flavour – in this case, they added dill. Likewise, in the case of the risotto, since they are not using butter or cheese (i.e., parmigiano), it felt short.
Once we finished, the usual question came: dessert anybody? At first, we weren’t that interested but, after the waitress made some suggestion, that ended up being a snowball effect. Now, what was ordered… Well, I am not sure about it’s name. (Victoria mentioned something on the lines of “ring”). The only thing I heard was that it had poppy seeds. How much poppy seeds? Check the picture below!
There was so much poppy seeds we were wondering if we were going to get in trouble if we suddenly had a drug tests! Anyway, this was quite interesting – it felt like a flaky, soft version of a pancake. Not extremely sweet but sweet enough and the semi-silkiness of the soy ice cream complemented it.
After thinking a little bit, I won’t deny the food has qualities of its own. Price-wise, it would be almost at par to those found in regular dining restaurants. Of course, the problem is that, in some cases, the taste felt a bit short due to dietary restrictions. Given that I don’t have such restrictions, Maple Grill won’t be my first option. But, if somebody checked with me if I wanted to go there, I will put only a token resistance.