Embarcadero was the choice for my monthly dinner with two friends. We were looking for a menu with seafood (not just fish) so this restaurant fit the bill. I was the last to arrive, and we were seated upstairs. C ordered from the regular menu, whereas L and I ordered from The Big Taste menu. It was nice that the whole table didn’t have to order the same way.
The Sandhill Viognier, 2014 was recommended as the wine to go with my appetizer so I ordered a glass. It was quite enjoyable and I ordered another later in the meal to eat with my pasta dish. To start I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms – baked mushroom, crab, lemon juice, Parmigiano-Reggiano, béchamel sauce, asiago, panko bread crumb, white and green onion, port wine and balsamic reduction and herbs. These were just meh. I’ve made better stuffed mushrooms at home. I got only two little mushrooms (I should have included a fork in the photo for scale) and they were bland and watery.
The three of us ordered the Oyster Platter to share. For $27 we got 12 different oysters. We didn’t really know what we were eating, but we could notice a difference between salty and sweet. The descriptions of each oyster were on the fresh sheet if you could figure out which was which. Unfortunately we each got bits of shells in our mouths. The oysters were served with a condiment of radishes and garlic and seasonings. It was good, but we found that it overpowered the oysters. Their homemade hot sauce was quite enjoyable. Although not hot enough for my Asian friends, I thought it had great flavours and just enough heat that you could still taste the subtle differences in the oysters underneath it.
For the main I ordered the Seafood Linguine – asiago and panko crusted Atlantic cod, sautéed prawns, mussels, julienned vegetables and creamy lobster sauce. The pasta was overcooked but the seafood was all cooked well. For the price, there was a fair amount of seafood in the dish. It was very enjoyable, but I can’t say I loved it – it was just missing something. The sauce was a great consistency though – not too runny and not too thick. The dish has great potential… it just needs something to take it to the next level.
For dessert I chose the Baby Bundt Cake – mini chocolate on a chocolate baby bundt cake with Chantilly cream and caramel. It wasn’t anything special, but it was good. You can’t go wrong with a moist chocolate cake!
L ordered the duck spring rolls. He said they were ok – kind of dry. C ordered the Seafood Symphony off the regular menu. It was a huge pile of seafood for $40 and she said everything was moist and cooked perfectly. L had the cheesecake for dessert. He said it was good, but again, nothing special.
As an end to this review, I leave you with my first observations of the restaurant:
- The table beside us was literally as close as it could be – the backs of our chairs were touching and there was no way the people up against the wall would be able to get out of their seats if at least 2 people at 2 tables moved. Not really cool.
- I kept hitting my feet on the giant metal base of the table. It was perhaps one of the biggest table bases I’ve ever had to try to arrange my feet around. Odd. I had to sit funny just to give my legs room to stretch.
- The restaurant was quite loud. Voices travelled and there was a very large table at the opposite end of the room with lots of adults and a few kids. The kids were playing video games on their little handheld gadgets… and they were so bloody loud we could hear all the binging, banging, and music on the other side of the room. How can parents be so oblivious?
- Our server was frantic. Literally. The first thing I noticed when I sat down was she was dealing with an error with a dish at a table near us. The server was so frustrated with the kitchen she was huffing and puffing and loudly throwing dishes down at the counter. The whole evening her presence was felt – she was very stressed out and spoke to herself a lot. Her frustration and anxiety was passed on to us. I have huge appreciation for the challenges of being a server (having never been one myself), especially when the restaurant is full. But, as a customer we should never feel negative vibes coming from anyone working at a restaurant.
Given my experience I’m not sure I’ll return for a while. Maybe they were just overwhelmed during The Big Taste, or maybe there’s a different vibe on the main floor. I’m not sure… but the whole experience was not as I had hoped.