Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Secret Crabcakes at Eight-1/2 Restaurant Lounge

eight 1/2 Restaurant Lounge on UrbanspoonVANEATS "SalivEIGHT" $15 dining passes are still available for Eight ½ Restaurant Lounge, and include their for-this-promotion-only crab cakes, which are not on the regular menu. If you do go, you *can* separately order the crab cakes at $12.50.

Here's how the VANEATS coupon works out...
  • Flight of Stanley Park Brewery Belgian Style Beer,
    • 2 "Ambers", subtle toasted malt, lightly hopped, exceptionally clean finish
    • 2 "Bruns", distinctive dried fruit aromatics, complex chocolate, roasted nut and malt biscuit
  • Your Choice of Appie:
    • Tortilla Soup
    • Baked Brie
    • Dungeness Crab Cakes
  • Your Choice of Thin Crust Pizza:
    • 8th Avenue
    • Market Place
    • Wild Smoked Salmon
The beers are basically four half-height glasses, which works out to about two glasses of beer. You can order a "Craft Beer Flight" for $8.50, which gets you four different beers, so the flight of beers on the dining pass works out to about $8.50 in value; and the pass itself adds up to about half off your meal.

Half off sounds great, except that it's really just a very light, almost snack-like, portion of food for two persons. You are allowed only 1 pass per two persons, so you can expect to have to order something extra to round out a lunch or dinner. I went with two persons (to drink my beer since I'm not a drinker!) and we tried a bunch of stuff:

Baked Brie ($8.50) Filo wrapped brie, okanagan honey, sambal oelek, candied apple
  • One wedge about the length and width of a typical slice of cake. Not generous, but not skimpy either. At $8.50, might be a bit pricey.
  • Sounded interesting but really boring. It's just baked brie, with a bit of honey drizzled on the top and about a thimble's worth of sliced candied apple in a tiny mound on the side. The token chili (sambal oelek) sits on the bottom and basically had no contribution other than a splash of colour if you remembered to look for it (so look for it and try to get some on your cheese).
  • Eat this right away no matter when it comes to your table. Yes, with the pass it'll be competing for priority with your pizza, but you really don't want cold brie.
Dungeness Crab Cakes ($12.50) served with lemony yogurt and arugula
  • We chose this for the dining pass, and my friend liked it so much (she just loves crab cakes) that we asked if we could order it.
  • This is two cakes, each quite small. The two together might have added up to the volume of a tennis ball.
  • Clearly lots of crab meat, but I personally thought there was too much lemon, certainly enough to mask any crabby flavour.
"Wild Smoked Salmon" Thin-Crust Pizza (10", $12.50) BC smoked salmon, creamy dill, capers, red onion, craisins, mozzarella
  • Whole slices of salmon make it clear that there is salmon on this pizza.
  • Red onion baked right into the crust (or pressed so hard it penetrated the crust).
  • Very poorly distributed ingredients on our particular pizza: The salmon was arranged evenly, but the craisins and dill all ended up on one side of the pizza. It's sort of too late to fix once it reaches your table, since it's all pasted together with mozza. I guess it's okay if you're eating it alone, but if you're sharing, you'll just have to watch out and let everyone get a bit of something.
"Marketplace" Thin-Crust Pizza (10", $11.50) Roasted vegetables, goat cheese, torn basil, sundried tomato base, mozzarella, and Fresh Grated Parmesan (+$0.50)
  • This was our order separate from the dining pass. We decided to try the optional parmesan. It comes either "fresh grated" or as a house-made dip. I managed to get a sample of the latter and it looked like just grated parmesan in some sort of salad dressing.
  • The $0.50 worth of fresh grated parmesan was barely anything, maybe less than a tablespoon if I remember correctly.
  • This pizza turned out okay. Not very salty, so if you insist on having too much sodium in your diet you could ask for salt. Very mild goat cheese. For some reason it ended up tasting like egg to me (Huh? I know.)
Banana Bread Pudding ($6.50) Banana bread meets bread pudding, topped with warm Caramel
sauce, a homemade marshmallow, and vanilla bean ice cream
  • This was really decent. Strong banana flavour with the bread. You'll have to remember to pair it with the marshmellow and ice cream.
  • The homemade marshmellow is quite a bit different from a store-bought bagged marshmellow, but other than that it's really just a novelty with this dish. I think it could have been more interesting had it been melted on, but that might have over-sweetened the whole dessert.
The VANEATS coupon showed up on the bill as "VE 8TH AVE PIZZA" and charged at $1.80, which was pretty strange. However, since the Banana Bread Pudding was $6.50 on the bill whereas it was $7.50 on the menu, I didn't want to quibble over 80 cents.
After dining pass, tax, and tip (including the value of the items we ordered for the dining pass), it came to $60 for the three of us, or $20 per person. Without the dining pass, it would have been closer to $25 per person (again, that includes tax and tip).

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