Friday, November 22, 2013

Coast Happy Hour

Coast Restaurant on Urbanspoon Unlike Joe Fortes, Coast does accept reservations for half-priced Happy Hour, and it can see large groups sit down for it. Instead of being shuffled off to the bar, you get tables and sit-down meal service. Nice! They also call to confirm TWO days before, which was a little disorienting for me and I ended up confusing the hostess by trying to confirm the reservation for "tomorrow".

Happy Hour at Coast is everything on the left side of the menu, except Sides -- Soups, Salads, Hot, Steamers, Flatbreads. There was also something about taking off the lower-priced of two entrees, but you'd best ask about that more carefully to see which items qualify.
We sat down for Happy Hour at around 4.30pm and it wasn't terribly busy, but attendance was steady and slowly picked up. We were seated sort-of near the kitchen at the back, which had a more enclosed feel probably because of the lower ceiling. I would have thought it an advantage as being close to the kitchen should (?) have meant hotter food hitting the table, but strangely, that was not the case. Our food was generally on the hot side of lukewarm, but didn't seem piping "hot from the grill" -- even the lobster poutine served in a cast iron pan.

Crispy Garlic Fried Calamari ($13.95) fresno chilies, cilantro, lime aioli
  • Large slices of breaded calamari. I think this one sat at the counter a bit too long because it wasn't particularly crispy on the outside.
  • No spicy-heat contribution from the chili content (was there even chili?).
  • Sort of tame and OK. Goodly amount and the large chunks make it more convenient to eat instead of chasing scraps -- a good choice for presenting calamari.
Prawn "Mac'n Cheese" ($11.95) tarragon, mascarpone gratin
  • Enough prawns in there to make their presence know, but not really studded with it. Tasted sort of tame.
  • The tarragon I tasted intermittently, which added an occasional interesting flavour to each bite. Sadly, I don't actually like that flavour (along with star anise and biting into cardamom), so you'll have to judge whether this was a good choice.
  • This was OK. Portion was also OK for the price if you wanted it as a light entree on its own; it's a decent price at Happy Hour rates.
Lobster Poutine ($18.95) smoked bacon, sunny side up egg
  • There was bacon?
  • The shell of the small half lobster tail used is added to the small cast iron pan (6 inch?) for decoration. It's easy to miss the white pieces of lobster, especially if you chop up the egg white.
  • Nothing too special here either, and sure you get lobster, but the price feels pretty steep for what you get. Good at Happy Hour price I guess.
Smoked Salmon Flatbread ($14.95) dil crème fraîche, red onion, capers, arugula
  • Beautiful presentation and carefully cut based on how much salmon ends up on each piece. I thought the ends could have used a bit more salmon since one end was about 1.5" of just flatbread.
  • Not enough contribution from the dill. I think this lacked a little something to kick up the flavour.
Overall I wasn't too impressed with the items we tried, but it's also hard to argue value for money when they're already giving it to you at half price. Everything was at least done decently, so at some point I should probably go back with a Coast fan to give the regular menu a proper try.
Service and bussing was attentive, which is something that often doesn't get stated unless you're missing it.
Something I keep forgetting is to tip based on the original price instead of the discount price. Remember: Happy Hour is half off, so your tip should (?) be approximately double what you normally give, maybe less a few percentage points for the non-discounted drinks.

Also, eat strategically during the day! Often, when we get together for happy hour, someone will have already eaten lunch. Duh! Have a snack for lunch.

The super-hot Filipino hostess also had an interesting name involving fried rice. Don't tease her about it though -- she's wearing a wire and will call for backup. (Is it just me or are all the waiters there six-foot-plus?)

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