Monday, May 19, 2014

Chinois Prawns at West Oak

West Oak Restaurant on Urbanspoon What used to be Chinois became West Oak. Their pricey menu of Chinese food has now changed to someting fresh, local, and honestly not-very-exciting sounding. Except the "Chinois Prawns". I still remember those prawns being so darned good two years ago during the Taste of Yaletown that I wanted to go back and see if they were still good here -- and at $10 less.

Chinois Prawns ($14 for 5 prawns) housemade spicy aioli, candied walnuts
  • Yeah, I know -- that's $2.80 per prawn. But it's tasty. Get this. Besides, when this place was Chinois, these prawns would have cost you $24 instead of $14.
  • Don't be put off by the "spicy" aioli. There's just a bit of a kick from it, and not even any bite to it.
  • Be sure to get that spicy aioli AND bits of candied walnuts onto your prawn before you put it in your mouth. The candied walnuts have a tendency to fall off forgotten.
West Oak Tomohawk Platter for 4 ($185) 48 oz on the bone ribeye chop, Alberta rack of lamb, sauteed prawns, fresh vegetables, roasted fingerling potatoes, peppercorn sauce
  • Takes about 45 minutes to prep because it's 48 oz. Happily it comes sliced for you, plus the one one that you can wave around the table for fun.
  • Comes on a single huge platter. Recommended for 4 but it works for a party of six (like ours, who were thankfully easy-going about ordering this in lieu of choosing something of their own) AND you can fit in appys and desserts to share.
  • Medium rare, but the edges might be more well-done than that.
  • Depending on which piece you grab, the rack of lamb will either have a little meat or barely anything to be worth the effort. Don't count on it to add mass and protein to the plate. This plate is basically steak and potatoes. Not a lot of potato, either.
  • Steak is steak. There's actually nothing too special here taste-wise.
  • If you dissect the price, it's actually not terribly better than just getting a 12 oz striploin at $37 that comes with its own sides anyway. Add sauteed prawns to that (+$8) and the price is about the same.
Desserts: Brownie ($7), Chocolate Pudding ($8), Fresh Cookies ($6 for 6), Pecan Pie ($7), Sundae ($7).
  • The desserts were basically nothing special. Well prepared, but nothing wow. Price for portion is also OK.
  • Cookies come in two types: Dark chocolate chip and milk chocolate chip. A bit flat. Baked to order, apparently, so eat them quickly.
  • Our server very helpfully and on her initiative arranged for the sundae to be split into six small cups.
Table service was ace, though that may have been because I remembered our lovely server Jessica from two years ago when the place was Chinois, and she remembered me and our party as well. She even recalled where we sat and the incident of the accidentally lukewarm dish served to one of our party. For something that happened two years ago, and being in a profession where you see thousands of people coming and going, I thought she had a pretty amazing memory that she remembered anyone at all.
Anyway, if you do go, Jessica is the friendly, helpful blonde and trust me, you want her to be your server. Ask her about the Jimmy Kimmel party and how someone "offered" her a bite from a Tomohawk Platter.

The best part of West Oak (depending on whether you like people watching) is who works there and who goes there. Waitresses are all hawt and in black dresses that have a strategically located slit right at the cleavage. On the Saturday night, there were a lot of hot patrons too. Somehow West Oak has branded themselves as where the beautiful people come to hang out. Was it only because of the long weekend? Go see for yourself.

Keep an eye out for the one male server who looks like Russell Brand.

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