Restaurant: Encore Restaurant Lounge
Cuisine: American/International/West Coast
Last visited: March 26, 2010
Location: Aldergrove, BC
Address: 27279 Fraser Highway
Price Range: $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3, we apparently ordered the best things though (Dessert: 1)
Service: 5 (I had a wicked server)
Ambiance: 2 (red lighting just doesn’t work for me)
- Family style casual finer dining in Aldergrove
- Independently owned
- Attracts families and 45+
- Made in house items
- Great value, good portions
- Dated atmosphere
- Hard to find – poor signage
- Busy, popular to Aldergrove locals
- Selection of home made desserts
- More restaurant than lounge
- Bar area
Geez I didn’t know the numbers got so high! My friend recommended it and the drive alone was an adventure. Freaking far… it’s super easy to drive right by because the only signage is on the door and there are no lights. Definitely a place that has been around for ages that only locals would know about.
I’m not a fan of the brothel like lighting, it definitely needs a restaurant makeover.
If it’s appropriate to say, or even if it’s not, I’m still going to say it. It’s “fine dining” Aldergrove style. It’s casual, unpretentious and where you would go when the family wants to have a nice dinner. It’s almost like Swiss Chalet – something on that level but it’s not a chain and there are candles. Very suburban, fit for the family or “let’s bring grandpa for his 60th birthday” type of place. It’s not fine dining and it’s quite dated inside and out, but don’t underestimate the food. It’s actually good, at least based on what I tried.
This isn’t the full menu – but most of it.
I got the feeling they have a talented chef who wants to exercise his creativity, but can’t because he needs to stick to familiar items for the clientele.
A major part of why I enjoyed my food is because my server was awesome! She was so blunt and when I asked her recommendations she didn’t hesitate to say “no” or “yes” or “don’t get that” – I loved it! I just didn’t like the recommendations for the desserts… that was not good.
**Recommendations: Crab Cakes, Boneless Beef Short Rib, Seared Halibut
On the table:
Complimentary Baguette – 2.5/6
- This was just a regular store bought baguette.
- You can get refills of both at no extra charge.
- Confit Portabella, cream cheese $6.95
- This was basically a deconstructed stuffed portabella mushroom. It wasn’t “stuffed”.
- The portabella was baked and it was bit dry and wrinkly.
- The ball of cream cheese was big for the size or the portabella and it had some mixed herbs and it was nice and salty.
- It melted nicely over the mushroom and it was nice to have the flakey filo pastry roll. The sauce was just a simple Portabella pan jus.
- It was a very odd course that never came together in conccept, but it tasted fine.
- Avocado salsa and spicy aioli $9.95
- I thought the most crab I would see in a crab cake was going to be at The Shore Club in downtown Vancouver. Those were good crab cakes and so were these!
- The waitress highly recommended these as I was debating between crab cakes and prosciutto wrapped prawns. She said those are good, but these are better.
- It was almost 100% crab – no fillers or at least very little. I couldn’t taste any except for some fresh parsley and seasonings.
- It was crispy, flaky and lightly breaded. The sauce was a chili mayo and it was tangy, spicy and great with the crab cakes.
- The avocado salsa was more like mashed up avocados rather than a salsa, but it was still good. Everything worked.
- This was a meal on its own. They were the size of hockey pucks, but thicker. Totally worth it!
- Rice pilaf, sweet pepper ragout, pesto cream $19.95
- This was the server’s #1 recommendation for the mains.
- The halibut was a thin fillet and it was huge. It was very tender and juicy and flaked away like cod. So moist and very buttery.
- The pesto cream was very home made. I could definitely taste the fresh herbs and it was also very buttery. It wasn’t too nutty in flavour but was still very flavourful. It wasn’t reduced enough so it was too runny.
- The rice was surprisingly good! Each grain was well flavoured and it was cooked in a chicken or vegetable broth. It was missing the onions, celery, and bell peppers etc – but it tasted good.
- The sweet pepper ragout tasted like roasted red peppers from a jar. It was really sweet and caramelized and mixed with some onions. A bit random and odd to have in this course, but they were fine alone.
**Boneless Beef Short Rib – 4/6
- Pomme puree, braised king mushroom and truffle jus $19.95
- Short rib is almost always good… as long as it’s not overcooked and dry.
- We asked for a knife, but never used it at all. You could use your fork and just shred away at it. So tender and so juicy.
- There was a little fat around the meat but it wasn’t chewy and just melted in your mouth.
- They used a good amount of truffle oil and I could taste it as much as I could smell it.
- My only have a few complaints or I guess recommendations. Beside the plating – which needs work, I wish the pan jus was more reduced. The flavour could have been even more intense. I also could use more oyster mushrooms because there were not many.
- The mashed potato was nice and creamy and very smooth. It was simple and traditional.
The desserts were the most disappointing items of the night. I had high hopes so I was sad to end on this note. Made in house – but very poorly and poor value (at least with what we ordered).
- Blueberry coulis, raspberry gelatin, candied nuts $6.95
- This is basically layered sundae sauce in a martini glass. Ick! I could stir it up like hot chocolate.
- I could not taste the raspberry gelatin at all and every single layer was watery.
- There was no cake nothing. I don’t even know where the lemon part came in.
- I asked the server and she said there was a lemon custard layer – which I couldn’t taste AT ALL. It was just sweet.
Poached Pear and Chocolate Mousse – 1/6
- Liquored enriched mousse, whip cream $5.50
- For some reason we didn’t read the “mousse” part – if we did we wouldn’t have ordered it.
- This was the thickest chocolate mousse ever. It was stored in a fridge that was too cold. Unlike the lemon parfait there was resistance putting my spoon into it.
- I couldn’t taste any liquor and it was just sweet. I missed a bitter note, but I think it was just milk chocolate. It didn’t really taste bad, it just had the texture of wall plaster.
- I had to dig to the very bottom to find the pears which were totally overpowered by the thick chocolate mousse. I couldn’t even taste the pear.
- There were about 5 thin slices which were very tender, but wasted with this dessert
Thanks for your review about Encore, Mijune. We dined here this weekend and it was just as you said: very good food – excellent service (they even split one entree on two plates in the kitchen for my daughter and I and presented it just as nicely) and great value! Definitely worth the drive! Also loved the background music: a choice selection of Americana!
@Paula – excellent! I’m glad my post was helpful! Service + good food + value… what more can we ask for right? 🙂 Wow you really ventured out (unless you live nearby)… it’s always great finding places like these. Thanks for commenting!
Well, I’m sorry I can’t agree with your review. My husband and I went to Encore for a 5PM meal on New Year evening. We were not impressed at all. The head waitress was overpowering and far too talkative……it’s an open restaurant, you can not talk to one table without the other one hearing what is being said. We placed our orders and were immediately delivered about 3/4 cup of greens with salad oil and two rolls in a basket with a whipped butter, no olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I ordered the Seared Halibut and my husband ordered the 8 oz. Serloin with scalloped potatoes. The halibut was quite the chunk of rubber, nothing like what is shown in your picture above. The rice pilaf was nothing more than white rice with parsley; there was perhaps 2 tablespoons of onion and red pepper fried in oil; there was perhaps a teaspoon of pesto sauce in the corner of the plate. My husband’s steak was something that should have been sent back to the supplier before it reached the cooking stage. The 8 oz steak was 4 oz. edible, 4 oz. garbage (not something the dog would have enjoyed) The scalloped potatoes amounted to a slice about 3″ x 2″ by 1/2″ thick. However, the tablespoon of peppercorn sauce was quite tasty. All in all, we did not wait for coffee or dare too be further disappointed by the dessert. The total menu was altered for New Years Eve by cutting down the selections and upping the prices. Sorry Encore, but your restaurant has been scratched from my list of local restaurants to re-visit.
@Joanna – Welcome! Oh don’t apologize for not agreeing, I’m just glad to be able to provide an outlet to share dining experiences.
That is really unfortunate and awful that you had such a terrible meal and experience. I hope you let the manager know because it’s no way to treat a paying customer. I can only speak from my one experience here, which was positive and I hope they just messed up that one night. I find it shocking that you ordered the halibut like mine and it looked nothing like mine too. I’m surprised that the food was so poor even after limiting their menu. Rough way to kick off the New Year….or end the previous.
hmm, dined there tonight, Valentine’s day, 2011
The comp bread was good, the crab cake appy was 4 stars. After that everything went downhill.
Service was very slow, my rack of lamb was tough and over done and I wasn’t even asked how I would prefer it. My wife had two very small lobster/crayfish tails that were at best old and the shells were black in spots. The vegetable were overcooked and tiny portions. The scalloped potatoes were good however. The wine list was pitiful and the cheesecake desert was that equal to the frozen ones you can get at costco. The tables beside us waited over an hour before they got an entree with no appy or bread due to a computer malfunction??? The ambience was to bright and for some reason you can here everyones conversations around you. Would not recommend this place to a friend. Be sure encore not to give comp chocolate covered strawberries with mould on them.
@michael – YIKES!!!! That’s awful!!! I’m so sorry!! Yes, I agree crab cakes are the only thing we had in common, but they were good. I’ve only been here once, but it looks like it’s gotten pretty downhill from the comments I’ve gotten on this post. I’m disappointed for you, although I can only speak from my experience. Thanks for taking the time to comment on this post and keep readers up to date.
The past couple of weeks that i have experienced at encore resteraunt have been excruitiating the food is limited to good value to its “lamb shanks” and the appetizers. The rest of the menu can be compared to uncle willies all you can eat buffet. But OMG are the lamb shanks good… for this reason i continue to return, even though the new manager’s cheese ball attitude really takes its toll on my eating experience. The resteraunt replaced a wonderful young lady who easliy tended to my request with a difficult to obtain blonde who aviods the customers in fear of extensive labour. I am very dissapointed in the owners for allowing such neglegence to occur to the customers.
@ryan nauth – yikes. okay I haven’t been here in ages.. so my post is probably severely out dated. i guess the lamb shanks are worth the trouble you experience?
My husband and I went there for the first time today for brunch. The food was bland and not seasoned correctly. The sausage was off and the gentleman who ran the omelet bar is in desperate need of an attitude adjustment. His humor was borderline insulting.
They pay zero attention to food safety. They refill the buffet items and simply throw the fresh on top of the old food. The Eggs Benedict, over cooked and in desperate need of more then a paper thin layer of Bearnaise Sauce, very dry. Bacon was over cooked, you could break a tooth on it.
Omelet guy fried the green onions until they were almost non existent. You do not fry green onions unless the clients ask you to. I had a crepe and it was small and rubbery. He over fills them with fruit and then went to put whip cream on it for me, I had to ask him to stop, I could do it myself and only wanted a dot on mine, I ended up with way too much thanks to his lack of caring about what the patron wanted.
We will never go back there. The cost for the 2 of us to eat brunch was $32. Not worth the price by a long shot, maybe $7,95 but not $15 per person.
FYI..They reuse the food from different events and from the brunch. It just keeps getting recirculated. Sometimes a week after or more. I also saw the cook drop utensils on the floor, pick it up and reuse it without washing it while cooking.