The Vault

Restaurant: The Vault
Cuisine: American/Pacific Northwest/West Coast/Seafood
Last visited: October 22, 2010
Location: Surrey, BC (Cloverdale)
Address: 5764 176 Street
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: 4
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • Sister restaurant to Washington Ave Grill
  • Busy on weekends
  • Popular to Cloverdale locals
  • Live music on Friday night/weekends
  • Moderately priced
  • Sports bar area
  • Beer/Wine
  • Reservations recommended
  • Mon-Fri. 11:30am-2pm
  • Daily dinner 5pm

**Recommendations: nothing really, but if you go the Smoked Salmon on Wonton is not bad and the Ale Braised Beef Short Ribs is good.

The Vault is a popular restaurant in Cloverdale and it’s very well liked by locals in the area. It’s a “fancy place”, but it’s not that fancy at all and there’s just nothing else really around. It’s apparently always packed and every single table including the bar was full whether it was couples, groups, or individuals. It’s actually the same owners as Washington Ave Grill in White Rock, BC. I’ve been to both, and although my visit to Washington Ave was a couple years ago, I remember the food there being better and I also like the atmosphere more.

I thought the inside would have been nicer, but it was almost like the old Cactus Club or The Old Spaghetti Factory… basically it was old. I was sitting in the “jungle” portion of the restaurant with giant daisies over my head and then around the corner there was a glam theme with mirrors on the wall. Then on another part of the wall there was a vintage bike and by the bar there was the sports game going on. It was almost like three different personalities decided to empty out there attics and out came an explosion of randomness. The booth I sat in had some Hawaiian hula girls and abstract decals on it too… I guess to match the daisy theme? On the other hand the restaurant did used to be an old bank and they actually have a vault that they use as a private dining room. I didn’t see it, but I thought that was cool and it would be fun to dine in there one night.

Anyway onto the food. It was good for Cloverdale because there’s limited selection in that area and a lack of competition… unless you venture out to White Rock. I’m not saying Vancouver or downtown has the best food or anything, but just that the standards and areas are different. I think the people loving The Vault (people tend to love it) are the ones living in the neighbourhood. I found the food very mediocre and almost like The Keg before it was revamped. I wouldn’t make an effort to come back and there’s nothing else that’s really appealing to me on the menu so I think The Vault was a one time thing for me. I was more impressed by Encore Restaurant in Aldergrove.

On the table:

Complimentary Bread

  • It was a regular bread but it was cold and dried out. it wasn’t a chewy baguette or very crusty one if that’s what it was supposed to be.
  • They served it with herb butter, which was a nice detail but it also set the standard for the rest of dinner.

Ahi Tuna Carpaccio – 1.5/6

  • Thin sliced sesame crusted ahi tuna with wasabi soy and pickled ginger $8.99
  • I was considering ordering the ahi tuna as a main, but it was actually almost the exact description as the ahi tuna appetizer so I just ordered the appetizer version. I made the right decision… kind of, but this wasn’t even good.
  • The wasabi soy was very savoury and sweet and almost like a creamy gravy or sweet salad dressing. It had a very faint wasabi kick and it was too heavy and totally overpowered any tuna taste and even the sesame seeds. The sesame seeds didn’t seem toasted and I think it would have been better seared.

Smoked Salmon on Wonton – 3/6

  • Smoked lox with grainy mustard aioli, capers and red onion $9.99
  • This was actually quite good, but the plate was too small and it was very difficult and messy to eat.
  • I loved the deep fried capers they used because it was a unique idea. The texture of the capers became light and crispy and it took the salty bite off. It was good because the grainy mustard aioli tastes like Thousand Island salad dressing so it was salty and tangy enough alone.
  • The texture was great and the flavours were there but I think it’s worth $8.

**Ale Braised Beef Short Ribs – 3.5/6

  • Slow cooked boneless beef ribs served with a smokey bourbon BBQ glaze $20.99
  • I couldn’t decide between the short ribs or curry prawns, but the server said the short ribs was a good choice.
  • The short rib was quite big and actually quite tender. I could shred it with a fork, but the quality of the meat was only okay especially for the price. I prefer my short ribs with bones too because it adds flavour. This beef short rib didn’t have very marbleized fat so it wasn’t as juicy either. It’ s a bit dry in the middle so thank goodness there was sauce.
  • The sauce saved it for me. It was a barbeque sauce more than a demi glaze though. It tastes like a tangy barbeque sauce sweetened with honey with a Worcestershire kick. It’s quite sweet, but I like this type of barbeque sauce especially when there’s enough kick to balance it all out.
  • It’s served with creamy red skin garlic mashed potatoes. It needed more cream and garlic because they were good when hot, but then stiffened up quite a bit as they cooled.

8oz Grilled Striploin – 2.5/6

  • Grilled Striploin steak with parmesan and sage butter $23.99
  • This honestly didn’t even look like a striploin to me. Again, the quality suffered a bit, but at least it was ordered rare so it had to be tender. It still wasn’t an amazing steak though and I would have preferred The Keg if I’m comparing it to a restaurant that’s similar in style.
  • I expected a Parmesan crust, but the Parmesan was more like a garnish. I didn’t see the point on even putting it as a description.
  • The sage butter sauce could have been cooked longer because it wasn’t browned enough so there was no nuttiness and it was just melted butter with a slight lemon taste. It wasn’t too salty though and they could have let the garlic and sage flavours infuse more into the butter.

So remember how I said I couldn’t decide between the Tiger Prawns or the Ale Braised Beef Short Ribs as my main? So this is what I did. I ordered the sauce for the Tiger Prawns as a side. The idea of Curry Kahlua Cream Sauce (served with the Tiger Prawns) sounded too exotic for me to leave not trying.

Curry Kahlua Cream Sauce – 2.5/6

  • The entree it comes with is the Tiger Prawns: 10 tiger prawns pan seared in a curry Kahlua cream.
  • I ordered only the sauce as a side for $3-4 and they gave me a huge bowl of it!
  • I couldn’t taste the Kahlua. I think it was maybe used in the beginning, but then they reduced it so much that it becomes a very sweet syrup.
  • It is made in house from scratch but it’s a very sweet sauce and it almost tastes like it’s made with Maple syrup. It’s creamy, rich and you can taste a hint of curry with lots of caramelized sweet onions and some garlic. It would be great with rice but I would rather have it balanced with some savoury and I wanted to taste a bit of Kahlua since it was the selling point for me.
  • I used it as dipping sauce for my mashed potatoes and for my dried out bread.

The dessert wasn’t very inspiring so I passed and went elsewhere.


Vault on Urbanspoon


  • Sherman says:

    I’m with you, the food here is on the average side of things. Not bad for Cloverdale I guess since there is little in the way of this type of establishment nearby. However, the food is probably better at Elizabeth’s Chalet, albeit in a much homier atmosphere. Oh and yah, older clientele too…

  • godzilla says:

    The Vault seems to have become hit or miss over the last couple of years. I’ve had some great meals and some which were just okay.
    Elizabeth’s Chalet seems to cater to a much, much older audience. They also seemed a bit surprised that an asian family arrived at their restaurant.

  • Mijune says:

    @Sherman Yeah people just LOVE The Vault in Cloverdale… but I really think it’s just a lack of options.

    @godzilla lol realy?! I haven’t heard of Elizabeth Chalet yet, but I might check it out now. It is an early bird 5pm dinner too? 😉

  • Bow says:

    At these prices and as a bad gastro-pub, I couldn’t afford to eat there…not when I can buy a nice lamb shoulder dinner(with no pretensions) at a good Greek restaurant for $12; let alone an Asian meal that’s satisfying for the same price. Shortribs at $21., please, beef shortribs are some of the biggest markup a cook can have on his menu, and there was barely enough to eat as a mains…. Why do cooks feel that they have to reinvent carpaccio ? This may be a testimonal to the quality of dining in Cloverdale, a step up from Denny’s.

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow To compare it to Greek or Chinese I’m not sure if that would be too fair… comparing it to The Keg, or Moxies or Milestones is perhaps a better comparison. I know what you’re trying to say though. I didn’t know beef short ribs were so inexpensive at cost… however the portion here was actually quite big. I take it you won’t be coming here? 😉

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