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Restaurant: Stacked Modern Diner
Last visited: July 3, 2011
Location: Surrey, BC (South Surrey)
Address: 15388 24th Ave
Price Range: $10-20 ($9-12 plates)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Modern diner
- Opened January 2011
- Neighbourhood favourite
- All day breakfast
- Home made sauces
- Made from scratch food
- Organic eggs/coffee/tea
- Bread from COBS Bakery
- Some comfort food
- Hot/Cold sandwiches at lunch
- Contemporary & fun atmosphere
- Family friendly
- Senior Day Tuesday
- Mon-Fri 1/2 Sandwich + soup $5.95
- TV available
- Fully licensed
- Eat in/Take Out
- Mon-Sun 8am-3pm
**Recommendations: Eggs Benny, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Chocolate Walnut Brownie
You would barely notice if you weren’t looking for it, and that’s also why I missed it the first time around. It’s located in a rather newer development of South Surrey and it’s very unassuming. It’s one of the units in a building complex of small businesses and it only opened this year. Prior to this it was a lounge and I can’t even imagine it being one because the area and space just wouldn’t suit it. I guess they figured as much too, and that’s why the same owners changed direction and created Stacked Modern Diner.
The restaurant is quite small and it’s a great concept for the area. Most of the diners in the neighbourhood would be long withstanding old-fashioned ones, so this was quite refreshing. I find places like this a dime a dozen in Vancouver, but I guess the grass is greener on the other side. If you’re looking for a good old greasy spoon, the suburbs are the way to go, but if you want something posh then there’s easily more selection in Vancouver. I like both modern and classic diners, but I’m probably more likely to check a modern one out first.
The ambiance is all modern art and retro memorabilia. Being that I’m a fan of Andy Worhol, I loved it! It was cute, playful, tongue and cheek and it got me excited as soon as I walked through the door. I expected to see a jukebox and waitresses on roller blades chewing gum, but I guess my imagination took me further.
It looks more like a diner than the food suggests. Rather than the expected list of burgers and milkshakes they had one burger and an extensive list of hot and cold hand made sandwiches and all day breakfasts. I was expecting to see more throw backs and old fashioned comfort foods with modern twists, but it was more like a cafe than a diner. Everything is home made and most of the ingredients are local, and the eggs, tea and coffee are organic.
Apparently I ordered some of their best menu items, but if this was the best then I’m not really in a rush to go back and try more things. The food is home made and the recipes are very simple so there wasn’t really anything special. Nothing I had was really quite there yet and some things felt underdeveloped or rushed. I think it will largely depend on who’s in the kitchen though, and the things I tried sounded better than they tasted.
I’m not too familiar with other diner options in the area, but I already like Be ‘wiched, McJac’s Roadhouse Grille, and Belle’s on Thirty Two a bit more. They’re different styles, but those all have distinct items that would get me through the door again, however I probably enjoyed the ambiance at Stacked Modern Diner most.
Stacked Modern Diner wasn’t bad, but I was expecting a lot more and it didn’t take anything to the next level. I just missed the passion and love behind the cooking and recipes and I feel like they could do a lot better. Maybe I’ve explored too much competition in this “modern diner” category that I was a bit underwhelmed. There’s nothing that really wow’d me enough to make me go back for it, but it was good and the experience was enjoyable.
On the table:
- Bubba: Hickory Smoked Creamy Shrimp $10.50
- All served with scratch hollandaise on a toasted focaccia with fresh fruit and hash browns.
- Hash Browns – 4/6
- The hash browns is more like a hash with chunks of skin on white potatoes and fried red onions that were well seasoned with salt and herbs.
- They had crispy skins and they were really buttery and creamy and seemed infused with olive oil.
- The centres were fluffy, tender and moist and I really enjoyed the hash.
- Bubba Eggs Benny – 2.5/6
- It sat on 2 squares of super soft and fluffy crustless focaccia bread from COBS Bakery that absorbed all the sauce like a sponge.
- The shrimp was frozen and there was quite a bit of them, but they were very overcooked and dry. They didn’t seem creamy and I couldn’t taste the hickory or smoky flavour.
- I’m not sure where the heat came from and it wasn’t spicy at all, but there was a heat coming from something, perhaps the prawns.
- It was a bit boring and I wanted some avocado or something more because it was just a basic shrimp benny.
- The poached free-range egg was the best part, and that was perfect.
- The hollandaise came unnoticed especially after the egg popped.
- The hollandaise was buttery, but bland and I couldn’t taste any tang or kick.
- It was a very saucy eggs benny, but the sauce was mainly the natural egg yolk and buttery hollandaise which wasn’t creamy, rich tasting or very flavourful.
- The sauteed red onions were chopped into thick slices so they were almost still raw and spicy rather than caramelized.
- I loved the poached egg, but everything else wasn’t well executed.
- Slow cooked pork, served with house made Root Beer BBQ sauce topped with Sweet Pickle Slaw. All sandwiches served with sweet pickle slaw & fries or Caesar Salad, choice of COBS Bread, whole wheat, French, Sour Dough, Bap Bun, Bagel or Focaccia. $10
- “Pulled Pork Sandwich” already caught my appetite. And then to see “Root Beer BBQ Sauce” was the icing on the cake… or literally the sauce on the meat.
- I’ve actually heard of Root Beer BBQ sauce before, and even Cherry flavoured Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce (with meat smoked with Cherrywood), but usually it’s more popular in the States. I assumed it would be a sweeter take on sauces made with beer, and I could see the sweetness playing well into a sweet BBQ sauce. I was stoked!
- The pickled slaw side was a bit small and it was quite wet too, but not heavily dressed with gloppy mayo.
- The slaw was made with cabbage, red onions and fennel and the fennel was a nice surprise! It gave a licorice background and nice crunch to what would have been a boring cole slaw.
- The slaw was more sweet than tangy, but it wasn’t even that sweet. It just seemed kind of bland again and it needed more.
- I didn’t get a choice of bread for this one, but the bread also seemed hollowed out a bit on the inside so it was less bready.
- It was stacked with meat, but it was more like a roast pork sandwich than a pulled pork sandwich, so it was a knife and forker.
- I had to put some effort into chewing the meat since it was large chunks instead of tender fine shreds of softly pulled pork that melt in my mouth. Personally I prefer pulled pork actually pulled.
- I don’t mind huge chunks of roasted pork, but it makes it very noticeably if it’s dry, and this one was a bit. Parts of it were moist, but since it’s relatively lean meat, most of it was a bit dry. Luckily it had some sauce though.
- The Root Beer BBQ sauce didn’t live up to my expectations. I think it has potential to be much better, but it just seemed under developed in this case.
- I could taste the Root Beer, but it wasn’t in your face either. It was sweet and syrupy, but not thick or sticky. I still wanted the bold flavours of BBQ sauce and even a bit of a tang, but it was just sweet and that’s it.
- The pickled slaw was also sweet instead of tangy, so it was sweet on top of sweet and I just didn’t see where it was going.
- For an excellent pulled pork in the area I prefer Be ‘wiched – see their Pulled Pork Sandwich and Chain Gang Chili (Pulled Pork Chili).
- Home made with blend of garlic, cream, white cheddar and mozza, served with house salad $9
- For some reason I was offered either fries or Caesar Salad so I asked for 1/2 of each. I wasn’t aware I’d be charged at extra $1 for the split though.
- The fries were crispy and seasoned with Cajun seasoning, but it wasn’t very spicy. They were a bit over fried and dried out though.
- The Mac ‘N’ Cheese looked really plain and bland and seemed like it had been sitting there.
- I was hoping for some fresh parsley or even a cheesy baked gratin crust or bubbly browned cheesy mozzarella topping.
- Thankfully, it tasted better than it looked.
- It seemed more like an Alfredo sauce than it was a Mac ‘N’ Cheese though.
- I think it might have been garlic powder rather than actual sauteed fresh garlic too.
- The noodle wasn’t overcooked but well salted and the sauce was well seasoned, creamy, buttery and rich, but not thick.
- The sauce almost tasted like a melted cream cheese sauce and it had that grainy texture.
- The top portion of the noodles had no sauce and the sauce just slips off the noodles, so you had to dip them into the sauce which was all at the bottom of the dish.
- It’s not a stringy ooey gooey mac and cheese, although the top possibly could have been if it was fresher.
- The sauce was unassumingly good and I liked it, but the dish was just poorly assembled.
- For a place like this I expected the mac ‘n’ cheese to be killer, but it wasn’t really anything I haven’t had before.
- Crisp romaine, house made Caesar dressing, homemade croutons and parmesan cheese. I got this as a side.
- I think this is going to be inconsistent depending on who’s making it. This one was a bit careless, but the dressing lacked the anchovy bite, lemony zing, and also some black pepper. It was a bit gloppy and Ranch like, and the highlight was certainly the croutons.
- The croutons were just made from the ends of the Focaccia bread used from the benny I think, but they were crunchy and good.
- A home made Caesar Salad in the area that I enjoy more is the one from Belle’s on Thirty Two – see their’s here.
- It’s made fresh in house, but it looked better than it tasted. It was a bit “healthy” tasting.
- The bananas used didn’t seem ripe and it wasn’t really that sweet or as strong as it could have been in banana flavour.
- There were little chunks of banana in it, but they had no flavour and they weren’t creamy. I thought they were softened walnuts. There’s no nuts in it though.
- It was moist and chewy, but it lacked butter, oil and sugar, so it was almost bready with airy holes and a bit bland, which is odd for banana bread.
- It had a nice crispy crust, but I wasn’t keen on texture of flavour of this banana bread.
- I ended up telling my friend about this and she brought me one!
- This made up for the banana bread and I actually really liked this! It’s a solid brownie.
- It’s fudgey and chocolaty with a moderate amount of chopped walnuts. It’s sweet from the icing, but not too sweet without the icing.
- It’s very soft, creamy, smooth, rich, indulgent, moist and tender and just melts in your mouth with no crumb.
- The frosting is soft, sweet and sugary, but the layer is quite thin and I didn’t need too much of it.
- This would make any chocolate lovers day swell.