Japolo Sushi & Pho, a rare negative post from us.

I’m usually a ray of  sunshine when it comes to restaurant reviews, preferring to promote the good and ignore the bad. Japolo Sushi & Pho on North Rd on the Burnaby/Coquitlam boarder has made me temporarily change my attitude. First off, sushi and Pho? Weird combo, this place used to be sushi only but I’m guessing other sushi place in the same strip mall is better, why else would you switch?

This is from Pho Tao Bay which is WAY better.
This is from Pho Tao Bay which is WAY better.

I was there for lunch the other day with 3 other people. 2 of us ordered Pho and 2 ordered sushi with one adding a SMALL order of tempura prawns on to his order. When his prawns showed up there were 10 on a plate, when he asked if this was a small order he was informed there was no small order. Now I get that he should’ve read the menu a little more carefully but if someone asked me for a small order of something and we didn’t offer a small order I would surely let the customer know. Realizing that he had ordered far too much food my friend quickly asked that his rolls be cancelled. He was informed by the owner that it was too late, he would be charged for them and there was nothing he could do about it (that’s exactly how the owner phrased it, awesome). Before any other food arrived our server brought one plate with bean sprouts,  1 lime, 2 jalapeños and Thai basil. This was what each person who ordered Pho in any other restaurant would get but we were meant to share this plate of garnish between two people! I’m not a fan of people I don’t really know digging around in the same bean sprouts as me, it’s gross. I asked for another plate of garnish as the plate had already been picked at by Pho guy number two and was met with stunned silence. They did bring me a plate but it was sure worth chatting and giggling about by the cash register, very professional servers here folks.

When my Pho arrived it was given to the other person who ordered Pho because, you know, it’s hard to keep track of 2 bowls of soup in an empty restaurant… The Pho was ok, nothing mind blowing but the service and attitude of the staff and owner were horrible. We asked 4 times for water, 5 times for chili oil (which should be on the table at a Pho joint). They also have Banh Mi listed on their menu with pictures and everything but when I tried to order one I was told it was only available at their other locations… So I guess I’ll drive to Richmond and get one then come back for my soup, IF YOU DON”T HAVE IT DON’T PUT IT ON YOUR MENU!

To sum up, Japolo Sushi and Pho has average food and horrible service. I wouldn’t waste another dime there and neither should you.



Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria

Cotto Enoteca has been getting quite a bit of buzz in the Twitterverse since it opened and rightly so. Executive Chef/Managing Partner Alex Tung has created a menu of modern Italian dishes that are truly wonderful. Occupying the building that used to house Anducci’s, Cotto brings some great casual dining to North Burnaby. After some bread, some Prosecso, 6 courses and a litre of fantastic BC red wine Chef Tung and Cotto made a fan out of me.

We started out with some nice bread and a Cannellini Bean & Truffle Oil spread. The spread was awesome, the bread was fresh, very light and airy with a crunchy outer crust, so good. Course 1 was Calamari Fritto, crispy fried squid with roma tomatoes and salsa verde. The squid was cooked perfectly, it’s very rare to find calamari cooked this well and I’ll go so far as to say it was the most perfectly cooked calamari I’ve ever eaten. The flavours were also outstanding. Salsa verde isn’t something that I would associate with squid but it was a great flavour combo.

Course 2 was Prosciutto e Melone, prosciutto wrapped melon with roma tomotoes. The sweet and savoury flavour profile of this dish is great, there was also some shaved radish and crispy fried prosciutto pieces sprinkled on top the added and nice salty kick and some crunchy texture to this simple but well executed dish. The plating was beautiful as well. Course 3 was Cotto Polpetti, house made meatballs with crispy bread crumbs, San Marzano tomato sauce and fried pizza dough. The meatballs were so tender and delicious, they melted in my mouth. The tomato sauce was rich and added a great citrus kick to the savoury meatballs and the fried pizza dough was perfect for soaking up the extra sauce. Chef Tung’s dishes are all very carefully thought out in terms of flavour, texture and presentation.

Course 4 was Papardelle Carbonara. Carbonara is my favourite pasta dish and this one in particular was magnificent. It was made with guanciale, a type of smoked Italian bacon most commonly made with pork cheeks or jowl. It had  Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, roasted garlic and a sexy little 63 degree egg nestled on top. Break the egg yolk, mix it in with the al dente pappardelle noddles and it’s pure pasta magic. Course 5 was one of Chef Tung’s signature dishes, Pizza Cotto. Seeing as Cotto is a pizzeria we couldn’t leave without trying a pizza. The Pizza Cotto had Yukon gold potatoes, pancetta, fried brussel sprout leaves, Gorgonzola dolce and fonduta. The potato gave the pizza a very unique texture that was really great and the brussel sprout leaves added a peppery crunch. This is a pretty incredible pizza. The crust is thin and crispy but not too this that it burns. It’s cooked in Cotto’s wood fired pizza oven as are all their Neapolitan pizzas.

We finished off the night with a dessert recommended by our server, Salted Caramel Budino. It’s butterscotch pudding with sea salt and some little rosemary biscotti. Salted butterscotch… wow. Most of you probably know that I’m not normally a sweets lover but this was awesome. The rosemary biscotti seemed like a weird choice but it really worked, once again showing Chef Tung’s skill with flavour and texture.

We also enjoyed some terrific Blasted Church Big Bang Theory Red which Cotto has on tap, yes I said ON TAP! They use the Freshtap system which pours wine right from the cask. BC wine is awesome.

Needless to say I would recommend Cotto to anyone I know, it’s terrific. Go check it out!!

Web – cotto.ca

Twiiter – @CottoEnoteca

Facebook – www.facebook.com/cottoenoteca