The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar

You’d think with all of the people who’ve recommended this place to me that I would have eaten here ages ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but that has been corrected. You’d also think that, as someone who eats at restaurants fairly regularly, I’d know that Valentine’s Day is the WORST day of the year to eat at a restaurant. Well, I couldn’t say “Oh I don’t want to go there. It’s Valentine’s Day” to Lyndsey unless I wanted to sleep on the side walk. Let’s see how it went.

Oysters with a side of oysters.
Oysters with a side of oysters.

The menu was a fixed 5 course affair with a palate cleanser thrown in for fun. First up we received 2 oysters on the half shell with chili watermelon mingnonette. We also ordered another half dozen oysters because oysters always need more oysters. Super fresh and perfectly shucked. The word “Oyster” is in their name for a good reason, these were fantastic.

Saffron and Hemp soup
Saffron and Hemp soup

Our second course was a deeply flavoured Saffron and Hemp soup with celery leaf, crouton, and chestnut salad. Earthy and rich while simultaneously being light and fresh. Great soup.

Fig and Walnut salad
Fig and Walnut salad

Course 3 was a Fig, Walnut, and Celery Leaf Salad with beets, blue cheese, prosciutto, and mint balsamic dressing. I’ll start by saying that I really dislike figs. That being said the rest of this salad was well thought out and very flavourful. Every item of the Valentine’s Day menu was made with romance in mind using ingredients known to be aphrodisiacs. Too bad I don’t like figs, according to the menu notes they “Stimulate lasting erections and delay climax.” Well, there you go.

Before the main courses arrived we were given a strawberry sorbet palate cleanser with balsamic reduction, mint, and lemon zest.

Honey glazed salmon
Honey glazed salmon

We each ordered a different main to share. Lyndsey ordered the Honey Glazed Pan Roasted Salmon with sous vide asparagus, roasted carrots, and muscles. An unpretentious dish that let the ingredients shine through without being overpowered by seasoning. The salmon was perfect, even the skin.

Roasted pork loin
Roasted pork loin

I ordered the Roasted Gelderman Farms Pork Loin with pomegranate reduction, sous vide asparagus, roasted carrots, and almond butter. I was given the option of adding a whole or half lobster. No one wants to look like a glutton so I went with the half… The pork was tender and juicy, It seemed like it had been brined? The reduction was great and had a complex sweet/savoury character. After I did the dirty work cracking open the claw Lyndsey promptly stole it. Valentine’s day etiquette violation, I would have offered it. Tasty, decadent dish.

Chocolate cake.
Chocolate cake.

Dessert came quickly after our mains were done. Chocolate Cake with Star Anise whipped cream, banana caramel, coconut cookie, and cardamom ice cream. Overall this was a good dessert but the anise whipped cream was a little overpowering.

Service was a little slow but that comes with the territory when you choose to forego chain restaurants for Valentine;s Day. I was very impressed with the food and atmosphere at The Fat Cow, I’ll definitely be back.

One final thought. I received a few comments about The Fat Cow from people not liking the location. The gist of most comments was “how can you have a fine dining restaurant in a strip mall in Langley”. Is The Fat Cow “fine dining”? It’s upscale but I don’t see it as fine dining. Does the location of a restaurant add to the flavour of the food, the quality of the ingredients, or the atmosphere of the room? No, it most certainly does not. The idea that a restaurant is better because it’s downtown or in a fancy neighbourhood is silly. Be happy that this oasis of quality exists in the desert of garbage that surrounds it. Places like The Fat Cow and Oyster Bar are rare. Tap Restaurant in South Surrey is another great example. Give these places a look, you’ll be glad you did.

Twitter – @FatCowOysterBar

Facebook – The Fat Cow And Oyster Bar

Instagram – @thefatcowoysterbar

World Wide Web – thefatcow.ca

Scott.

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Quick Bite – Estrella’s Montreal Deli and Cafe

The Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich, a Canadian icon. Greater Vancouver has a few places that make a decent version but there is one that stands above them all. Estrella’s in Langley is as close as it gets to being in Montreal. Hidden in plain sight on 200th street between Industrial AveĀ and Logan Ave, you’d drive right by Estrella’s if you didn’t know it existed. It is surrounded by automotive shops, industrial buildings and an oddly placed dentist office.

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Now that you know where it is open up your calender and make some time to check it out. The smoked meat sandwiches are the best around, by a wide margin. Most places in Vancouver make a sandwich with meat brought in from Montreal which tends to taste like it’s travelled in a truck across Canada. Other places make their own but it always comes out too salty. Estrella’s house made smoked meat is absolute perfection. Tender, juicy, flavourful without being too salty. You can order it lean (less fat) or marbled (more fat) just like they do it in Montreal. Obviously the full fat is tastier, the choice is yours.

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You can get poutine, grilled paninis, burgers, sandwiches, soups, espresso and speciality coffee. Nearly everything is house made from scratch. The poutine is outstanding.

Tired of mediocre smoked meat parading as the real thing? Go check out Estrella’s at 5932 200th street in Langley (There you go random Twitter guy who couldn’t Google the address yourself…)

Web – estrellasdeli.com

Scott.