As a present for her birthday, I bought my wife tickets to see Les Miserables, on Father’s Day, oops. We managed to see our Father’s on different days and still take in Jean Valjean in all his glory. We wanted to go out for a bite to eat after the show, and when looking for places nearby the Stanley Theatre, famed Vij’s seemed the logical choice. Our plans hit a snag when we found out that Vij’s doesn’t open until 5:30. Our show was a matinee and ended at 4:45, so instead of waiting out front, we popped into the more casual Vij’s Rangoli next door. Now I’d heard that people line up to get into Vij’s, but I had no idea how popular this place really seems to be. Do people line up? Do they ever! By 5PM they were nearly fifty people lined up down the street, and not all of them made it in. Some stayed to wait another hour or two for the first service to end, others joined us in Vij’s Rangoli. I was impressed by the fanfare, but also feeling foolish at not seizing my chance to get in. The food must be freaking good!
People Waiting in line at Vij's
I wasn’t feeling too badly though, because Vij’s Rangoli was also quite good. It is more of a deli style place, complete with market, than a restaurant. The food was delicious, I had a lamb curry dish and Rachel had shredded pork, but I was particularly impressed with the beer menu. Instead of the usual lineup of Canadian and American macro lagers, Vij’s Rangoli had Propeller ESB, Anchor Porter, Pilsner Urquell, and Rickards White. These four beers are not similar and offer a variety of tastes, better suited to pairing with different dishes. In this town, where beer is often overlooked, I was pleased to see they put some thought into the menu! Checking online, I also note that Vij’s main restaurant has Storm Pilsner, IPA, and Scotch Ale on the menu, pretty solid. What could be better than a well prepared curry dish paired with a well prepared IPA? Not much, which is why I’ll be waiting in line next time.
I went out for dinner last night with a few friends and visited one of CAMRA Vancouver’s newest corporate member’s, Jake’s Steakhouse and Piano Lounge. I found out a few weeks ago that any business can join CAMRA Vancouver as a corporate member. Dedication to quality beer is not a requirement for corporate membership, so long as the membership fee is paid they are in. But CAMRA membership is much different than CAMRA recommended, where a good beer experience can be expected.
I was a bit hesitant recommending Jake’s to our friends, an unproven restaurant in the heart of Whalley is not all that enticing. For those familiar with Vancouver’s Skytrain system, Jake’s Steakhouse is found at the Skytrain’s last stop in Surrey in the Compass Point Inn, not exactly the nicest part of town. But our friends live in Whalley, so I figured their expectations wouldn’t be too high?
I was completely blown away by Jake’s Steakhouse. Who knew a restaurant in Surrey offering a great selection of beer existed, and further yet that they make food and beer pairing suggestions. This almost makes me think that this whole craft beer thing is beginning to catch on. On top of the impressive beer list, the menu was also great, featuring an array of classic steakhouse dishes with a local and seasonal influence. Unlike many restaurants offering a seasonal vegetable side, Jake’s seasonal veg was actually seasonal, and included fiddleheads, asparagus and other early spring vegetables. Fiddleheads – in Surrey – really?
Although my steak was cooked well past medium rare and into medium territory, an almost unforgivable offense, we had a great evening. For once I was able to enjoy a steak alongside a full flavored ale – Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter to be exact. Something about Whalley makes me think of Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo Imperial Porter, brewed as a tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson, seemed an obvious choice.
Jake’s Beer Menu includes the following:
Standard imports and domestic beer is also available. All of the beer mentioned above comes complete with food pairing recommendations.
Jake’s Steakhouse and Piano Lounge is a great restaurant where beer and wine enthusiasts can can both sit down and enjoy a well prepared meal. And if a meal is not in the cards during a visit, they also happen to have a great piano lounge to relax in. I am sure Jake’s would be happy to receive support from the local beer community. Don’t let the Whalley neighborhood or the long skytrain ride scare you away – Jake’s is a great place for great food and beer.