OK, so I haven't been writing much lately, but I thought I would take some time (midnight getting ready for bed seems to be the only time I have these days) but Im going to have to make it short, because my nails need cutting and it's hard to type on this 92% of full size keyboard with talons.
There's a few new restaurants that opened recently, and I've been by to try em out. Aside from last Saturday night when I made beer brats & roasted new potatoes, I don't think I've spent an evening “in” in just about two months. Between having friends down, getting home late, not being arsed to cook and straightening out wireless networks and router troubles for friends who run restaurants and say “thank you” with dinners, I haven't really cooked much at all.
First up is McCoy's in the West Shore Plaza (the pink one). This restaurant used to be called La Bodega before the hurricane. It also had a large awning over an outdoor seating area before the hurricane, too. It says on their sign “Established 1966” but neither I nor anyone else can recall ever seeing a McCoy's around anywhere before a couple months ago. The proprietor of the restaurant is Luke McCoy, who I used to know when he was the manager of Treasure Island Resort. He looks about the right age that maybe HE was established in 1966, and it could be an inside joke.
Whatever, it's not important. What IS important is the food. And it's awesome. I've been there quite a few times now since they opened. So far I've had: Baked Brie with roasted garlic (appy); properly baked french onion soup; their 'traditional' beef stew served in a bread bowl; Gyoza (appy); riblets (appy); loaded nachos; caesar salad with and without some kind of meat on it; Buffalo chicken sandwich (twice); Chicken filet sandwich; the teriyaki burger; tonight I had a Great Canadian burger(back bacon & cheddar); I've tried the steak sizzler and the prime rib sizzler; I tasted someone else's bbq shrimp. Everything I've ordered at McCoy's has been “dude, you have to try this...”
The staff at McCoy's are great, too. Marco (who used to run the show at Lone Star and Montecristo) is one of the managers there, Lauren (from Eats/Legendz) works there now, Aylsh (PD's back in the day, Decker's after the storm) is behind the bar along with Cuffer and I think the other bartender's name is Sean. The chef in the back is Tony, who's last name I can't remember at the moment. He used to be the lead singer for Ratskyn, before he stepped down and they asked Zac to take the mic. I didn't know he was a chef in another life, but everything coming out of his kitchen is very, very good. Eden is one of the waiters, and he seems like the kind of waiter you'd expect somewhere like Hemingways or The Brasserie: very classy & professional, even though he's wearing jeans and a t-shirt. The rest of the staff are top-notch as well, but I don't know their names (yet). About the only negative thing I can even possibly think of about McCoy's is they're ripping off the old Cheers TV Show theme song and “where everybody knows your name” catchphrase. It's kinda cheesy, but the fact of the matter is everyone DOES know my name there (or almost everyone does) :)
Second up is the Excitement Diner. A tiny little hole in the wall in one of the most disgustingly painted buildings on the whole island. Seriously. It's lime green with lemon yellow trim. It looks AWFUL. Fortunately it also makes it easy to find. Excitement diner is in the same building as Mitzi's jewellery and underneath Club Octopus (the old Next Level, and before that Tabu) and is run by the chef and cooks that used to work at Eats/Legendz. They have practically the same menu, and specialize in breakfast, although they do have a lunch and dinner menu, too.
There was a real hole in the breakfast fare on the island after Eatz closed down after the hurricane. Excitement Diner just opened up about a month ago or so and I wish em the best. Coconut Joe's started serving up breakfast a few months ago, and they've got a good selection of stuff, and everything I've tried there on Sunday mornings has been great. The only thing I can find fault with Coconut Joe's breakfast is that they don't have Splenda for my tea, just Equal and that awful, cancer-inducing-but-only-in-lab-rats Sweet n Low in the pink packets. The upside to that is Stephanie behind the bar is sweet enough (even that early in the morning) to balance it all out.
As an aside, work has started (finally) on Eats, Legendz and Yoshi Sushi. The building owner would not allow any work or repairs to be done until the insurance settlement was done, and I guess it's finally done. The skinny is that they'll be working on it and plan to open in about six months, about halfway through hockey season. Until then, Davie Jone's Locker (their atrocious spelling, not mine. As far as I know, the legend's name was Davey Jones. I can see the Davey/Davie mistake, but Jones' last name should be Jones', not Jone's). They have over 20 huge screens in there, 40, 50, 60 and 72” plasmas and bigger projection screen TVs, but their food is crap. Everything I've ordered there, the three or four times I've been there has been edible, but not anything I'd recommend or say “hey, you've gotta try this”. It's weird, because it's ATTACHED to Castaways Grille, which has EXCELLENT food. I guess the trick will be to go early, eat at Castaways and then slide over to Davie Jones to watch the game.
Finally, Sunday night I checked out Copper Falls steakhouse. “A rare steakhouse, very well done”. Nice play on words. It's across from the Strand where Bella Capri used to be. The owner of Copper Falls is Frank, who used to be the manager at Eats/Legendz. Copper Falls must have spent a ton of money on new baquettes and tables and chairs, carpeting, lighting, decorations and all that sorta sorta. It's dark in there, lots of wood and (surprise!) copper accents. It reminds me of somewhere my grandparents would have taken me when I was a small child for a “special night out” (Gramps was, and still is at 80, a big red-meat eater).
They have an interesting take on the menu, almost a prix fixe model, but not quite. They have a regular a la carte menu, but with the steak entrees, you choose a steak: a 12oz sirloin, a 16oz New York, an 18oz Ribeye or (holy shit) a 22oz Porterhouse steak. The prices ranged from 24.99 for the small sirloin up to 48.99 for the Porterhouse. As opposed to H.D. Morgan's downtown where that price would get you the steak, at Copper Falls that price also includes your choice of starch (baked potato, garlic mash, rice pilaf or I think fries) and also your choice of veggie which changes depending on what's fresh and available. Just to round it out, you also get your choice of a well drink, a martini or a beer included in that price. They also had a pretty big wine list as well.
The interesting thing about their wine list was that they scanned and reproduced the labels in miniature for most of their wines and had some descriptions, either from the vineyard or at least from the vineyard's website to go with each wine. We picked a bottle of red from California (I'll be damned if I can remember it right now, as we polished off the bottle as well as our 'included' beverages and then went to Decker's afterwards to meet up with Matty & Jules for a nightcap). I had the ribeye, Suzie had the sirloin and John had the NY. There was enough leftover that I had the sirloin and NY for dinner monday night and the rest of my ribeye for dinner Tuesday night.
I'll update this tomorrow with links where applicable and try and remember what that bottle of red was, and also our server's name, who was from East Van and went to Templeton High School (represent!). For now, I just realized that it's 12:45am on a school night. Hasta Mañana, babies.