Pulling into Grand Villa Casino’s parkade, I remarked to my date, Jen, how I couldn’t remember the last time I dined in Burnaby. Born, raised, and still living in Burnaby, it was a facetious dig at my own neighbourhood with – embarrassingly – an element of truth. With Vancouver’s booming culinary scene and Arby’s departure from Metrotown, I seldom found reasons to dine east of Boundary Road. My experience at Atlas Steak + Fish this week may be enough to change that.
ATLAS Steak + Fish
Nestled in a gambler’s haven, the debaucherous mood shifted quickly as we entered. Greeted by a chorus of warm, front-of-house staff and a live piano rendition of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, my dining-in-Burnaby apprehensions were put to rest. Dominion Street cleaned up pretty good.
We kicked off our evening with two signature Atlas cocktails: the El Diablo and the Anejo Old Fashioned. Theatrics are not in short supply at Atlas; the lime garnish on my El Diablo erupted into sparks as the bartender set the orange peel in Jen’s Anejo Old Fashioned ablaze. The pyromanic displays were nearly as stimulating as the cocktails themselves. The El Diablo was fruity and tangy, with invigorating effervescence, while the Anejo Old Fashioned offered a mellow, oaky palate, tinged with smoky sweetness. Atlas serves up an admirable aged-tequila interpretation of a traditionally whiskey-based cocktail, making the Anejo Old Fashioned our favorite drink of the night.
On With the Show
Enveloped in Atlas’ showmanship, it was only fitting that we ordered the tableside Caesar salad as our appetizer. Our server, Hassan, promptly carted out a smattering of raw ingredients, mise en place. During the 15-minute preparation, Hassan enthusiastically narrated each step in detail, as though he didn’t have any other tables to attend to. Jen and I, both jaded serving veterans, joked about the slapdash Caesar salad our guests would have to stomach if it were up to us. Fortunately, Hassan was a true professional, so we had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious, garlicky tableside Caesar salad.
Jen and I both ordered the beef tenderloin (Alberta Angus Reserve) as our next course. Between the two of us, we cut into 18-ounces of smoky, nutty flesh that smoldered in a mesquite-fired Josper oven, a five-figure kitchen appliance boasting grill-oven duality. Our steaks were cooked to rare perfection and heightened by creamy, brie-infused mashed potatoes and fragrant roasted wild mushrooms.
Can’t Help Falling in Love
As our song request (Can’t Help Falling in Love) tapered off the piano, we capped off our night with two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot (Arrogant Frog, 2013) and a crème brûlée.
The crème brûlée was velvety and rich with a buzz of vanilla bean. Even after two tasty appetizers and scrumptious 9-ounce steaks, our arms reflexively reached for more after the first bite.
Digging around the mason jar to recover all of the custardy decadence, I heard myself telling Jen my plans to return to Atlas.
See you in Burnaby.
For more information: