The only reason I came to Salmon House tonight is to compare it with Fraiche since they are a few minutes away. I read a lot of reviews about Salmon House and the most recent ones are not that great, so I did not really expect much. I only know of Salmon House because someone posted that it was better than Fraiche (I was team Fraiche at the time and thought the poster was being dramatic), but I honestly enjoyed the food, service and agree with the post.
Apparently the restaurant is around 30 years old? The restaurant's interior is really nice and if it was a brand new restaurant, I would believe it. The only thing if anything is the outside looks like old offices (there are offices connected).
The round window has an orca design and I find it pretty.
The hallway to the washroom is pretty nice and surprised me. The washroom is really spacious, squeaky clean and has wooden stalls.
On the left with natural lighting and on the right with the sun set. A lot of people have mentioned that the restaurant is dated and looks exactly the same as they visited 10 years ago. In my opinion it is not too shabby.
THE COMPLIMENTARY BREAD, SALMON HOUSE SEAFOOD CHOWDER, SEAFOOD BOWL, HERB RISOTTO, BEEF TENDERLOIN, SPRING SALMON AND MAPLE PECAN TART.
To start, the COMPLIMENTARY BREAD. There is white bread as well as cheese bread and they are both soft. We are given a white bean puree which I thought would be a garlic spread but it has a humus texture. It would have been nice if they gave us butter as well.
The first appetizer is the SALMON HOUSE SEAFOOD CHOWDER, MANHATTAN STYLE ($8.00). The chowder is flavourful and has a good amount of salmon pieces which are not overcooked. They use salmon belly which I think is pretty smart since the belly is the hardest part to overcook. I wish they had a new england chowder option since it is my favourite.
The second appetizer is the SEAFOOD BOWL (CLAMS, MUSSELS, PRAWNS, SALMON AND HALIBUT), LEMONGRASS TOMATO BROTH, ALDER GRILLED BANNOCK BREAD ($28.00). When we started the dish, BF said this is what he expected Fraiche to be like and it is already better than Fraiche. I love this dish and I am not the type to like these either. The broth tastes like a seafood bisque and is very flavourful. The salmon and halibut pieces are moist, and the clams and mussels taste fresh. What sold me is the bannock bread with the broth, it is very yummy. BF tried comparing this to Top of Vancouver's seafood bowl, saying how their concept with a metal bowl and a candle underneath is better to prevent it from getting cold. I am more like whatever, this tastes a lot better.
My entree is the ALDER GRILLED BC SPRING SALMON, ROASTED FINGERLING POTATOES, LOBSTER AND DUNGENESS CRAB SALSA, AND BASIL VINAIGRETTE ($32.00). The salmon is moist, tender, falls apart easily and has the alder grilled taste. In the beginning I was not used to the alder grilled taste since it does not taste as "fatty" as if it is baked. For the potatoes, they are very good. I usually do not comment or think anything about the sides, but the potatoes definitely need to be acknowledged. The potatoes are crisp on the outside and the inside is perfectly cooked, not too soft or hard. The salmon is topped with lobster and crab pieces, served cold and enjoyable.
His entree is the ALDER GRILLED AAA CANADIAN BEEF TENDERLOIN, SMOKED CHEDDAR AND SCALLION MASHED POTATOES, FRESH DUNGENESS CRAB, ROASTED GARLIC AND GREEN PEPPERCORN JUS ($34.00). The steak is supposed to be medium rare and is cooked to a medium, but surprisingly it is still juicy, tender and flavourful. I am glad BF enjoys it because his last steak experience was at Fraiche which was not very good. The steak is topped with cold crab pieces and the sides are pretty much the same as mine. I took the chips off his plate and they are perfectly thin and crispy. I told him if I worked here, I would make a bunch and take them home as a healthier option for chips.
The side of HERB RISOTTO, BABY TOMATO SALSA AND ASPARAGUS ($12.00). On the left, the risotto is raw and has the taste of powder inside the rice. Our server had no problem or questions taking it back and was apologetic. On the right, is the new risotto. The risotto has a very strong swiss cheese taste which I do not like (personal preference). The presentation is not very appetizing too and looks like mush.
For dessert, WARM MAPLE PECAN TART, WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE, VANILLA BEAN GELATO ($9.50). The tart is not overly sweet and there is a good amount of 8 or 10 pecans, but the crust is a bit too hard and bland. For the gelato, it is delicious (but any vanilla is good to me).
THE VIEW FROM OUR TABLE
The view is not as sharp as Fraiche's because we are at the farthest corner, but you can step out on the balcony for photos and walk around.
Every dish we ordered is reasonably priced (except the risotto but that is because I did not like it), we enjoyed our meal, it costs less and tastes better than Fraiche, plus the entrees are the same price as Poor Italian Ristorante's, I will definitely be coming back. Honest to the truth when I read a review about Fraiche and the review said do not bother just go to Salmon House, I thought he was crazy and I was determined to go to Fraiche, even on a weekend that I am against since I do not prefer the busyness. I am glad I found this restaurant because of that review and am surprised what he recommends is true. Salmon House is busy on a Thursday night and last weekend on Friday at Fraiche, it was pretty slow and the restaurant is small. I think Fraiche would suit a younger crowd (since the interior is more modern) as well as a place to drink where you do not care about food, and Salmon House as a place to relax, enjoy food and step out on the balcony.
Overall I had a fantastic experience, I did not expect the dishes to be good because of the recent reviews but the food is above average. I definitely recommend Salmon House if you are in the area or want to drive up here. Service wise, the hostess is friendly, our server checked on us.. sort of I think and the only thing if anything, she forgot BFs drink twice. Other then that, no problems. Well, fine. I think she disappeared after but the bus girl was very nice and even said goodbye.