Friday, October 11, 2013

Sammy J's Bar & Grill : Coquitlam location

Sammy J's has never been a chain restaurant that I cared for. I always assume there is a reason why most people prefer Cactus Club or Boston Pizza, including myself. 

The restaurant's interior is surprisingly very nice and the decor is probably my favourite out of Boston Pizza, Cactus Club, Joey's and Earl's. I had the idea in my head that if I took photos from the entrance, the restaurant would look much nicer. However, these photos do not do the justice and the seating as well as tables cannot be seen. Sammy J's interior is really nice, or is it the possibility I think that because the restaurant was empty and I have never been to this location before?


THE ULTIMATE CHEESEBURGER CAESAR, MOTTS CLAMATO AND SMIRNOFF VODKA SPICED WITH OUR OWN SIGNATURE PEPPER INFUSION AND GARNISHED WITH BACON, CHORIZO SAUSAGE, HAVARTI CHEESE, TIGER PRAWN, BLAZES BEAN, OLIVE, PICKLE WEDGE, CELERY AND CHEESE BURGER SLIDER ($13.99). Did I forget to ask for the caesar to be spicy? Yes :(. I wish I had a straw too because the first sip was practically all ice. The cheeseburger slider tastes average, has a slight sour taste from the mustard and relish, and the patty is warm. Although the slider tastes average, there are much better ones elsewhere. Continuing with the items in the caesar, the celery is not fresh and I guess in their defence, not many eat it anyways. Next, the bacon tastes cold and was probably cooled down before assembling the caesar. Moving on, the tiger prawn looks more like a regular prawn and has a nice snap. And lastly, the havarti and chorizo are both decently sliced, about one inch long with a good thickness. The caesar tastes average, not watered down and may be considered a must try for fun.

J'S MUSSELS, A POUND OF MUSSELS IN WHITE WINE HERB BUTTER ($14.99). I am very detailed (except when it comes to writing) and of course in general, who would not miss that there are two mussel options when there is an "or" written on the menu? BF and the server did. When he ordered the mussels, I thought hmmm.. how come he didn't tell the sever which one I wanted and why didn't the server ask? After he ordered I said, "oh, what kind of mussels are we getting?" and he responded "isn't there just one?". This is when I paused to see if the server would jump in and tell us there are two options. BF and the server pretty much had blank faces, and when I asked the server she said there is only one option. After I pointed out the menu offers two (panang ginger curry), she said she did not know. Not sure what the point of the mini story was, but I thought it should be mentioned since chain restaurants are pretty good at training their staff. The mussels have a slight taste of wine and the broth tastes light without tasting salty. It would have been nice if the bread was toasted longer and had a slight crunch or a slight crispiness. 

CROWDED SEAFOOD CHOWDER ($7.99). The chowder tastes creamy as well as rich and is better than some fine dining restaurants! The chowder has potato, bacon, celery, onion, mushroom and tiny clams. All the ingredients are blended so I am not sure what else is in there. The chowder is a pretty safe dish to order here.

SALT N' PEPPER AND SAMMY'S HOT SAUCE WINGS WITH CELERY AND BLUE CHEESE DIP ($11.49). The salt n' pepper wings are nicely deep fried but lacks the salt and pepper taste. The wings taste very bland as well as flavourless and if an option of "natural crisp wings" was available on the menu, this would be it. The wings are noticably smaller than most chain restaurants and not taste dry or juicy. Next, Sammy's hot sauce wings taste slightly spicy but more sweet than spicy. Also, the hot wings taste very dry and hard, not very good.

BRAISED SHORT RIB, SLOW ROATED TO FORK TENDER AND TOPPED WITH A WILD MUSHROOM GRAVY. SERVED WITH WHITE WINE CHEDDAR MASHED POTATO AND SEASONAL VEGETABLES ($18.99). The short rib does not taste braised and tastes more like it was cooked on a fast boil, the restaurant should have braised it longer. The meat has a slightly but not really, I guess a barely there tenderness and tastes chewy. The accompanying gravy comes with a generous amount of mushrooms and the sauce does not taste overwhelming or salty. For the mashed potato, it tastes dry but creamy and tastes slightly salty from the cheddar. Next, the asparagus is cooked perfectly, tasting juicy on the inside with a slight crunchy exterior.

SEAFOOD LINGUINE, A MEDLEY OF PRAWNS, SCALLOPS, MUSSELS, TOMATOES, SCALLIONS AND LEMON PEPPER TOSSED IN A WHITE WINE GARLIC CREAM SAUCE ($19.99). The linguine comes with three pieces of small scallop, four prawns, four mussels, a couple of tomato skins and a sprinkle of green onion. The scallops came cold but the prawns and mussels were  served warm. The prawns taste a bit rubbery and the mussels taste fresh. For the pasta, the linguine is cooked al dente but tastes bland. Also, the sauce is too thick, tastes bland, could have been flavourful and there is not enough sauce.  There is nothing to rave about the pasta and it tastes below average. But to be fair, who orders pasta here anyways? I was just craving for some.

- Friendly server
- Chowder is pretty good
- Ultimate Caesar is something to try

- Eh.. food is whatever
- Not cheap

- It is pretty much known not to order entrees or pasta at a chain restaurant (I do not even like Boston Pizza's pasta)
- Every casual chain restaurant has wet naps, not Sammy J's though
- Restaurant was empty on a game night, does that say something?
- Usually I go to certain chain restaurants for specific dishes but there is not really anything I would come back for

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 4/5

Sammy J's Bar & Grill (Coquitlam) on Urbanspoon

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