Thursday, June 2, 2016

Browns Socialhouse : New Westminster location


Having no sense of food direction in Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster and coming up blank for a restaurant to try, Browns Socialhouse did not seem like a bad option. When Browns Socialhouse first came to Vancouver, my thoughts were very meh. Cactus Club and Joey are still on the top of my list for preferred chains and Browns, Milestones and Moxies are the ones I told myself that I am not in a rush to try. So finally after a few years, why not Browns?

Located at the Brewery District in New Westminster with floor to ceiling wall windows and two patios with a fire, I am already interested in atmosphere. Most of the time the atmosphere is not really all that important to me, but it was really nice having the whole patio to ourselves and sitting right in front of the fire where it kept us warm. We had the best seat at the restaurant and lots of privacy! Or I guess I mean lots of peace because diners have a really clear view of the patio from the inside.



BELLINI 1oz, Lamb's white rum, sparkling wine, sangria, peach schnapps ($6.00).
Rating: 3/5.
A touch on the noticeably sweeter than usual side, the bellini is well prepared and comes with a fuzzy peach. 

BASIL GRAPEFRUIT 2oz, Polar ice vodka, triple sec, fresh basil, fresh pressed grapefruit juice ($9.00).
Rating: 3.5/5.
Starving and hoping the food would arrive rather than a second drink, the Basil Grapefruit is good. The fresh pressed grapefruit makes a huge difference for me as I prefer raw juice and everything about this drink is quality. The drink only has a touch of sweetness as well.

CLASSIC HOT WINGS ($11.75).
Rating: 3.5/5.
At first the wings look average at best because they are not evenly tossed, but they taste juicy and exhibit a medium level of spiciness. The exterior is a touch dry as well as crunchy/chewy and the hot sauce is one dimensional however.

THAI CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP, BOWL ($5.25).
Rating: 3/5.
Heavy and rich without overwhelming, the Thai Chicken and Rice soup is hearty. There is a nice curry flavour along with a hint of spiciness and it really hits the spot overall, despite that it is on the oilier side.

CRISPY CALAMARI AND JALAPENOS ($12.95).
Rating: 3.5/5.
The calamari has a light crispy batter and tastes very tender, not chewy one bit. The seasoning is more salty than flavour however. As for the tzatziki, it is pretty flavourful and exhibits a hint of spiciness. The salsa on the side is tangy and rich on its own, but I do not really prefer it with the calamari.

LIME PEPPER GRILLED HALIBUT, Scallion, cilantro cabbage slaw, chipotle sauce, pickled red onion ($12.50).
Rating: 2/5.
Forgetting to add the $1.50 guacamole, the halibut tacos are extremely bland. The halibut is not overcooked, but could have been more moist and the chipotle lacks flavour. The chipotle is light, tangy and well salted, it just also tastes bland. In addition, the large amount of slaw and picked red onion overwhelms the flavour of halibut. As for the salsa on the side, it provides some flavour but that flavour comes from the sauce itself and does not compliment the tacos. The tacos still taste bland.

6oz TWO HANDED PUB BURGER, Havarti cheese, special sauce, smoked bacon + POUTINE ($2.00).
Rating: 3/5.
The sort of moist hand formed patty lacks some char and does not taste juicy, but the bacon makes up for it. The smoked bacon is very flavourful without tasting salty and the tomato compliments the burger well. The burger overall is more on the dry side and is not as good as other chains'. I like how the brioche buns are not greasy one bit though! As for the side of poutine, the fries are more soft than crispy and the gravy is extremely thick. The thick gravy does not taste salty or overwhelming, but the consistency is a bit off putting. In regards to the curds, there is a fair amount and is not bad.

TAHITIAN TUNA, Wasabi mayo, cowgirl salad, almond rice ($16.95).
Rating: 3.5/5.
The Tahitian Tuna is perfectly and evenly seared, tastes of good quality and is fresh. Underneath is the wasabi mayo, which does not taste very strong and is sort of there only to provide moisture in my opinion. I would have preferred a more flavourful aioli. The highlight however is the almond rice! Fluffy, fragrant, extremely flavourful and topped with toasted almond flakes, the rice is delicious!

HOUSEMADE KEY LIME PIE, Fresh whipped cream, coconut graham cracker crust ($7.25).
Rating: 3.5/5.
Housemade desserts at a chain are always a must order for me, especially the key lime pie at Cactus Club and the apple pie at Joey! As for Browns, the smooth and fluffy key lime pie tastes flavourful and is neither too tart nor sweet. The portion appears to be on the smaller side compared to Cactus Club and Brown's twist is that they offer a coconut graham crust.

Browns Socialhouse overall is an above average restaurant with pleasant and welcoming staff in a relaxing atmosphere. However with other options such as Cactus Club where the calamari, burger and key lime pie tastes better as well as Joey that offers a better burger and tuna salad, Browns would not be my first choice. With that said, there are a few other items I want to try at Browns just so I can say I have (also because of the inviting ambiance and friendly staff).

POSITIVES
- Above average food
- Welcoming, friendly and attentive staff
- Great atmosphere especially in our case

NEGATIVES
- Bland tacos

Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5

BROWNS SOCIALHOUSE NEW WESTMINSTER
296 East Columbia St New Westminster, BC V3L 0E3
Telephone (604) 553-0440
http://brownssocialhouse.com/brewery-district/

1 comment:

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