In the last five days, I’ve had experiences at two different restaurants that were the polar opposites of each other. I’ll start off with the bad.

On Wednesday night, I had dinner with my good friend Ron. We usually eat at Earl’s locations and we’re usually not disappointed with them. Ok, one time Ron wasn’t entirely satisfied with his food but it wasn’t anything major.

In the spirit of trying something new, we decided to patronize one of the Joeys restaurants, this one located near Burrard and Robson. It’s kinda cut in the same mold as Earl’s restaurants, so I wasn’t expecting anything different. Anyways, we were seated quickly but that was one of the few positives that night. Though our waiter had intimate knowledge of the menu, we waited for about half an hour for our food. We only got an update on our orders about twenty-five minutes into the wait. Even then, it was an odd explanation. Some guy, not our waiter, came to our table and said that there was a mixup of some sort and they weren’t sure if our food was hot enough. What? What kind of reason is that for a half hour wait? We were asked if we wanted any salads or soups in the meantime, but it was made clear to us that said salads and soups weren’t going to be complimentary. We declined.

While we again waited, I ordered a second gin and tonic. It came back tasting like crap. I know gin ain’t the best tasting alcohol out there but this was very unpleasant. Finally, our food came and as hungry as I was, my entree was a disappointment. I ordered the lobster ravioli. The pasta was super chunky and thick, making the lobster meat lost in the mix. The cream sauce in the dish was so heavy and overpowering that in the end, they could have stuffed the pasta with cardboard and it would have been hard to know.

I wound up paying the bill and I tipped a big fat dollar. I know it wasn’t the waiter’s fault for most of this but I just didn’t feel like paying for something I wasn’t satisfied with.

In sharp contrast to that meal was the birthday dinner my family had for my sister on Saturday night. We went to the new Boathouse location in Port Moody. Now, I’ve not dined out much in the PoMo area but this restaurant is probably the finest eatery in this sleepy suburb. With a waterfront view that stretches nearly the entire length of huge restaurant and high ceilings, it’s hard to believe you’re actually in Port Moody. We were in the fine care of Angie our server that night. She spied an unopened b-day card which was still in the envelope and asked us if it was someone’s birthday. Based on our answer, she made sure my sister had a nice surprise later on.

The food was of amazing quality at the Boathouse. I had a sirloin steak with a skewer of lobster meat and some scallops, all of which was prepared to high levels of tastiness. Strangely enough, my mother decided to order the lobster ravioli without any knowledge of my Joey’s meal. I had to sample some. The pasta was much thinner and the cream sauce was much lighter, allowing the lobster to really shine through. During our meal, the chef actually came to our table to check up on individual items. Then the manager came by to see if we needed anything else.

I left the restaurant with a great impression of the place and would like to return again to sample some of the other items on the menu.

As a response to my less than ideal meal at Joeys, I left feedback on their web site. It took a day for them to respond, first by their marketing manager via e-mail and then a phone call from the general manager at the Burrard location. I called him back but our schedules didn’t match up. He took the weekend off, so I’ll be trying him again on Monday.

My sister warned me not to go to the restaurant during “off hours” to discuss what transpired because she thinks I’ll get whacked. In light of this, I’ll keep to phone calls for now. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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