533 Yates St.
I haven’t been to The Reef in a while, so I was due for a visit. The aroma that comes with opening the door to the Reef brings back positive memories of rum, curry and jerked foodstuffs. It seems as though The Reef had a make-over since my last meal there. The menus have been updated in a cool faux bamboo/rattan casing, and they got rid of the blue-lit aquariums which previously adorned the booth seating. I was craving a glass of wine( am I becoming a wino?), so I ordered a glass of Gabbiano Pinot Gris ($6.00) in which our server endearingly pronounced ” Gab-eeno”, precious. She promptly dropped off the beloved Johnny-cakes which have consequently become an institution themselves. Fried bread with mango butter, sign me up anytime please. She asked if we wanted two more, and in our gluttonous pride we could not resist. Our mains came immediately after it seemed, and both of us ordered the same dish. She said it was ‘out of the this world’, I held her to it, and she delivered, Bravo! The menu describes it as follows: ‘ Dominica Beef- Cumin and garlic marinated tenderloin tips with salsa verde, mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables’($15.00).
Food: The Johnny-cakes were delectable as always. The beef dish was done justice. The tenderloin was that, tender. The cumin and garlic marinade really packed a lot of punch delivering pleasure to the palate. The broccoli was cooked just the way I like it ( the tips soft but not mushy, and the stalks with a bit of crunch), and it was seasoned well. The sweet corn was tasty, but not the easiest preparation for ease of eatability. Leaving the corn on the cob makes you get in there and engage with your food a bit though. The salsa verde had sweet heat, I couldn’t distinguish whether they used some tomatillos or some kind of stewed peppers to make it. Yummy.
Service: The server was attractive, friendly, nonchalant and enthusiastic. The ambiance within The Reef is homey, comfortable, and it the art is bright as is the music.
Criticisms: The only things I could criticize( foreshadowing a compliment sandwich…) are a few details with the food. The flavour of the mashed potatoes was delicious, but since there was such a substantial portion of them on the plate the lumpiness of the ‘mash’ kind of got to me. The mash had a few lumps with an almost watery consistency, and flooded the plate as the base for the other components. But I can overlook that because the taste was there, it was seasoned well. Small details right? Lastly, the beef was dangerously moist and tender, but the tenderloin tips varied in size, thus cooked in varying degrees of doneness. Nonetheless these small critiques did not affect the overall experience of the meal, as it was seasoned to perfection and satisfied my tastebuds.