Looking for a casual but upscale dining experience? Well S+L Kitchen & Bar offers just that. Part of the Joseph Richards group which offers three locations: South Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford. The interior has a modern industrial feel with black, white and wood décor.
We were seated in a comfy booth in a small upper section near the bar. The booths had black metal domes around them like a frame to a yurt with funky pendant lights that looked like oversized light bulbs. We were politely informed that Ben would be taking care of us tonight.
Our server Ben came by promptly to take our drink orders. We had someone in our party who is allergic to of all things citrus! Ben was able to make some recommendations on a drink for them. Which I have to say they enjoyed. S+L Kitchen & Bar have a large drink menu with a wide selection of beers and wines and some higher price tag funky cocktails. The wines menu is extensive and prices range from casual to very fine dining. Had a few hiccups with ordering a Scotch, ordered and it was out, ordered a different one and it was also out, but Ben came back with a recommendation from the bartender that made our dinner guest very please.
After a few drinks it was on to the food. We started with a few appies that definitely had some WOW factors.
Pan Seared Scallops and Gnocchi with Brown Butter Carrot Puree, Smoked Bacon, Candied Seeds, King Oyster Mushrooms and house made Gnocchi. The Gnocchi were so tender it literally melted in your mouth and the Brown Butter Carrot Puree was unique with the right balance of flavours. Yummy bits of Smoked Bacon and Candied Seeds added a good contrast with its texture and crunch factor that had a lovely rich flavour. I could have eaten a plate of just that. The most important and best part of the dish, perfectly cooked Sea Scallops, seared to perfection with a lovely caramelized crust. The presentation of the food at S+L Kitchen & Bar is well done. This dish looks like the yin yang and just like the symbols meaning, this dish is well balanced and complimentary in its textures and flavours. We had a giggle at one of our friends who tried a gnocchi – which I don’t think they have ever eaten before – and was all confused looking, and we inquired to his peculiar look and he said “these scallops are weird”, yeah cause that is not a scallop. He tried a scallop and then was all what did I just eat before this? I have to admit looking at the dish if it wasn’t for the golden caramelized crust on the scallops, I can see the confusion.
With cooler weather there is nothing better than a nice bowl of warm chowder. It’s like a hug or an oversized comfy sweater in a bowl and this Lobster Chowder hit the spot. Lobster, Corn, Potatoes, Bacon, Fresh Market Vegetables and Olive Oil Baked Croutons. Wonderful rich creamy chowder base with generous pieces of lobster. Let’s be honest can you ever go wrong with lobster? I think not. The corn was fresh with a nice firm bit and gave a lovely texture to the chowder. The bacon added a nice flavour punch. Lobster, bacon… my life is complete. I love a good crouton and these were so good. They didn’t get soggy but held a good amount of the chowder so you still got a good crunch. Nothing worse than biting into a crouton that cuts into the rough of your mouth. Not the case here.
Crispy Calamari was a different take on calamari, and trust me I have eaten my weight in calamari. Crisp Chickpeas, Red Bell Peppers, Pickled Red Onions, Mint, house made Tzatziki and Mediterranean seasoning. The tzatziki was on the bottom of the plate which I didn’t catch right away until a few bites in. Lightly seasoned and battered red bell peppers and calamari that was cooked perfectly. The mint was subtle so it didn’t over power the dish and the pickled onion was a nice addition with its vinegar flavour to add an extra flavour dimension to the dish. I like pickled onions and these had me craving more. That’s a good sign of balance in my opinion. If you crave more then it’s the right amount. The chickpeas hit the crunch factor but that I feel they could have used a seasoning on them to give them a boost in the flavour department. S+L Kitchen & Bar seems to like to have a variety of textures and flavours in one dish and I’m liking it.
Ok so we are a bunch of diehard carnivores and it was steak all around for the mains. I was so tempted to do the 32oz Porterhouse but I know that is a sharing plate for me, however I know a few people that could do this on their own. May have to have a night out with hubby and share this bad boy. Ok truth be known I did eat a 32 oz porterhouse once but that was 20 plus years ago at Charlie’s Steak House in Tennessee, back in those days I could eat and eat and eat.
Now the mains. New York Strip 12oz cut from 100% AAA Canadian Black Angus, in their words “our strip loin steak has a rich taste and soft texture. With just a small layer of fat on the outside edge of the steak that creates a flare of flavour” it is served with your choice of two sides. The Lobster Mashed Potatoes which you pay a few dollars more for this side, but come on were seriously one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. So creamy and with pieces of lobster was just heaven on the plate. A side of Crispy Local Brussels Sprouts that were caramelized had a hint of sweetness from the maple gastrique, smoked bacon pieces and some of those yummy pickled onions and a dusting of parmesan cheese. Added on an Atlantic Lobster Tail for an additional price. The silver pot on the side is the butter for the lobster but what I didn’t clarify was is just clarified butter. It had a flavour that would make me believe it was perhaps cut with oil. None of us were a fan of this butter/oil side and you just can’t have lobster without butter. The lobster was popped out of its shell so it was easy to eat and they were so fresh tasting. If you have ever had seafood where you taste chlorine, that’s not fresh! If you like lobster, S+L Kitchen & Bar has one of the freshest lobsters we’ve ever had and is worth the extra money to add to your steak.
Next up was the signature Wagyu Flat Iron 8oz steak, in their words “Cooked sous-vide and pan seared to perfection, the abundant marbling of fat melts back into the steak giving it a rich flavour.” The pan sear on the outside had a beautiful char that was perfectly done and lovely crispy bits. Then you have the contrast of the soft texture inside that melts in your mouth. Cooked medium rare and tender doesn’t even do it justice with how tender it was. Served with your choice of two sides. Tried the Loaded Roasted Potatoes that were topped with sour cream and bacon bits and a side of bacon cream corn. Yeah this group also loves bacon and S+L Kitchen & Bar loves to add it to their dishes. Chunky Rich Creamed Corn with a hint of bacon flavour. This corn is so fresh tasting. And of course, topped with an Atlantic Lobster Tail.
And here we have the Filet 6oz Steak “Cut from 100% AAA Canadian Black Angus, the filet is the most tender, melt in your mouth steak available”. Ok I know I said the Wagyu was tender but then I had the Filet. Oh wow, this is so tender and it truly does just melt in your mouth. Cooked medium rare. Fantastic piece of meat. If you enjoy a tender cut of beef then the filet is the way to go. This is one of my favorite cuts of beef not only for the tenderness but the flavour as well. The two sides were the popular Lobster Mashed Potatoes, aka Heaven on a plate and if you haven’t figured it out by now you need these in your life! And the Crispy Local Brussels Sprouts topped with an Atlantic Lobster Tail.
Finished off an amazing dinner with the Strawberry Shortcake Sphere dessert; that is a mouthful to say. It consists of a Chocolate Dome, Sponge Cake, fresh berries and raspberry anglaise. Ok I ordered this just for the Instagram worthy video my hubby took and the presentation done table side of the warm raspberry anglaise sauce being poured over a chocolate sphere that melts in front of your eyes to reveal the shortcake, vanilla ice cream and berries. Note to self: take a picture before it melts because as tasty as it is, it looks like a hot mess.
Review by Julie Brown