June 7, 2012
White Spot, Richmond BC
Lifestyle Asian Chicken Salad
Prawn Asparagus Flatbread
Mascarpone Prawn Ravioli
I first heard about White Spot’s limited-time Viva Italia menu back in Philly. Yes, I listen to The Beat 94.5 when I am not in Vancouver. It is very comforting for me. Ever since then, I have wanted to try their ravioli and flatbread, being a huge fan of both tender prawns and asparagus. I prefer prawns in western restaurants because they are usually so much more tender and chewy than those found in Chinese restaurants since the latter are usually overcooked from frozen prawns and shrimp. After seeing on Facebook the promotion is ending this weekend, I just had to go for dinner before I miss the chance.
We started off with Onion Rings, since Mom saw someone ordering it and insisted on getting a plate. It came with their zoo dip, which tastes somewhat like a mild and obviously less chunky tartar sauce, with a blend of sour cream and ranch. The batter on the onion rings were nice and thick enough. Dad thought they did not fry it thoroughly, but I had no problem with it. I was glad it was not too oily but still very crispy to give it a nice crunchy texture. It was quite a dark golden brown, but that is probably due to the less than excessive amount of oil. The onion inside was soft and sweet, although I would have like them to be a little thicker so that there is more onion to go with all that delicious, crispy batter. The zoo dip, on the other hand, did not please me as much. It was not really anything special and it was a bit too bland for me. Halfway through, I actually thought ketchup was better as it provided a better tartness to balance out the deep fried oily scent.
My Lifestyle Asian Chicken Salad was the biggest disappointment of the night. It was certainly not worth $11.99 so I sure am glad I had that coupon for 50% off the second entree. The greens lacked some crunch and some leaves were quite watery. The edamame and celery were okay but it is not like those are hard to ‘make.’ Almond slices were plentiful, as were the chopped red onions. However, the peppers were cut into little cubes yet I still found a few seeds in mine. They were clearly not washed thoroughly and just chopped up without ever being rinsed. The chicken was grilled through but was not very tender. I did like how lean the meat was, but the portion was rather small. It seemed smaller than those in McDonald’s salads. It was also cut into three large chunks rather than sliced up, which I found to be odd. The spicy sesame dressing was decent though, with the right amount of spice and sesame oil. The chicken was just no where near the standards I have for a restaurant like this.
From their Viva Italia menu, we ordered the Prawn Asparagus Flatbread. The portion was good, with a generous amount of tender but tiny prawns on top. Despite the size of them, at least the prawns were chewy. The asparagus was also nicely grilled. I found the cheese blend to be slightly bland, though. There was also no sauce that I could tell underneath the cheese, which made the entire dish somewhat bland. The dill added a nice aroma but it was still quite unflavourful. The dough was good, just thick enough to have a crunch on the bottom and chewy, soft dough on top. The edges were slightly on the burnt side but that was good. The ingredients on this dish were good but I am not totally convinced of the entire concept.
Finally, my favourite dish of the evening, was their signature dish of the Viva Italia menu – the Mascarpone Prawn Ravioli. The raviolis were very tasty, with the cheese and strongly flavoured mushrooms as the filling. They were cooked al dente so I was quite pleased with that. The prawns in this dish were standard size and quite plentiful. Again, they were cooked extremely well – just enough so that they remained tender and fresh. The asparagus were grilled first before being mixed into the dish. I would have liked them to be a little fresher as I prefer slightly crunchier asparagus instead of soft ones that limped somewhat after being soaked in the sauce. The sauce was also quite delicious. It was rather chunky for a tomato sauce but the blend of herbs made the taste delicate and complex. There were plenty of sauce, perhaps even a bit too much as we had a little left over, but it was not watery so it did not affect the rest of the dish. In this case, better to have extra sauce than too little.
Overall, I find White Spot to have some decent dishes while others are more hit and miss. They are not overpriced in general, although their portions are not particularly large. The atmosphere was very relaxing but it did not feel like a cheap restaurant either. For their prices, their food and service seemed very decent. It is always nice to have a place close to home to go for a nice, casual dinner that tastes quite delicious at the same time.