I heard Stella's opened up their second location on Cambie last week, so I thought we'd check it out. IN A NUTSHELL: some good, some bad, some kinks. Disclaimer: Stella's on Commercial was always one of those places I'd been meaning to go to but never found the time, so I don't know how this location compares to the original.
We arrived around 6:30. I tried to call earlier in the day, but their recorded message said that they didn't take reservations. When we got there, the place looked quite busy, especially the outside tables. We were greeted and seated quickly, but our table was the sucky table next to the kitchen. If you go there, you'll see it. Jammed up against the wall right beside the entrance to the kitchen. It's a tight squeeze for the waitstaff to manoeuvre around...the staff bumped into our table/chairs a couple times, which was quite amusing.
The interior was really amazing. I felt like I was dining in a fancy ocean liner from the 40s. The bar area looked sleek and cool, but not too cool as to be sterile. It looked like a nice place to saddle up to and shoot the breeze over a glass of premium belgian beer. Wow, the beer! I forgot to take a picture of the menus so I'd have a record, but their list of bottles covers 2 pages, including detailed descriptions and alcohol contents. Their draft selection is not bad...mostly somewhat popular more mainstream type beers, along with some choice taps like Ephemere. A big plus is that they offer Unibroue and Philips bottles at a reasonable price. Another big plus is that they offer beer and cheese pairings! I think that really helps bring beer to the forefront, no longer being merely the drink of sports-loving couch potatoes, but also a drink that has depth and complexity that can be a great match for all kinds of food.
I ordered their white beer with cheese pairing. Can't remember the name of the white beer nor the cheese, but they ran out of the white beer anyways and was substituted with Chimay White. No complaints! It was an awesome match.
For food, I got their fixed price 2-course meal for $22. I got a half-dozen raw oysters and their pork tenderloin. The oysters were fine but the shucking could've been better. I had to manually seperate the oyster from the adducter muscle on all of them before I could eat them. And they forgot to include a spoon for the sauce and a proper oyster fork would've been nice. But I have to remember this place isn't Rodney's or Joe Fortes... ^_^
The pork tenderloin was served very pink in the middle and was not bad. It came with a salsa on top, and the tenderloin slices were on top of corn bread (johnny cake) all on a huge layer of beans. The beans were the best thing in this dish! Very delicious with that baked bean taste with gravy and bacon. Mmmmmm! :P
Stella's Tap & Tapas Bar
3305 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z, CA