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Stella'sTap and Tapas


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Stephen his wife and I tried out this new restaurant on Commercial Drive this evening. Stella's Tap and Tapas Bar "Old Santos location". It is owned by the same people as Incendio Gastown and Incendio West.

The Decor: lots of light woods, tile, and stone. Imagine a lightened up Keg.

Concept: Belgium beers, mussels, and frites and a New York or San Francisco bistro with tapas or small plate offerings.

Drinks: "Taps" 7 beers on tap, 4 Belgium (Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe, and Bellevue Kriek) as well as local R and B Sun God and Raven Cream Ale and U.K. import Strongbow Cider. 20 "caps" or bottled beers evenly split between average local and popular imports. and "Grapes" 17 wines by the glass all pretty average ($5.5 to $8 per glass)

Food: Tapas with a selection of 28 ranging from $5 to $12 each along with a selection of 8 P.E.I. mussel bowls in either 1/2 pound $6 or 1 pound options $11 plus $4 for a bucket of frites.

Service: 10 days of operation and still some growing pains: We started off with two glasses of wine - the server got them mixed up. Lots of over pours on the Belgium beers (good for the customer) not good for cost of sales for the owner.

and servers who had on idea of seat and table numbers.

What we tried:

Tandoori rubbed AAA Alberta beef skewers $10

3 skewers of plumb juicey beef cooked medium rare. Very tasty but slightly spoilt by the very oily deep fried red pepper raita.

Blue swimming crab and shrimp cake $11

1 cake with wonderful crab flavours balanced by a smoked apple and corn slaw.

Szechewan pepper crusted jumbo scallops $10

3 scallops perfectly cooked and well suited to the spaghetti squash bird nest and green onion vinegrette.

Salmon Trio $12

A trio of wild salmon: house cured gravlax, maple cured Indian candy and salmon cervice (more like salsa but very refreshing)

Moules Normande $1/2 pound $6 plus the $4 for the frites

Small mussels but tasty sauce with Granny Smith apple chunks, mushrooms, bacon, Calvados and cream.

The fries were crisp and loaded with potato flavour enhanced by a lime or lemon salt dusting and a lemony aioli. Better than Chambars.

Cost: $92 for 5 dishes, two glasses of wine, and three glasses of Belgium beer.

Overal: Very good drink value. The Belgium Bellevue Kriek was $6 a glass compared to $7.5 at the Lennox (Granville) as was the Stella $5 compared to $6.5 to $7 and Hoegaarden $5.5 compared to 6.5 to $7.95 downtown. Wines were pretty average and nothing to get excited about. Food similar to the Bin's in presentation but still in need of refinement. Small (very) plates- so plan on sharing with friends to experience the menu. The room is loud due to the dynamics (wood, tile, and stone). A great addition to the drive bringing an upscale dining style to the drive...surely needed.

Thanks to egullet guy Stephen for picking up the tab tonight :raz:

Cheers,

Ralph and Stephen "the guy with expensive glasses"

Edited by eatglobally (log)

No culture exists without food and drink

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A friend and I stopped by Stella's for drinks the other night.

We had the Thai spiced jumbo shrimp which were good enough for us to seriously consider ordering a second round. Also had the scallops, perfectly cooked for us too.

A second glass of wine called for the antipasto platter which was tasty, but nothing special.

Service was friendly, if a bit chaotic.

Great value, and a really nice place to spend a couple of hours chatting. We will definitely go back.

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Service: 10 days of operation and still some growing pains:

A group of my friends and I started my birthday evening at Stella’s on the 2nd and it was an interesting evening. I had to remind everyone that they had only been open for 1 week and they like any new restaurant, they had to iron out the kinks mainly in regards to service. The variety of drinks was refreshing and the food was very good. I started with the beef carpaccio, then moved to the pan seared calamari with capers and olives but was surprised with very large squid tubes instead of the whole calamari. The PEI mussels were awesome and the aioli that came with the fries was absolutely amazing, best I have had in the city so far. I look forward to returning.

Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is. - P. J. O'Rourke

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I've been to Stella's a few times now - a friend and I have a standing Friday lunch date and it often happens late in the day (3:30ish). We like Stella's because it's open all afternoon so there's no feeling of being rushed. Plus she lives on the drive, so, it's a really convenient location.

So far we've tried:

frites - dee-lish

Tosino - pork on noodles with a yummy cilantro/ginger type of jus - this is so good that we considered getting a second order

Thai shrimp - really great, perfectly cooked

Duck duo - I don't really like duck, but I enjoy the duck sausage that comes as one half of the duo, and it comes with this really yummy white bean puree that I'd like to be able to order just a side of

We had the tandoori beef skewers, which were a bit disappointing, but as everyone else has already said, they are still fine tuning.

Service has been friendly and efficient, and I find when there have been some minor mistakes, the servers are quick to remedy.

Edited by Jojosan (log)
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we've been to stella's a couple of times now and it's such a great addition to the drive. the beer is awesome, always, the service is pretty good, and so far, i've been pretty happy with the food. so far, we've done...

chicken sticks ~ pretty good, but the oil drizzled on afterwards tends to make it taste a little greasy

roasted beet salad ~ yummm

crab and shrimp cake with the apple coleslaw ~ yummy

beef tenderloin sticks ~ the tandoori seemed to be missing and the beef was overcooked for our liking

butter poached tiger prawns ~ want to bathe in the sauce, juicy and tasty prawns

orleans and madrid mussels and frites ~ i looove the mussels, him, not so much, but the frites, i think they're better than chambar's and the aioli is delicious too!

we also tried the chocolate cake made with the bellevue kriek (sp?) and it was delicious, warm gooey puddingy cake and a cherry sauce over it.

damn, i'm hungry again :biggrin:

Edited by makanmakan (log)

Quentina

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Just went to Stella's now for my forth time. Two dinners and lunches. I tried two new dishes for lunch today; Duck Duo $12 and Thai spiced jumbo shrimp $12.

The duck Duo is a combination of crispy duck confit and smoked duck sausage plated with a roasted garlic white bean hummus. Very tasty and a nice match with the Bellvue Kriek fruit beer. The Thai shrimp are a great buy. Grilled with the skins on and loaded with flavour they would be a perfect pair with the Hoegaarden but I stayed with my third glass of Kreik. :smile: !'m figuring with nearly thirty tapas on the menu it will take my another few visits to try the complete menu and with the great selection of Belgium beers it should be an endless summer of beer and food pairing experimentation.

Stella's is a great lunch time spot on the drive with nice patio (very popular today at 11:30) and a great change from Chambar both geographically and financially.

Stephen Bonner

Edited by SBonner (log)

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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  • 3 weeks later...

Popped in today for a bite.

Nice beers.

Duck confit was really weak. Duck was not cooked enough, tough and the sausage was over-cooked.

mussels were good, I had the fries with them. They were Ok, nothing to write home about. I did not care for the preserved lemon aioli but that is just me.

We had a roasted beet salad that was very nice. Perfect amount of dressing.

Service still needs some work. No sense of urgency by anyone. Perhaps just the lazy Tuesday after a long weekend speed. I am familiar with that. We closed for lunch today just to avoid it happening here.

I will go again in a couple of months.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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I went to Stellas for the first time last night with a couple of buds.

Our service experience was great, friendly greeting at the door (her first day on the job, good hire) and the service was quick and efficient, with no bullshit, just the facts m'am. I really like that.

Our server even suggested a follow up round of beers before we had finished the first one, so they arrived just as we needed them.

The mussels were excellent, we had the Normande type, with bacon and cream. Fries were also excellent. Our server suggested bread when we ordered them, thanks.

The marinated pork on vermicelli was very tasty.

We had the little stuffed tofu pockets which were interesting but not stellar.

As reported here before me, the duck wasn't great. (why do we all order duck?) Not very tasty or juicy, and not at all crispy, but I don't think they sell it like that. I preferred the duck sausage.

The beef tacos (soft) were very very good. I almost ordered more.

The jerk chicken had no spices at all on it, woops. Serves me right for ordering skewers.

In spite of what sounds like a lukewarm food review, it was all in all an enjoyable meal, decent prices, pleasant surroundings. Not a thrilling culinary experience, but that's not we were looking for. I'll be back.

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The beef tacos (soft) were very very good. I almost ordered more.

Achiote-rubbed flat-iron steak sliced rare on soft mini tacos with horseradish creme fraiche and pickled onion relish.......what's not to like? :wub:

I visited Stella's this past week and loved it. Nothing over the top, mind you (would that work on the Drive?), but right on the money as far as food, service, and atmosphere goes at the price point ($5-$12). Plenty imagination all round, and with 30 different small plates on offer next to 30 different beers, I'm sold.

More on Stella's elsewhere this week. :wink:

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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