By Shaheen Shivji. One of the many perks of reporting for Abbotsford Today is every now and then I am sent on plum assignments. Thanks, boss. Recently, a friend and I dined at Restaurant 62, which offers a relaxed yet high dining experience that simply delights the palate.
Editor’s Note: This review was first published April 27, 2012. Their menu has changed since ths article was published.
The mid-2000’s saw many restaurants using digits as their name and Restaurant 62 is no exception.
Established in 2004, co-owner, Alicia Bodaly shared an engaging story about how the restaurant got its’ name. In the RCMP, code 62 stands for meal break, Restaurant 62’s previous co-owner is a police officer.
It was also the original number of seats at the restaurant and when co-owner, Eric Ferris, met his wife, he was surfing on a 6ft 2” surfboard.
Currently, the restaurant has a seating capacity for 64 and a private dining room that can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests.
My first impressions of the place upon walking into the dimly lit bustling restaurant were of a friendly host who guided us down a narrow lobby, past a kitchen that offers a pee-ka-boo view inside it. As we walked by the chef greeted us as he was busily plating a colourful dish.
The particularly central spot of our seating area was busy but not intrusive. It was across from the sublimely designed warm wooded fully stocked bar. Once comfortably ensconced into the soft cushioned oversized black booth adorned with a twinkling tea light candle we were able to see local, for sale, artwork displayed on the mint coloured walls juxtaposed by sunburnt orange ceilings in the oblong dining area.
While surveying the menu and listening to acoustically, pleasing standard jazz music that also plays on the restaurant’s website a charming server took our drink orders. I started with my signature cocktail, a cosmopolitan, and my friend ordered a robust house red wine from an extensive wine list that contains 2,000 selections.
The beautifully designed Spring menu produced its’ desired effect—watering mouths. Fresh baked bread and hummus were served before dinner. I found the hummus to be a refreshing change from the more common butter that is usually served with bread.
We each ordered an appetizer. My friend had fresh Salt Spring Island mussels in coconut ginger soup. ($12). The aromatic soup can easily be ordered as a tasty entrée. I ordered the crisp East Coast crab cakes with pear slaw ($13). I loved the pairing of the bite sized crab cakes with the tangy and sweet slivered pear slaw.
After savouring every morsel of the appetizers, our entrées arrived. My friend chose the Roasted lamb sirloin steak with minted fingerling potatoes topped with zucchini ribbons, cherry tomatoes and green beans ($27). Roasted to her liking, she described it like this, “Mmm, this is so good and succulent.”
For my entrée, I had the West Coast potlatch of mussels, tiger prawns, an assortment fresh fish (salmon, sablefish, and ling cod), clams and scallops in a roasted lobster and fennel broth ($27). The broth was a skosh salty for my taste buds, but that would not deter me from ordering the dish that was presented in a deep boat shaped crockery overflowing with mounds of colourful and delicately flavoured seafood, asparagus, green beans and button peas.
Our desserts were sinfully decadent, a crème brulee ($9) for my friend and double chocolate mousse ($10) for me.Chef Jeff Massey, who takes so much pride in his cooking out did himself with our vittles. Just before he left for the evening, Massey, was gracious enough to sit down with us. He told me, “The Spring menu is all about locally sourced and seasonally inspired foods.” The Chilliwack based chef is a big believer of purchasing ingredients from local farms.
As we raved about our dining experience, I could not help but ask Massey what he likes to cook, “That’s a tough one (he smiled), I enjoy cooking duck but if I had to pick a food it would be seafood because it’s a subtle cookery and I really enjoy cooking fish.”
Massey and his partners also plan to grow the catering side of their business. Currently, the restaurant hosts many events in their elegant private dining room, which is equipped with full audio visual support and a 42” plasma television.
Restaurant 62 is a marvellous addition not only to Abbotsford’s restaurant scene but also for BC that is well regarded for its’ haute cuisine. Perhaps the biggest compliment the restaurant received, on the evening I was there, came from a couple who stopped by my table before they left. The Vancouver residents, who drove all the way to Restaurant 62 to celebrate their wedding anniversary said, “It was excellent, excellent, excellent and we will be back.”
Restaurant 62 is located at 2001 McCallum Rd, in the Gateway. Its’ hours of operation are: Lunch – Monday – Friday 11:30am; Dinner – Monday – Sunday 5:00pm.