Written by Nathan Fong

Photography Michel Chicoine

The arrival of Atlas Steak + Fish adds a new element to Burnaby’s hotel restaurant scene. There is no extravagance here, just simple and plentiful fresh ingredients that allow customers to fully enjoy the leisure and comfort of dining.

Gambling is not a hobby of mine but while driving along Highway 1, I always notice the iconic structure of the Grand Villa Casino Hotel. During a recent visit, I was captivated by this spacious three-level casino and its food and beverage outlets. Other than the buffets that seem to be everywhere and the fusion Asian cuisine, this casino recently welcomed restaurant chain Atlas Steak+Fish, which also has outlets in Edmonton and Kamloops.

Atlas Steak+Fish is located on the second-floor entrance, away from the busy casino floor, allowing diners to dine away from the noises and bright lights of the casino. The entrance leads to a private dining room that offers live piano accompaniment. The room under the vaulted roof is lined with tall glass wine cabinets on two sides, highlighting the restaurant’s seriousness and attention to detail when choosing its wines. Side-by-side seats lined against the wall remind one of the classic setup of steakhouses.

The size of the restaurant is surprising — from the open floor plan to a private dining room encased by glass, it can easily handle dinner parties large and small. Imagine a family with its young and old, sitting at the long table for an intimate and heartwarming family dinner. Much attention has also been paid to the restaurant’s décor. From the frosted glass ceiling hang brass lamp holders of different sizes and frosted globe lamps, transporting diners to the ’70s.

Food and Beverage Manager Sylvain Cuerrier and General Manager Richard Goodine are working together to bring a modern flair to this iconic restaurant. Different from celebrity-chef led Las Vegas restaurants that do molecular cuisine and Michelin-star-rated menus, Atlas Steak+Fish brings out the best in its ingredients by going back to the basics. It even uses retro dishes to create classics. The open kitchen is complemented with hanging copper lamps perfectly paired with the Spanish wood-burning grill used for preparing the main dishes.

I am also quite fond of the restaurant’s tableside service. Whether it be the carefully prepared Caesar salad (the embellishment of anchovies is perfect as is the authentic mayonnaise) or the passionately displayed Baked Alaska (baked ice cream meringue: raspberry and coconut milk ice cream with lemon sorbet and Italian meringue), everything is a joy to behold.

Atlas Steak+Fish serves top quality beef, including Alberta Angus Reserve, a 48 ounce Tomahawk steak from the famous Snake Rivers Farm and Nicola Valley’s Double R Ranch farms.

On my visit, I happily wolfed down a large portion of the perfectly seasoned 16-ounce roasted cattle rib paired with simple roasted asparagus. Most memorable of all was the two-person portion seafood grill platter that consisted of lobster tail, Alaskan king crab, Monterey Bay squid, prawns and delicious tempura soft shell crab.

This is a wonderful addition to Burnaby’s hotel restaurant scene: simple and plentiful fresh ingredients that allow diners to enjoy fully the leisure and comfort of dining, whether it’s for casual gatherings, family parties or special meals.