Print Edition: March 11, 2015
Abbotsford has been missing a nice seafood restaurant. Jojo’s and C-Lovers have their time and place, but when you want something classy, Abbotsford doesn’t have anything to offer.
Sure, the seafood salad at Milestones is tasty, but there’s something about a seafood-focused place. The space is dedicated to seafood, the menu items are diverse, and the décor is always interesting.
Bow & Stern fills that niche. On a whim, I went there with a friend on a Friday night and was surprised that they had a waiting list. In Abbotsford, I thought that was only an ABC Country thing. It was a good omen; the diners were a mix of people, young and old. I wrote down my number and in less than 10 minutes, I received a text saying there was a table for two open.
The interior was painted white with nautical and tastefully minimalist décor. Anchors and ship’s wheels made it look like something straight out of Kinfolk magazine.
Though I found the décor kind of cool, the music was quite loud. Bow & Stern isn’t a bar, but the music made me feel like I was in one. Diners raised their voices to talk to each other, making the noise level a bit much.
I was very impressed with the drink menu. I was looking to try a new beer, and as luck would have it, Bow & Stern featured 18 breweries and over 40 beers from those breweries. It took my friend and me quite a while to pick out a beer, and that was a good thing. I tried a chestnut ale from Whistler Brewing, and it was delicious — dark and rich, like a dessert beer.
Bow and Stern’s menu was fairly impressive, though they didn’t have a huge selection of entrées. If you want to eat there with someone who doesn’t eat seafood, there are a couple of chicken and beef entrées (only two of them not being a burger or salad). For vegetarians out there, it’s pretty slim pickings — there is an uninspired black bean burger or salad.
But for those who love seafood, the menu items are tempting. There are hot and cold seafood platters, muscles, prawns, oysters, Dungeness crab, salmon, lobster mac n’ cheese, and your classic fish and chips. The appetizer list is fairly long, including calamari, deep fried Brussels sprouts, and poutine.
Price-wise, Bow & Stern will never be a student hangout. The average entrée is about $14, and some selections — such as the seafood platters — are ominously marked “Market Price.”
After remembering Troy’s experience in Community (“What market are you shopping at!?”) I avoided the seafood platter, and ended up with a classic — cod and chips.
From what I could see from diners’ plates sitting around me, Bow & Stern brings the fancy with their fish. The plates of food weren’t huge, but they were well-arranged.
The service was decent, considering every table was full, and our food came out quickly. The portion of cod was a good size. The batter was crispy, light, melt-in-your mouth, and not too oily. The fish itself was healthy; I hate it when a fish isn’t entirely white. It was delicious. The coleslaw was clearly fresh and very creamy. The chips that accompanied it were kind of a cop-out, though. I know the style for the “chips” part of “fish and chips” is thick-cut, but I wasn’t impressed. There wasn’t enough crisp to it, and I really didn’t feel the need to finish.
All in all, Bow & Stern does good fish and chips. After eating that entrée, I’d be interested in trying some of their more creative and exciting entrées. After such a busy Friday night, I’m hopeful they’ll stay in business. I’ll definitely consider Bow & Stern when I have my next seafood craving.