Dineout 2012: Coza! Tuscan Grill

Round 2 of Dine Out Vancouver 2012!

Alice wanted to pick something that’s not in Vancouver, and so we decided to go to Langley since we never head out that way! The choices were somewhat limited and we chose Coza! Tuscan Grill.


The overall feel of the restaurant reminded me of Olive Garden, which according to my GPS was across the street. It was very noisy inside and even though there were only three of us, the two sitting on the ends (we were seated at a U-shaped table) had a hard time hearing each other. There were a lot of people at the restaurant, with many people still waiting at the front to get a seat. (Good sign? Maybe…. maybe not?)

Their complimentary bread comes with olive oil and a reduced balsamic vinegar. It was good because the balsamic reduction is much more sweeter. Otherwise, nothing too special. There was also a bottomless Caesar salad, but it was too soaked in dressing. The croutons also tasted very salty. There was a server who came by fairly promptly to grate some Parmesan cheese onto the salad, which was nice, but the salad itself was quite drenched with dressing.

APPETIZERS

Antipasto Platter Basil wrapped goat cheese, olives, provolone, Tuscan ham, Genoa salami, roasted peppers, bocconcini, artichokes and grilled asparagus.

Lilo: Strangely the version we got didn’t have the basil wrapped goat cheese or the boccocini, but we didn’t even bother asking because our server was not very attentive. Everything on this dish can be store bought, so I really didn’t see the point (hey I don’t need to pay $5 just to have someone assemble it)

Alice: Nope, we got the boccocini but there were only two slices, I think me and huneybear grabbed it before Lilo saw it. I did not see any basil wrapped goat cheese however. I also wasn’t too impressed as I’ve had better antipasto platters at other establishments.

huneybear: I liked this platter but considering this was from a restaurant, I agree that it wasn’t really worth it. Specially that they missed the first item metioned in the dish.

Grilled Calamari Fire-grilled with roma tomatoes, roasted peppers and olives. Served with lemon aioli.

Lilo: Not sure why they had to use the word calamari, squid will be efficient (also huneybear was confused by the name, she thought it would be deep-fried!). The plate only have 4 pieces of squid including the tentacles.

Alice: For your information, calamari is the Italian word for squid, and Coza! which is marketed as an Italian restaurant, having calamari as the name is pretty good I say. I liked the flavour of this dish because of the roasted tomato, pepper and garlic that came with it but it was very small compared to the other two appetizers.

huneybear: My main complaint about this dish was the lemon aioli. It didn’t taste anything like lemon to me and tasted more like garlic. Also the consistency was very heavy, more mayonnaise than aioli. If I ignored what there were trying market it as, I would have enjoyed the sauce more. And yes, the squid did confuse me .

Fondutta Alla Coza! Served bubbling hot from the Forno with roma tomatoes, mild goat cheese and black olive tapenade with toasted flatbread.

Alice: This is supposed to be a house specialty, but I wasn’t too impressed. The goat cheese was mild, which to me is a good thing because I’m not to used to the flavour and so sometimes feel like it is too overwhelming. It was hot, but not bubbling hot because the tomatoes were still a bit cold. Everything mixed together and spread onto the flatbread was great, however, it wasn’t all that impressive.

huneybear: I loved the flat bread! I think I ate most of it (I ate it with the lemon aoli from the other dish).The fondue though was the like the worst of three worlds for me. I don’t like goat cheese. I don’t like tomatoes and I definitely don’t like olives so I might not be the best judge for fondue part of the dish.

Lilo: Same thing here. The goat cheese fondue with the grated olive on top was ok but definitely not something I would get again. The flatbread was very nice but a tad on the oily side.

MAIN DISHES

Chicken Reggiano A boneless chicken breast baked in a parmigiano-reggiano crumb crust, smothered in pomodoro sauce and melted fresh mozzarella.

Alice: Mmmmm…. The chicken was good, but not my favourite. The crust was nice and crispy and the pomodoro (tomato) sauce was good with the chicken.

Lilo: I was quite impressed by the chicken actually. The chicken itself was nice and moist, and the breading was nice and crispy with a hint of herbs in it. Then again, anything deep fried with cheese gains a point in my books.

Pork Chop Milanese Thinly pounded bone-in chop, marinated and sauteed with a parmigiano-reggiano crust and topped with lemon aioli.

Alice: I think the pork chop was really good. They say thinly pounded, but it wasn’t! It was HUGE! Very juicy as well. I didn’t get to try it much with the lemon aioli and so I think it was good by itself.

Lilo: I enjoyed the porkchop so much! The proportion was humongous especially when I chose to have mashed potato with it! The pork itself was cooked just right and it was nowhere near “thin” :). The parmigiano-reggiano crust lived true to its name and the lemon aioli provided the right balance to it. I love the bone-in part because I think the bone makes the meat tastier!

Spaghetti Alla Fra’Diavolo Lemon-olive oil chicken tossed with spicy chilies, black beans, roasted tomatoes and lots of garlic.

Alice: I actually really enjoyed my main, I used it for my lunch the next day because it was so huge! I really like lemon in my food and prefer oil-based pasta sauces, so I really enjoyed this. The garlic was a nice touch because it provided a nice kick. The spicy chilies were not very prominent in the dish and so the dish wasn’t spicy at all.

Lilo: To be honest  remembered very little about this dish… because my attention was fixated on the giant piece of pork in front of me. From what I remembered was that the spaghetti tasted fresh and cooked to perfection. Although I thought it was a little bland? But then again I usually prefer cream sauce pasta so that may be just a personal opinion!

huneybear: I’m just going to do an overall review of all the entrees since I didn’t enjoy any of them contrary to Lilo and Alice. I thought they were all too salty. I didn’t mention it to Lilo and Alice at the time because I didn’t want to affect their reviews. The only saving grace was the spaghetti side of my chicken reggiano dish. It was the only one I actually liked because it didn’t taste that salty to me.

DESSERTS

Tiramisu An Italian classic with a Coza! twist – drizzled with amaretto cream

Alice: I didn’t taste the amaretto cream… did anyone else taste it? I found the cream portion of the tiramisu kind of grainy. There wasn’t much coffee flavour in the ladyfingers, some of which were pretty dry. I think the chocolate decoration on top is a Lindt chocolate and the saving grace of this dessert was the sliver of strawberry. I didn’t enjoy this dessert so much as I think I can make a better one using David Rocco’s recipe found on the FoodTV website.

Lilo: I was thoroughly disappointed with the tiramisu, even though I am a big dessert person (usually any dessert makes me happy). I could barely taste the cheese, there was way too much whipped cream and for some weird reason I find it to be very dry. The ladyfingers, like Alice mention, did not have the usually coffee “kick” to it. As to the amaretto…. what amaretto?

huneybear: Disappointed! I think this was the worst tiramisu I’ve ever had. It was too whipped-creamy. Blech! It felt fatty to my tongue. I could make a better one at home and I’ve never even made one before.

OVERALL

Lilo: The entries was excellent, but with the average appetizers and the disappointing dessert, I probably wouldn’t make the far drive again. Oh ya, and the poor service.

huneybear: Choosing Olive Garden across the street next time.

Alice: The service was horrible. Our server did not come by often enough nor was she friendly. The guy who comes by with the Parmesan cheese took his time when the main courses came out. My water was empty for more than half of the dinner and huneybear, who usually drinks a lot of water when we eat out only had one glass. The place was pretty noisy too since I couldn’t hear anything Lilo was saying.

Coza! Tuscan Grill on Urbanspoon

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