Not actually bold
We like nothing more than to check out new restaurant openings and to try out rare and unusual menu items. There hasn’t been a ton of that lately (thanks, Covid) but fortunately we’re also not afraid to visit (or re-visit) the older places in town.
The Bold Knight is just that. In fact, it might be one of the oldest restaurants in Nanaimo. It’s primarily a steakhouse, but also known for seafood. Having never visited, we grabbed a couple of friends and headed down while their 45th Annual Lobsterfest was on.
Now let’s get something out of the way. The Bold Knight is one of the most dated-looking restaurants we’ve been to. Like, the outside is simply a stucco-clad rectangular box. Inside, we were greeted by dim lights, a retro brown and dark red colour scheme, and a very 1970s décor style, including wood paneling and old-fashioned wall sconces. Trendy this is not. Do not bring a millennial here on a date, unless you are doing it ironically.
We were seated at a large table and after a little too long our drink orders were taken. To its credit The Bold Knight does have a reasonably full bar and wine list, though the beer selection was weak. For fun, our friends ordered a flight of small caesars, which was neat, though the drinks were a bit on the weak side.
Since this was somewhat of a celebration dinner, we ordered an appy with our drinks too – the lobster, spinach, and artichoke dip. This came out piping hot and was ultra-rich. There was a reasonable amount of lobster meat in there, thought not much spinach. We could have used more and better tortilla chips to dip, but c’est la vie. Overall we liked this dish, even though we could basically feel our arteries clogging.
For mains, we ordered
- Seafood Canneloni (we tested) – $29
- Lobster and Oyster Combo (we tested) – $37
- Chicken Pacific (friends tested) – $28
- Steak and Lobster Combo (friends tested) – $59
Dinner took a long time to arrive. In a steakhouse, we’re willing to cut some slack as the food actually takes some time to cook, but is was pushing an hour after ordering before our mains arrived. Our patience was partially ameliorated by the arrival of complementary dinner rolls, appy, and our starter salads, but we still found ourselves checking our watches.
Finally, our piping hot plates of food arrived. After sorting out potato toppings provided by our servers, we could take stock of what we had.
Just like the décor, the meals appeared very grandma and grandpa -ish. Bland. The steak was a sirloin (a less tender cut and not our favourite), the sauces were ultra-rich and thickly applied, and the vegetable sides were brocolli and carrots – something you got with your boiled pork chop when you were a kid. Dull af coleslaw too. Hrm.
We didn’t eat our friends’ meals so we will leave our critique at their comment: “It was fine.”
Our own meals required closer attention though. For her, the baked seafood cannelloni with scallops. For him, the lobster and oyster combo.
The cannelloni was served piping hot. We were happy with the big scallops and the rollups themselves were hearty. The sauce was flavourful and the salt level was just right. While some might say it’s hard to get cannelloni wrong, this was actually quite delicious. Frankly, it better have had been for the price.
The lobster and oyster combo was a bit of a mixed bag. As mentioned, the sides were far from thrilling. The lobster – the main driver of price – was fine, although we thought it was slightly overdone. Points for presentation, though, as it was pleasantly arranged. The baked oysters were quite nice. We had opted for the bacon and brie oysters, and they were served with quite a generous helping of each. Despite being baked to bubbling, the oysters were well cooked and had nice texture and flavour. The brie was a good combo and this was really quite delicious, though like everything else we had at our table, it was quite rich.
With our dinners done, each couple shared a slice of lemon cheesecake, which was generously portioned and tasty. Again, though, no points were scored for creativity or boldness (ironically).
Service at The Bold Knight was fine. The staff were all quite young and we sort of got the sense that no one there was actually in charge. Still, our servers provided courteous service (even if a bit disingenuously) and were attentive.
Now, reading this far you might think we were unhappy with our meal. That’s not true. We are extra critical, though, when a restaurant charges these kind of prices. Our bill, with two drinks, the caesar flight, one appy, four entrees, and two desserts was approximately $270. That’s a lot for four people, even though we were eating seafood and even though we we admittedly stuffed to the gills. There are other places in town that offer a bolder menu, in trendier settings, at lower prices.
The Bold Knight is not a bad place, but it is not what we look for in a restaurant. It charges astronomical prices for what should be gourmet dining, but instead delivers a dated dining experience, and bland menu, though with tasty execution for the most part. But here’s the thing. While were we there, the restaurant was quite busy. There were plenty of folks having a really good time – likely a special treat for them. There were birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties, and so on, and all of them were 60+. The Bold Knight might not have worked for us, but it definitely has a clientele.
We’ll be back… when we have a bit more gray hair.