>> Friday, April 15, 2016
Atmosphere: Beautiful redesign of the previous space into both a bright posh restaurant and cozy lounge all in one.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food & Wine: The menu at Klein Harris is divided in to three sections; Tides / Currents for seafood, Roots / Stalk for vegetables and Wild / Farm for all meat dishes. We decided to order a bit from each to get a taste of all the various flavours. To start from Tides / Currents we ordered the Diver Scallops. The scallops were served with farmer’s bacon, braised peppers, napa cabbage and an apple nosh (similar to an apple puree). The dish had notes of both sweet and sour which really lifted the taste of the perfectly seared scallops. It was a nice light way to start off the evening.
From Roots / Stalks we had to try the Mushroom Ravioli, with flavours coming from the mixed wild mushrooms, brown butter leeks, blistered tomatoes, arugula and shaved gouda. The pasta on the raviolis was paper thin which really allowed the earthiness of the mushrooms to come through. I thoroughly enjoyed the brown butter sauce, it wasn’t overpowering and I believe the addition of the leeks with all the greens really helped bring those flavours together.
Next from Wild / Farm were our mains. I ordered the Pork Roast served with creamy whipped potatoes, caramelized apples and leeks, drizzled with a screech reduction and topped with fried sage. I really enjoyed all the flavours of the dish. Apple and pork are a classic combination and found that the chef had a very light hand with seasoning, perfect for those that aren’t looking for a heavy dish.
My husband had his eye on the duck breast which they were unfortunately out of that evening (will have to go back!). So he decided on the Hanger Steak which came with roasted butter potatoes, mushrooms, onions and a thyme garlic sauce. The steak was very lightly seasoned but the sides and the sauce added an extra depth of flavour, loved the use of mushrooms and potatoes here.
To end our evening we ordered the Bread Pudding and Doughnuts for dessert. The bread pudding had a light crunchy exterior and was gooey inside; topped with lots of rum butter sauce it wasn’t overly too sweet. I love an a la mode dessert and ordered a side of vanilla ice cream, which complimented the warm bread pudding. There’s just something about hot and cold that’s just perfection. My husband’s doughnuts looked amazing and I couldn’t help but have a taste (or two). They were soft and fluffy with a light dusting of cinnamon sugar. The best part was that they also came with two dipping sauces: caramel and chocolate. It was fun mixing up the combination of flavours. I highly recommend trying it with a cappuccino or Americano.
It’s hard to visit Klein Harris without sampling some great cocktails made by mixologist Christina Mah. Their version of the Caesar is anything but your typical red hued cocktail. Made with an in house clam and celery broth instead of the typical clamato juice, it provides a nice change to the typical sodium heavy Caesar. Then further topped with tomato, pickled celery and carrots replacing the celery salt rim, it elevates the Caesar to the next level.
My Picks: Diver Scallops, Mushroom Ravioli
Overall: They’ve done a great job of using local ingredients to highlight the different flavours of their dishes. I was very honored to have been invited to sample their menu and can’t wait to be back. Chef Waters mentioned that they’re going to be updating their menu to reflect the various seasons so I’m looking forward to that, plus we still need to try that duck breast!
110 8 Avenue SW
>> Thursday, March 31, 2016
Don’t get me wrong, they don’t only serve vegetables. There are also wonderful seafood and meat options for those looking for something a bit heartier. The Yellow Fin Crudo is definitely a defining dish. Made with fresh yellow fin tuna and topped with chimichurri, sesame and chili oil, the dish was refreshing yet flavourful. The combination of all the various sauces really just lifted the tuna to another level. It’s a must have when you’re at Ten Foot Henry.
Sticking with the seafood theme, we also tried the Grilled Sardines with creamy yogurt, salted cucumbers and dill as well as the Crispy Skin Salmon with chorizo, mushrooms and avocado puree. The sardines had a nice smoky flavour from the grill which also allowed you to eat the most of the little bones within (since they’re served whole). It was a very nice rustic approach to the dish and I’m glad it’s made it on the menu. The yogurt was a surprising combination but the tanginess went well with it. The salmon had amazing crispy skin and I loved the idea of using avocado (going to be stealing this one). It was a very light dish and a good sharing portion.
There’s a great selection of sides to choose from ranging from Spaghetti cacio e pepe (meaning cheese and pepper) to handmade bread dumplings. We opted for my favorite Sidewalk Citizen Sourdough Bread which came with chimichurri for dipping. It was also great to use it to sop up all the delicious sauces which came with our dishes.
When the dessert menu came around, it was so hard to pick! How does one choose between cream puffs, butterscotch pudding and all the other wonders? I guess we had to decide (come back for the others later) and chose their famous Coconut Cake with toasted coconut, coconut milk and milk frosting and the Cherry Stuffed Pampushky. The coconut cake was super moist and not overly too sweet, it would be a great option for those looking for something sweet but yet still feels healthy. The pampushky aka doughnut had a cherry jam filling and dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with an English crème anglaise. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more crème anglaise, but overall it wasn’t overly too sweet either and did go well with the cappuccino.
Ten Foot Henry also has an interesting cocktail list, so we ordered the Cucumber Collins made with gin, lemon, cucumber, celery bitters and topped off with soda. It was quite refreshing. A nice way to start the meal and I could definitely see myself ordering it in the coming summer months. If you’re interested in wine, they also have a great wine selection for either single glasses or bottles to share.
Ten Food Henry
1209 1 Street SW
>> Wednesday, March 23, 2016
All guests will be enjoying a wonderful start to their menu with the Tomato Surprise appetizer. Made with sweet sunset Campari tomatoes, which is always the top award winner for flavour, texture and color. The tomatoes are confit and served with the Chef’s own Nuh Gana sauce comprised of roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, white wine vinegar and olive oil all pureed together. Why is the dish called the tomato surprise? Well the tomatoes are actually hidden beneath a bed of butter lettuce, baby kale and arugula and topped with our own Sidewalk Citizen sourdough spicy croutes. When the guests start eating the salad they’ll actually find the tomatoes within and when they cut in to them, the tomatoes then also serves as part of the sauce for the dish. The dish is accompanied by the Brut Prestige sparkling wine from Napa Valley where the apple and vanilla notes pair perfectly with the tomato.
The main dish for the evening is the Blackened Canadian Rangeland Bison Tenderloin with chimichurri and parmesan crushed fingerling potatoes, grilled lemon and chili oil baby bok choy. This dish was an homage to Alberta’s local ingredients. The bison is marinated in a blackening spice and pan seared until medium rare allowing the meat to retain its delicious flavour while enhanced by the light coating of spices and the tanginess of the chimichurri sauce. It’s perfect with the addition of the charred lemon overtop to provide it that extra bit of zing. Paired with this dish is the Campo Viejo Rioja from Spain, full of cherry, plum and blackberry notes. The grapes are aged for 18 months in oak barrels and maintain a medium body as not to overpower the bison flavour.
>> Thursday, March 17, 2016
Cocktails have been making quite the come back the last couple years and it’s starting to define the type of food restaurants are serving on their menus. One18Empire which specializes in whiskey has really taken that concept and ran with it. A hidden gem located in the Marriott hotel in downtown Calgary, One18Empire not only showcases whiskey on their cocktail menu but throughout both their food and dessert menus as well. I couldn’t wait to dig in.
Atmosphere: Casual sophistication with elegant flare, loved the whiskey feature wall in the dining area which really draws the eye, perfect location for both groups large and small.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+
Food & Wine: I was really glad that there was a big group of us so we can taste quite a few different dishes ranging from appetizers to dessert. To start we ordered the Maple Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with gorgonzola and topped with whiskey syrup. You can never go wrong with anything wrapped in bacon and the sweet and salty combination of dates with bacon is always a winner.
Next up was the Seared Calamari. I really enjoyed this dish. It’s refreshing to see calamari prepared in a different way other than the typical battered and fry method. Here the calamari was served over a light tomato sauce and topped with a fresh fricassee salad and olives. The calamari was soft, not chewy and went very nicely with the different flavour profiles going on in the dish.
One of the favorites of the table that evening were the Weathervane Scallops which were cooked to perfection and accompanied by pork belly and a creamy polenta with grainy mustard glaze. I loved the contrast of pork with scallops and the creamy polenta, perfect texture and taste.
After our amazing appetizers it was really hard to pick and choose our mains. The server mentioned the Daily Feature which was the Ossobuco and we couldn’t resist. The veal shank was falling off the bone. I don’t even think we needed a knife to pull the meat apart. The portion size was also very impressive. Served with a bean casserole and fresh greens, it was quite the formidable meal. Everything on this plate was comfort food brought to the next level. I really hope they decide to bring it back again.
My favorite main that evening was the Braised Short Ribs over a bed of risotto and blistered tomatoes. I have a soft spot for short ribs, especially when they’re braised. It must be the melt in your mouth tenderness or the depth of flavour that the braising creates but I can never get enough of it. Couple this with the creamy risotto and tangy tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a winner. I probably could have eaten the whole dish if I didn’t have to share.
The group really enjoyed the Grilled Duck Breast accompanied by a root vegetable hash. The duck was cooked to medium and had flawless crispy skin with all the fat perfectly rendered. It was definitely a good sized portion and the root vegetable hash was a nice compliment to the duck. A huge hit overall.
Choosing dessert was even harder (since they were all such a great deal!) and ended up ordering one of each and I was extremely glad we did when they came. Starting with the rich and decadent One18 Triple Chocolate Bourbon Cake, which was perfect for sharing. I loved the use of dark chocolate here or else it would have been too sweet otherwise. It was velvety and smooth with just a slight hint of bourbon.
Everybody loved the Goat Cheese Cheesecake, creamy and smooth with a perfect amount of goat cheese flavour coming through. It was definitely unique if you’re looking for something a different. My favorite dessert was the Sticky Toffee Pudding with calvados ice cream. Not too sweet but utterly satisfying, the soft gooey cake was perfect with the creamy smooth ice cream, hot and cold all mixed together. Nothing beats a great sticky toffee pudding in my mind. And last but not least, my cousin got her Guinness Float, which she was craving since seeing the menu online. It was a full sized pint of…you guessed it Guinness! Topped with a nice big scoop of ice cream. This would be perfect for summer on the patio!
When you’re here don’t forget to sample some of their signature cocktail creations made with over 100 different types of whiskey they have on stock or if you’re feeling adventurous let the bartender help you decide.
My Picks: Weathervane Scallops, Braised Short Ribs
Overall: The food at One18Empire just blew me away. The portion sizes were more than generous and the flavours really do speak for themselves. I was really glad that I made it out and can’t wait to go back. I can see why it was named as one of Calgary’s Top 10 new restaurants for 2016! I can see this hidden gem no longer being hidden for long!
820 Centre Street SE