>> Tuesday, June 14, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I met a girl that followed an extremely strict raw vegan diet. I was flabbergasted since I have no idea what I would be able to eat if I was to follow such a diet. This led me to google what the actual requirements were in order to follow this diet in the first place. Essentially you have to eat everything as close to its natural form as possible, which would be a ‘raw’ part of the term. Nothing cooked, all natural. Next would be the ‘vegan’ part and with so many celebrities following the vegan diet it wasn’t as foreign. Basically nothing animal related. I seriously admire the willpower of those that can follow such a strict diet and make it work for them. However, I myself am a true Albertan through and through when it comes to it. Nothing can beat a perfectly done steak in my opinion. So to those who are on a special diet, I can truly appreciate it and salute you. As for me, I continue forging ahead with all the great steakhouses in Calgary, which brought me to Vintage Chophouse. To each their own right?
Atmosphere: Elegant and classic, catering well to the business crowd but versatile enough for the romantic couple.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $40+
Food and Wine: After perusing the menu, it was very tough to decide on what we would like to try since everything looked amazing. Finally we opted to each choose a starter and went with the Escargot, Beef Tartare and Oysters.
The kitchen was very good at having all our appetizers arrive at the same time. The buttery escargots were served in a creamy white wine sauce over crispy foccacia croutons. It was nice and garlicky and the texture of the croutons was a nice contrast. The sauce was very rich, so it worked for us since we were sharing the dish. The beef tartare consisted of tenderloin, a fried egg and truffle vinaigrette. It was served with 5 pieces of fried rye crostinis. The rye texture was very reminiscent of French fries and went well with the creamy beef tartare. Last but not least, we had the oysters, which are seasonal. They were served with a nice black pepper mignonette, we asked for some tobasco sauce as well (you can never eat oysters without it).
It was hard to pass up ordering the 34 oz Bone-in Rib Chop, so we didn’t and decided to order it. The rib chop was served on a platter family style with a variety of different sauces including the Vintage Steak Sauce, Creamy Peppercorn, Bearnaise and Chimichurri. We all voted to like the creamy peppercorn the best. It also came with a choice of two sides. We ended up with the Roasted Beets and the Broccolini. The beets were very sweet and flavourful; it was a nice change from our meat heavy meal. The sautéed broccolini had a nice buttery taste as well. Overall the steak itself was very tender and juicy. It was presented with a perfect seared crust while still remaining rare inside, which is how I normally enjoy my steaks, especially if when it’s a nice cut of beef. It was definitely a lot of steak even though the bone was still attached, 34 oz is no joke!
We finally decided to pack in the leftovers and move instead to dessert (no matter how full, you have to have dessert). Especially when we noticed the Chocolate Souffle on the menu, we also decided to add the Apple and Pear Pie as well. The soufflé came a la mode with vanilla ice cream, how they should all be served and fluffy Chantilly cream, which wasn’t overly sweet and a nice compliment. The pie was paired with an amaretto ice cream and caramel sauce. I really enjoy amaretto and the almond notes went well with the pear. However I think the soufflé was the clear winner that eveing.
The wine that night was a bottle of the Poggerino Chianti Classico 2007. Like other chiantis it had medium acidity and tannins. The fruit notes paired well with the meat heavy meal. Vintage has been given the “best of excellence” award for the last 6 years and you can be confident that they’ll have a good bottle of wine located in their vast cellar. The wine list itself reads like a novel with a table of contents, if you’re lost, feel free to consult with their in-house sommelier for any recommendations they may have for your meal and preferences.
My Picks: Bone-in Rib Chop
Overall: As appetizers go, everything we tried at Vintage was delicious. There have been dishes that I’ve had elsewhere that was equally as good, but the escargot and tartare can definitely stand up on their own. The rib chop was also done very well and the portion was an extremely decent size (can probably feed two grown men). You definitely can’t leave Vintage without ordering what they’re best known for, that is their steaks and I’m sure you won’t leave disappointed.
Vintage Chophouse & Tavern
320 11 Avenue SW