>> Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Cold weather always make me crave good wholesome food and since Calgary is cold 10 months out of the year…makes sense why I’m always craving food. However, it’s not always that I find a great place with great food. So when I recently got invited to the grand reopening at one of these amazing restaurants I couldn’t wait to attend, but I was crushed to find out that I was out of town during that time. Therefore when I got back I couldn’t wait to mosey my way over to this great newly renovated space to satiate not only my appetite but also my visual senses.
Atmosphere: An elegant upstairs dining area, refurbished to focus on the restaurant’s unique rustic brick surroundings. Great cozy place for a romantic evening out. If you’re looking for something more casual, check out the Oyster Bar below.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $40+
Food and Wine: We had the opportunity to try both the upstairs dining area and the downstairs oyster bar. I definitely noticed the difference in atmosphere but the food was equally delicious.
When were seated upstairs our waitress quickly took our orders and brought out some of their great house made bread. It was delicious and had a caramelized onion flavour (we had to ask for seconds). It wasn’t long before our appetizer arrived, which was the BC Seafood Terrine served with Pumpernickel Toast. The terrine has big chunks of seafood complemented by the creamy crème fraiche and ikura caviar (roe). The roe was very much needed because it provided that bit of saltiness which was required by the terrine. We needed quite a bit more bread to finish off the terrine and the waitress was happy to bring us more.
Our waitress suggested that we try the “Naked Lobster” as an entrée and how could we not with a name like that. It came with honey and dill glazed root vegetables and wilted spinach. This dish was made with lots of buttery goodness. The vegetables and the spinach were all bathed in the aforementioned butter, but it wasn’t overwhelming. Since the lobster was literally naked (with no shell, no sauce or seasoning) the sauce on the vegetables was required and complimented the lobster very well. The lobster itself was perfectly poached and since the shell was removed, it took away all the nuisances of eating a lobster.
The second entrée dish we tried was the Qualicum Beach Scallops and Alberta Veal Cheeks served over top a cauliflower and truffle emulsion, sautéed wild BC mushrooms and gremolata. The braised veal cheeks were so tender that I didn’t even need a knife to cut through it, due to the hours of braising. Every bite was to be savoured and I wished we had more at the end even though the dish came with three good sized portions. The scallops were just as succulent. Each had a perfect sear and cooked wonderfully. Eating them with the truffle emulsion and mushrooms made for a perfect blending of flavours.
At this point we wanted to order dessert but the evening was still young. So we decided that it would be a good idea to grab a few drinks before ending the night off. Since the oyster bar was right downstairs we headed that way for the remainder of the night. However after glancing at the menu downstairs we noticed that the Moule Frites were on special that evening…how could we not order them? There’s always more room for seafood. The mussels were cooked in a classic Provencal style with white wine, garlic, shallots and tomatoes served with a side of crispy fries and aioli dipping sauce. The mussles were cooked just right and the sauce was divine. We asked for some bread (mmm more onion bread) to dip in to it as well. We could have dipped the fries, I guess that’s why they serve them together, but they were so crispy that it would have been a sin to make them soggy by dipping them in to the broth. Instead I suggest sticking with the fries and aioli with mussels, broth and breading combo.
To end off the evening we finally ordered our dessert, which they allowed us to do so from both the Catch menu and the Oyster Bar menu. After such an amazing meal we couldn’t wait to try the dessert. We decided on the Pumpkin Pie Crème Brulee with biscotti (which was a bit tough to bite through more so then the usual biscotti). The crème brulee did indeed taste just like pumpkin pie with a nice crunchy bruleed top. Our second dessert was the Toffee Coffee Cake with Berry Ice cream. When I dug in the cake was dry and crumbly, which wasn’t what I expected for a toffee cake. However the waitress noticed that we were a bit disappointed and offered to bring us a dessert to replace it. So we had the Brownie with ice cream from the Oyster Bar menu. Unfortunately this was no different, the brownie was dry and hard. I couldn’t even get my spoon in to the brownie, which was shocking. The berry ice cream was good though.
Later the waitress apologetically told us that their desserts weren’t actually made in house but catered by the Hyatt, which was really too bad since the meal was so phenomenal we really couldn’t wait to end the meal on a high note and dessert, which was the last thing we ate, was not.
Our wine for the evening was a bottle of the Tolaini Al Passo Sangiovese Merlot, which took me a while to decide on since Catch now offers their wine selections on an ipad and it was quite the selection indeed. Catch has always been known for their extensive wine list, but with this new ipad format, you really need to know which region or wine varietal you’re looking for instead of perusing through the whole list…which would take quite some time. The sangiovese merlot blend had nice cherry and earthy flavours with a nice tannic and long finish. It complimented the veal cheeks well but I found I had to put it aside when enjoying most of the seafood.
My Picks: Qualicum Beach Scallops and Alberta Veal Cheeks, Moule Frites
Overall: Catch didn’t disappoint visually or in the taste department. My dining companions and I still talk about the dinner to this day (although we do leave out the sad dessert ending). I can’t wait to go back and try more of Catch’s new menu (and the Oyster Bar) and lucky for me…there’s still another 8 months of cold weather to keep me craving for more!
Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar
100 8 Avenue SE