Restaurant Review: The Living Room Restaurant

>> Monday, July 9, 2012

Every July Calgary goes through the same explosion of tourism during our world famous Calgary Stampede. Every year I get excited. Every year my husband…does not. He would rather leave the city during this time to avoid the crowds and throngs of people wandering around town. However, there are always places that can be an oasis in this crazy time and even though I myself enjoy the crazy atmosphere of it all. I do understand where my husband is coming from and so I often to try to blend the two. There’s nothing better then to be able to watch all the craziness from afar without being in it and a great location to do so would be from the patios on 17th Ave. What’s even better? You can even enjoy some great food and drinks while you’re at it. Here’s one of my favourites…The Living Room Restaurant patio.

Atmosphere: A great patio to watch the goings on of the always energetic and lively 17th Ave crowds. If looking for something a bit more intimate then indoors is a great option as well.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food and Wine: We wanted to start off on the lighter side that evening because we knew it was just the beginning of a long food journey. The Organic Oak Leaf Lettuce Salad was just what we needed. The salad was a mix of pea shoots, sprouts, red onions topped with creamy avocado, grilled halloumi cheese and a sweet sesame soy vinaigrette. It was definitely light and I really enjoyed the fresh mixed greens with the nuttiness of the sesame dressing.

The Fiddleheads were on special that day and we took full advantage. If you’ve never had fiddleheads before, they taste like asparagus with a hint of mushroom and spinach. These ones were sautéed with some truffle oil which really added to the earthiness of the fiddleheads making for a great combination.

At this point I was really looking forward to our main which was the TLR Meat Platter and it’s quite substantial. The platter consisted of Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops with squash ratatouille, Oven Roasted Quail Breasts with grilled vegetables, Bison Sausage, Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes and a 5oz Beef Tenderloin with confit potatoes.

The lamb chops were cooked perfectly medium rare (I wouldn’t want it any other way), remaining tender and juicy. The accompanying ratatouille featured fresh and sweet vegetables that were nicely seasoned. After taking a bite of the beef tenderloin, I was amazed at how succulent the meat was. True to its name it was extremely tender and perfectly grilled.

The bison sausage had a very nice flavour and very lean without being dry, which can often happen to bison sausage because of how little fat bison has. The oven roasted quail breasts were a nice change to the normal chicken - white meat option. I am a huge fan of quail especially the Asian version of it and I believe this was a good rendition of roasted quail, although a bit drier (unlike the rest of the platter), but it was still very flavourful. I liked how crispy the skin was despite it being roasted and not fried.

There were also two accompanying sauces, classic béarnaise and an au jus. I found that each item on the platter was so perfectly marinated and spiced that neither my husband nor I really needed the sauce, but its always there for those that would like a dip of some sort.

It was really hard for me to pick the one thing I liked the most off of the entire platter since everything was so perfectly cooked and seasoned, but if I had to, I’d say it was the smoked Gouda mashed potatoes. I’m not usually a huge mashed potato fan but this version was unbelievable! Creamy and smooth, with just the right amount of smokiness from the cheese yet it did not overwhelm the palate. I couldn’t even really taste much of the cheese but there was just enough that you knew it was present. I could have probably just eaten that all evening. Writing this now makes me want to go back for more!

At this point my husband and I were full beyond imagination, but then I decided to “look” at the dessert menu. Apparently I have yet to learn that there is no such thing as looking at a dessert menu. So we ended up ordering the Banana Three-way dessert. When the dish arrived it was three different variations of banana, one done as French toast, a house made ice cream, and a brulee. My favourite was the creamy banana ice cream, which accompanied the French toast to perfection, which my husband really enjoyed. Not overly sweet and just the perfect combo. The crème brulee was light and velvety. It too wasn’t too sweet and a perfect match to my espresso.

Our wine that evening was the 2007 Toscolo Chianti Classico Riserva 55. A medium bodied red with berry notes and vanilla which pairs very well with meat dishes. Yet it’s light enough to go with bold pasta dishes as well. Not overly tannic, which made it a very nice drinking wine, always a good choice if not sure what to order.

My Picks: TLR Meat Platter

Overall: If the patio is what brings you to the Living Room, I’m sure the food is what’ll make you come back. I know for a fact that I’ll be back again soon to if for nothing else but the great meaty platter, but there are many other options available as well, like their famous fondues. It’s hard to pick and choose what to eat since there are so many great items, but that’s part of the fun at the Living Room, if you’re not too busy checking out the crowds on 17th that is!

The Living Room Restaurant
514 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 228-9830

The Living Room Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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