Restaurant Review: Canvas Coffee and Wine

>> Thursday, November 22, 2012

Does anybody remember the old days of Electric Avenue? I was still a wee little thing back then and have only heard of stories and when I got to be old enough to experience said ‘Electric Avenue’, somebody turned the lights off. For years 11th Ave sat quiet, but within the last couple years, the avenue has started to liven up again thanks to many great eateries opening up along its infamous sidewalks. Although it no longer boasts the boisterous bars, I believe it’s a turn for the better with great restaurants that I couldn’t wait to check out, like Canvas.

Atmosphere: An intimate space designed with art in mind. True to its name, dining in the restaurant is like stepping in to an artist’s gallery.

Price Range: $10s – $20s

Food and Wine: The best thing about eating with all my girls (aside from the great times and interesting convos that is), we all enjoy trying everything, which usually calls for a full menu experience. This time was no different, after perusing the dishes we figured that we can attempt to sample them all (aside from the soup and burger, just doesn’t work no matter how you try). If you’re only looking for smaller bites, Canvas has a good selection of appetizers. There’s even a special if you order three of them! It might be hard to choose though, I’m glad we didn’t have to.

Following the layout of the menu our first was the Roasted Mushrooms which was sautéed with white wine, lots of fresh garlic and shallots. It was creamy and perfect over toast. The Barley Croquettes were a favorite amongst everybody at the table, served 3 to an order. They were made with a combination of short ribs, mascarpone and barley topped with tomato sauce and grana padano. The croquettes were crunchy without being oily and the texture was reminiscent of eating arrancini. It was nice mixing it up a bit with the lighter Spaghetti Squash served with crispy fried chick peas, and salty speck (Italian smoked ham), a good appetizer for those that are looking for something healthier.

Another favorite amongst the group was the White Bean Puree, with only a slight hint of chevre (goat cheese). It was a perfect spread for toast where the sweetness of the mint honey really added a nice aspect to the dip. When the Beet Chips first arrived we were all drawn to all the shrimp interspersed through the plate since we were literally expecting a plate of deep fried beets. The beet chips were crispy and the shrimp were sweet, a nice build on flavours especially with the pickled ginger and slightly bitter radicchio.

The Short Rib dish was composed of pulled short rib with a mixture of red pepper and bacon jam, topped with garlic, wild mushrooms and arugula. The meat itself was nicely flavoured but I liked it better when combined with the roasted mushroom appie. The Braised Leeks were quite unique since I’m used to eating leeks as part of an entrée and not as a stand alone appetizer. They were wrapped with speck and topped with cambozola cheese, olive oil and pecans for the textural contrast. The leeks were extremely supple but could be a bit overwhelming. I recommend combining them with other appies as not to overwhelm your palate. You can even try it on some baguette.

The entrees were perfect for sharing especially the Artisan Greens with a mix of sweet raisins, cucumber, tomato, walnuts and radicchio all topped with grana padano and their herb vinaigrette. It was extremely refreshing and a great accompaniment to any meal. Another great sharing dish was the Bowties - little bowtie pastas cooked in white wine with shallots, tomatoes, herbs and pine nuts and drizzled with olive oil. Don’t expect to eat this all by yourself, it’s quite a large portion, even though the pasta is cooked perfectly al dente, there is a lot of it! Plus then you’d be missing other great entrees like the Chicken. It’s rare that I order chicken at a restaurant because I tend to associate it with being dry, but not this time. The meat was juicy and tender, very flavourful and I really enjoyed the buttery barley risotto as well, perfect with the creamy tarragon sauce.

Just as tender and succulent was the Hanger Steak, I couldn’t stop nibbling at it all night. It also came with amazingly spectacular housemade onion rings. They’d be great as an appetizer in themselves! If you’re looking for lighter fare, I recommend the Steelhead Trout. It’s served over a tomato and scallion broth with quinoa, spinach and a tangy almond lemon pesto.

Canvas makes it easy to choose dessert. You have the option of either the Chocolate or Citrus Platters. They’re the perfect size for sharing, but if you only want to sample one of two, they also sell them separately. The chocolate platter consisted of:
Praline chocolate mousse – decadent with a slight nutty flavour
Pecan caramel tart – lots of creamy caramel of a light shortbread crust
Espresso pot de crème – smooth and infused with espresso and chocolate yet very light

We enjoyed the platter so much we decided to order it again!

The Citrus Platter was composed of:
Passion fruit mousse with olive oil herb sponge – you can really taste the olive oil in the sponge and the passionfruit was tangy and sweet
Lemon tart – a crunchy French macaron with citrusy lemon curd filling
Grand marnier Madeline – a light mousse infused with grand marnier and citrus flavour French madelines (small cakes)

Our libation of choice that night was the Boedecker Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley. It can easily be a simple drinking wine or you can pair it with lighter fare. It was great for the meal we had that evening because we were bouncing back and forth between so many different dishes. Not overly tannic, slightly earthy with hints of pomegranate and a soft finish.

My Picks: Barley Croquettes, White Bean Dip, Chicken Entrée, Hanger Steak

Overall: While enjoying the lovely entrees prepared by the chef you can also feast your eyes on the abstract art displayed throughout the dining room. Although I never got a chance to experience the infamous Electric Ave at its prime, I feel the avenue has really found its place again, especially with eclectic eateries such as Canvas.

Canvas Coffee and Wine
602 11 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 353-1299

Canvas Coffee and Wine on Urbanspoon


Liando sen December 4, 2012 at 8:29 AM  

This is an interesting sites. I like the way you have described the detail information about your food. It is really admirable and understandable for all.

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Angelica March 11, 2013 at 4:15 AM  

the best thing about good food is how well you decore it. and the ambiance where you are going to present it Dhow cruise Dubai

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