>> Thursday, January 31, 2013
When I’m out in the mountains I’ve always enjoyed staying and dining at the local CRMR lodges and restaurants. That’s a similar case for Calgary, where I’ve always had great meals at Cilantro and Divino. I was pretty excited to hear that they were opening a sister restaurant with more of a lounge concept in mind. Calgary always needs more lounges since people seem to only have choices of either restaurants or bars. So I was looking forward to checking out the new Bar C lounge down on 17th Ave.
Atmosphere: An open and modern lounge/dining area with contemporary furnishings and a laidback casual ambiance.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food and Wine: I was really intrigued by all the raw food items on the menu (apparently my brain refuses to believe we live in a landlocked area). It’s very rare that you see so many different offerings including carpaccios, tartars, ceviche. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. We started with the Tuna Tartar Poke (poke being a famous Hawaii dish of raw dressed fish). This version featured a soy lime base with toasted sesame seeds topped with bits of seaweed salad and served with wonton crisps. The sauce had an asian influence, paying homage to where the dish originated. I did find that the soy overtook the taste of the tuna a bit and was a little over seasoned. However the concept of the dish was not lost and I appreciated that.
Next up was the Buffalo Tartar, which had bits of capers interspersed throughout with chunks of pickles, served with toasted baguettes slices on the side. This is the tartar for all the pickle lovers out there. Tart and tangy, you can’t miss the brine from the pickles with the added punch of the mustard.
The last of our munchies included the Cured Meat Platter. Unfortunately they were out of the Foie Gras Parfait that evening and the server suggested the Chicken Pate instead and we ordered the Valbella Prosciutto as well. The platter accompaniments included course grainy mustard, sweet pickles and dates with toasted baguettes. The chicken pate had a very interesting texture. It reminded me of a rillette but less fatty and unctuous. Since chicken lacks the gaminess that duck normally provides to a rillette, the pate ended up tasting a bit bland, which was unfortunate. The prosciutto was the opposite, it was flavourful and paired nicely with the accompaniments that came on the platter.
We all really enjoyed the wine that night, which was the 2009 Casa de Mouraz Touriga Nacional Tinta Roriz from Dao, Portugal. Plus, the carafe was absolutely genius! I loved the presentation of the wine in an Erlenmeyer flask (haven’t seen one of those in a long time). The wine itself was fruity and full of plum notes with lots of character but finishes smoothly with lingering firm tannins. A lovely wine for just sipping or pairing with appies and charcuterie.
I liked having all the wine choices laid out so you can pick and choose from each. Unique in that you can choose a certain amount of ounces beyond the regular 2oz, 5oz or 9oz glasses. It really lets you mix and match the different choices or go full throttle with any particular wines you really enjoyed.
340 17 Avenue SW
340 17 Avenue SW