Restaurant Review: Yellow Door Bistro

>> Friday, March 15, 2013

The Big Taste event held annually in March involving many of Calgary’s downtown restaurants recently came to a close. It has always been a great time for people to enjoy the set menus provided by each restaurant to showcase their specialized dishes or unique fare conjured up for the festival. This year was not different and if anything there were quite a few new restaurants that recently opened in downtown that joined in. One of them being Yellow Door Bistro, an updated space that once was known as the restaurant St.Germain. What better time to try something different and sample multiple dishes.

Atmosphere: A funky dining area with splashes of décor inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The room truly transports you beyond Calgary.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food and Wine: I wanted to take advantage of the Big Taste menu, but there were items on their regular menu that intrigued us so we decided to sample a bit of both. Before our meals arrived we were served an assortment of housemade breads in flavours like carrot fennel and walnut alongside chewy breadsticks. They were unique and different, plus I am a lover of carbs, so no complaints here!

The Big Taste menu started with a light Heirloom Carrot and Fairwind Farms Gouda Cheese Salad. The flavour of the cheese was very slight and provided extra vibrancy to the dish and really highlighted the freshness of the heirloom carrots and beets, especially when contrasted with the orange cardamom dressing.  From their menu we added the Beef Tenderloin Tartare, which came with lightly toasted brioche slices. I found the tartare to be nicely seasoned, not overly tart especially when there is mustard, capers and pickles all in the mix. The dish was nicely presented as well.

I selected the Braised Lamb Shoulder entrée from the Big Taste menu. The lamb was served over top a creamy corn polenta along side baby vegetables and a savoury jus. My favorite part of this dish was the polenta. It was creamy and full of flavour, I can see why the chef decided to pair it with the lamb. The lamb itself was a bit tougher than what I’m used to, especially using the braising cooking method, but it could be due to the sheer volume of dishes that were leaving the kitchen that night.

My husband had the Seafood Linguine of their regular dinner menu, which included mussels, clams, prawns and squid served in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s not your usual Italian pasta, where the linguine is smothered in sauce and seafood. The dish is very lightly sauced with the seafood presented in a careful manner on the pasta. The linguine itself was a bit over how I normally like my pasta, but not overdone or mushy. It was nicely seasoned and I enjoyed that it was a bit spicy, thereby adding another dimension to the dish.

The Valrhona Chocolate Fondant was served for dessert and a perfect ending to the meal. I really enjoyed the Cocoa Nib Ice Cream and wish I had more of it. The fondant cake itself was warm and soft in the centre, almost to the point of a chocolate lava cake. It felt decadent but wasn’t cloying sweet making it nicely balanced.

We had the Natura Carmenere wine to accompany our beef tartare and lamb dishes. It is a bolder, oaky wine with spicy cocoa notes. I recommend decanting it before drinking to allow the wine to really open up. Once it’s had the opportunity to breathe, you’re able to taste more of the berry undertones of the wine. It is a wine that’s meant to be paired with meat or spicy dishes or else it would overwhelm your palate, especially if enjoying lighter fare like fish.

My Picks: Beef Tenderloin Tartare, Valrhona Chocolate Fondant Cake

Overall: At one point in the evening I remember mentioning to my husband that it no longer felt like we were in Calgary because the décor was so unique. I enjoyed the combination of lounge slash sophistication of the room. The food on their regular menu also looking intriguing, there were several other items we would have liked to sample (drawn to the rabbit dish for some reason ;) ), but were just too stuffed at that point. I’m looking forward to going back once they’ve had a chance to really get in their groove, plus it’ll be nice to see the space again when it’s a little less hectic seeing as the Big Taste event is now over.

Yellow Door Bistro
119 12 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 206-9585

Yellow Door Bistro on Urbanspoon


Daniel Jones March 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM  

Indeed! Yellow Door Bistro is one of my favorite restaurant in Calgary. Try some of these delicious dishes for yourself.

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