Celebrating Cilantro's 30th Anniversary!

>> Friday, April 6, 2018

Lately I’ve found that I’ve been heading back to my favorite tried and true restaurants even though there has been so many great new openings in town. Sometimes nothing beats the tried, tested and true, which can definitely be said for Cliantro on 17th Ave. They recently just celebrated their 30th year anniversary with an amazing new revamp of their dining space. I’ve always enjoyed Cilantro for their tasty pizzas and pasta dishes. Luckily for me, I got to join in on their 30th year celebrations and tasted a number of their new dishes along with some favorites.

The evening started with a light reception of canapes featuring their Beef Striploin Meatballs, flavourful CRMR Bison Tartare (for those that don’t know, Cilantro is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts which serve their own farm raised meats) and Forno Baked Pizzas such as the crowd favorite pear and gorgonzola, wild boar sausage, fire roated tomato, elk salami and chicken & pancetta. Cilantro also offers a wide selection of wines and we were lucky enough to sample each course with a different type of wine. Here we were provided with a light Riesling from Wagner Stempel. Not overly too sweet as Rieslings are concerned marked with peach and pear notes with nice hint of acidity.

The guests were all then seated for a lovely 4 course meal starting with appetizers of Forno Roasted Olives, Pork Fried Almonds, Brown Butter Carrots and Parsnips with sumac, almond powder, parmesan, dill and a Charcuterie platter made with a Chef’s selection of three locally sourced cured meats. The charcuterie served is also available at Urban Butcher locations in and around the city. I particularly enjoyed the brown butter carrots and parnsips since it’s rare to see them roasted and served in such a manner. It helped retain their sweetness and the brown butter sauce provided an extra level of complexity. With this course we were served the Testalonga Chenin Blanc Cortez magnum bottle from South Africa. It played quite nicely with all the smoky flavours of the food and had a grapefruit aroma with a good kick of acid.

Our next course featured Cilantro’s different pasta styles and we even got to try a bit of the gluten free pasta, which I thought tasted amazing for gluten free! I couldn’t even tell the difference! We had the Penne Bolognese made with 6hr slow braised beef tenderloin, pancetta, basil, the Elk Gnocchi served with braised CRMR elk rib, tomato ragu, kale, parmesan, salt cured egg yolk and the Lemon Conchigliette with chorizo, scallops, prawns, snap peas, poblano where the peas paired perfectly with the Radikon Ribolla Gialla wine. This was probably my favorite wine of the evening! Its definitely unconventional due to the high amount of solids in the wine which you normally don’t expect. It’s a very complex wine with hints of cloudy pale copper and pinkish hues. It was truly spectacular with the snap peas. I could not stop drinking it! As for the pasta itself, all the dishes were cooked perfectly and the flavours of each dish were unique that it never felt overly heavy or one noted.

For the primi or the main, we were served CRMR Braised Bison Short Rib with a brown cola braise, Kale and Romaine Ceasar with herb crouton, soft poached quail egg, parmigiano Reggiano. The short ribs were so tender and soft that you didn’t need a knife to cut through the meat. The jus wasn’t overly sweet even though it uses a cola braise and the dish goes quite nicely with the kale and romaine Caesar. I’m a huge fan of both the traditional and kale Caesar salads so mixing the two greens together was pure genius. It’s perfect for someone who’s never tried a kale salad before and wanting to venture a bit. We were served a red from Greece, The Birds and Bats Three Years Down, which really surprised me because I remember none of the wines in Greece were all that great. However, this one was a nicely rounded medium bodied wine with hints of cocoa and anise, which it complimented the ribs nicely.

Sadly, my evening had to end a bit early while the rest of the guests were treated to a Cheese Course with lovely house made preserves to wrap up the evening. It was definitely unique since we tend to think of something sweet in the form of dessert. I guess you could say it came in the form of wine which was the Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Riesling. Although this one again was a Riesling, it is definitely in the sweet dessert wine category. With notes of apricot and tropical fruit, it was a great way to end a delicious meal.

As part of their reopening Cilantro is now also offering daily special Tuesday through Friday. Check out their website for more information: cilantrocalgary.com. What a great way to celebrate mid-week if you’re looking for something different or if you’re looking for something special to celebrate just like how Cilantro is celebrating their 30th year!

338 17 Ave SW
(403) 229-1177
Website: cilantrocalgary.com


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