Restaurant Review: Vin Room vs. Wine Bar

The new trend for breakout restaurants in Calgary lately have been to create a chic, laid back atmosphere through the introduction of tapas style menus. I have to admit it's a great place for restuarant goers who are looking for more of a relaxed, cafe like place to catch up with friends or even to enjoy a romantic night out with their favorite person.

Atmosphere: Petite and cozy dining area which creates an intimate setting perfect for those looking for a bit of quiet in busy Mission. They also have an amazing rooftop patio which is not to be missed during the summer.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $20+, different pricing structure for wines (2oz, 5oz, half bottles and full bottles available)

Food & Wine: When you order the Eggplant Chips, don’t expect conventional chips to arrive at your table. Instead, what you get is much more satisfying. Thinly sliced sections of eggplant are coated in crunchy panko breadcrumbs and then covered with pomegranate molasses and served with a mint yogurt dip. Preparing the eggplants this way gives the dish a textural contrast between the crunchy panko exterior with the soft interior.

One of my favorite dishes at Vin Room is the Pan Seared Scallops and the reason for this is the scallops themselves executed to perfection. Cooking a scallop isn’t tough, but cooking it to the exact point of completeness while maintaining a ratio of opaque to crispy outer layer is definitely a challenge. Not to mention the perfect seasoning and accompaniments that comes with the dish. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come with more!

The Lobster Nachos has been on the menu since the very beginning and continues to be a favourite amongst diners because of its ingenuous use of lobster. The nachos are good for sharing, however if you have a big appetite definitely go with the larger order or even get a couple to share. How the lobster elevated poutine, here it does the same to the nachos. The briny flavours meld well with the gooey cheesiness of the dish and I’m a sucker for chips in general.

With all the great food at Vin Room, one often forgets that the food is there to compliment the wine, which often poses great difficultly for me to pick and choose from since there are so many great selections. Luckily for us, there is a 2oz taster offered for most wines allowing those to sample various vintages. For those that know exactly what they are looking for, there is the standard glass (5oz), half bottle (13oz) or full bottle variations as well.

I usually like to start with a couple 2oz tasters and then later order a half or full bottle for the remainder of the evening. My favorite that night was the 2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo from Piedmont Italy. An elegant medium bodied wine with notes of cherry and spice. Its great either as a drinking wine or to accompany food.

My Picks: Pan Seared Scallops, Eggplant Chips

Overall: A great spot for those looking for something a bit different in the city. There’s nothing like trying out multiple combinations of wine and food until you find your favourite(s), ideal for oenophiles trying to find their next go to bottle.

Vin Room Mission
2310 4 Street SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 457-5522

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