Had dinner at Redwater Rustic Grille (Bow Valley), a restaurant with a warm, sophisticated atmosphere and a menu with wide appeal. The restaurant is part of the Vintage Group (owners of Rush, Vintage Chophouse & Tavern, Bookers BBQ Grill & Crab Shack), a chain that has a proven formula: a sleek ambiance, solid menu and diverse wine selection.
Redwater Rustic Grille is a take on West Coast cuisine with regional ingredients. For a starter we ordered the Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with pickled beets, avocado relish and cilantro cream ($15). It was delicious even though the tuna was overpowered by the avocado relish. It was also pricey for the size. It only came with five won ton crisps to boot. Would it have killed them to add an extra won ton crisp to make an even number? I’m sure the tuna-to-crisp ratio would have remained intact. We had three people at the table, so we each had one and then had to awkwardly split the last two crisps. We could have asked for extra crisps, but we shouldn’t have to. Plus, I was too hungry to wait for our server to return.
I had the feature, wild salmon with tomato salsa on a bed of cream corn and roasted potatoes ($29). The salmon was perfectly cooked with a crispy outside and tender inside; the corn was sweet and fresh; the roasted potatoes were a disappointment. The potatoes were mature (new or baby potatoes would have been better) and the texture too sticky. I have no photo of the salmon (it was likely operator-error). Sorry!
Jason tried the B.C mushroom risotto (chives, truffle oil and grana padano) ($16). It was the right amount of savoury mushroom flavour with a rich, creamy texture. Two thumbs up!
Betty had the chicken pappardelle with rotisserie chicken, bacon, spinach, B.C. forest mushrooms, parmesan cream ($17). This dish is full of various textures and flavours that made it rich and hearty. The portion size was just right.
For a weekday night the place was reasonably busy, especially for downtown Calgary which usually looks like tumbleweeds with melancholic western music and ghostly wind. The setting is all stone, glass, cushy micro-suede chairs and raised booths which make for a nice first impression. The wine room with floor-to-ceiling glass and hundreds of bottles is gorgeous (will admit now that I don’t know the official name for this special room). Overall our server was professional but neither charismatic nor too attentive.
But we all know that I came for the food.
What my stomach says: The food was better than I expect for a chain. I was satisfied but not too full after my wild salmon entree, which can be attributed to the fact that I’m a bottomless pit and fish is never filling enough. The risotto blew my boyfriend away so bonus points for that. This restaurant is perfect for those people who are not overly adventurous with their palate–more people out there than I’d like to acknowledge–but willing to try a restaurant that is not Earl’s or Moxie’s. Value is fantastic if you order the pasta. The food is fresh and well-balanced. I’d go back there to try the chicken, meat and other seafood dishes on their extensive menu.
Redwater Rustic Grille, Bow Valley location, 181 6 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB, (403) 265-3837, redwatergrille.com
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