Sunday, March 10, 2013

Big Taste Calgary - Downtown Food

We had such a good time pretending to be pretentious foodies last weekend at Market, that we headed out again for another sampling of The Big Taste Calgary festival, this time trying out the menu offerings at Downtown Food. We'd driven past this venue numerous times, lamenting the closure of the arthouse cinema (The Uptown) next door, but didn't know anything about this great little restaurant hidden in plain sight. Like many eateries that have sprung up recently, Downtown Food features locally sourced ingredients, and serves up many delicious house made items from scratch.

As part of Big Taste Calgary, Downtown Food was offering a 3 course dinner menu ($35) and a 6 course gourmet menu w/ wine pairing ($85). Many of the dishes were tinged with Asian flavours and ingredients, but the cuisine overall was modern and well balanced. Between the two set menu offerings, we shared: a fresh seasonal oyster seasoned with daikon, caviar, and hot sauce; beet (not beef) tartare with shallots, topped with shiso greens, and served atop a swirl of garlic aioli, along with a cumin crisp on the side; cured hamachi with sea asparagus, horseradish and edamame puree, and topped with a bit of roe; house cured duck breast ham with smoked cheddar and black truffle, served atop a thin crostini and honey drizzle; a trio of pork - braised pork shank, pork loin, and crispy pork rind, served with kohlrabi puree, mushrooms, and a bit of siracha; roast miso cured sablefish with French lentils, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, topped with a handful of greens; creme brulee lemon tart with cassis sorbet and a shortcrust pastry chip; triple chocolate mousse topped with Oreo crumble; and finished with a bonus house made marshmallow with shaved coconut. As before, I'm not a proper food critic, so I'll spare you the superlatives and metaphoric comparisons that a food blogger might try to induce your salivary glands with, and instead leave you with some photos. But I will say that the roast miso cured sablefish was undoubtedly the star of the entire evening - perfectly cooked (crispy exterior, moist and flaky interior), with just the right balance of sweet and savoury flavours. I would go back just for this dish alone.

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The presentation of this oyster was a bit overly stark, but the flavour was great, and made up for it. Unfortunately, the oyster was balanced upon a bed of what appeared to be zested daikon and so when I took a rather large forkful and discovered it was in fact, salt, I had to find a way to discreetly purge it before my arteries solidified on the spot.

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By far our favourite dish of the night - roast miso cured sablefish. So good, it gets two photos.
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Alright folks, time to go lose an hour of sleep. MDT-->MST.

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