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Nov 2, 2005 04:49 PM

The Tribune: Calgary - anyone been yet?

  • b

When I was last in Calgary a few weeks ago I would not have believed that this spot on Stephen Ave. across from Divino would now be open. It was all hard hats and construction barriers.

However, I understand that it is. Anyone tried it out? First impressions? Duck press? Wine room?

I may be in Calgary in the next few weeks and would appreciate any comments.

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  1. It LOOKS beautiful, but I was so offended that the entire top floor is a SMOKING lounge that I refused to eat there. Dining room is downtstairs, is smoke free, but I am so damned sick of this- why do Murrieta's, the Belvedere, Tribune, Vintage and Saltlik ALL have to have smoking areas???

    8 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Thanks John.

      Funny about the smoking issue which I never really paid much attention to. I am a non-smoker but until recently most of the spots I went to were smoking.

      However, now Edmonton has banned smoking. Similarly, Victoria where we just spent some time is almost the same.

      We dropped into the Irish Times, a Guiness Pub like the James Joyce, earlier in the summer on another visit to Victoria and it was just packed. A band from New Brunswick was playing. The air was clear, no smoke...great time.

      No hacking or coughing and the Murphy's pints were delicious.

      1. re: John Manzo

        There last night. Had a lovely escabeche and beef tartare ... fantastic.

        And no smokeheads.

        1. re: Miles

          Do you mean the ENTIRE space? the lounge was smoking.

          1. re: John Manzo

            I got the answer to my own question- checked it out today as I was at Winners to buy socks (sorry if I sound like Abe Simpson with that "back story")...

            100% smoke free!! And I took a look at the menu- wow- this place has ambience like mad, and a classic menu... chateaubriand for 2, the whole 1950s upscale supper club enchilada!

            We're going on Thursday night!

            1. re: John Manzo

              How was it? I would like to take some friends out for a thank you dinner (bit of an occasion) We've enjoyed Divino, Bonterra, Escoba with this couple in the past....

        2. re: John Manzo
          Jeff Jamieson

          The Saltlik is 100% smoke free, has been for about two years.

          1. re: John Manzo

            Just a quick note. The Tribune no longer has smoking in their lounge. They stopped after 2 weeks of opening due to the exact fact that you have mentioned. It also really put a damper on their food and wine philosophy. You should poke your head in now.

            1. re: geb

              Oh, I know, have eaten there once- did not find it that great, wonderful service but food was generally rather bland. And very, very expensive.

          2. it's no longer smoking upstairs if that makes everyone happy.

            the portions are quite big. i went with a party of 12. most people were happy with their food. i had the pot au feu which is very filling. wished they seasoned it a little more, that's all. duck press is quite impressive. there're 2 courses-one of the breast roasted and the other of the legs cooked to a crisp. the breast was a little too chewy and fat not rendered enough but otherwise was tasty. you get to sign a book too after you've consumed the bird. :)
            venison was also apparently very well done. and i heard the risotto is made every half an hour.
            the restaurant is quite classy (no traces of BEn Venuto's haunting the establishment) and our server was very knowledgeble.
            also, don't think the servers actually do any tableside service. meats seemed to be carved on the line and servers plate it.
            give it a try. it's nice to see that there's a place in calgary that serves organ meats and old world food.

            1. I realize that this particular post to which I am responding was from some time ago, but I wanted to comment on my experience today at Tribune (for lunch).

              My prior visits (which were numerous and encompassed lunch, dinner, and late night drinks) were spectacular. The food was very good (although not the best I've had in the city), and the service made the visits stand out. The service was extremely attentive, quick, and personal - without being overbearing.

              My experience today at lunch was probably some of the worst service (at a higher end restaurant) that I've had in a long time. We waited at least 20 minutes just to place our order (even though it was patent that we were ready to order shortly after we arrived) - and it wasn't even our waiter who finally took it - I think it was the manager who we had to flag down.

              Our food - which consisted of salads, steak tartar, and rare burgers (clearly short bill times) took another 45 minutes to arrive. The burgers were good (I'm told), but the mixed green salads had various pieces of old soft wilting (even rotting) lettuce (one of my biggest pet peeves). Further, when one of the people at my table pointed out to the waiter that her salad was missing the beets (as described on the menu) the waiter rudely pointed out that because she had asked to add scallops to her salad (which she had asked to be cooked fully since she was pregnant, but were rare) she didn't get the beets. He reluctantly brought the beets only upon her request.

              When it came time to get the bill and pay we waited another 20 minutes. All in all it was a two hour business lunch (which, in my opinion, was way too long). And while I didn't expect a "fast food" experience, I did expect efficient service - we were clearly in a business lunch - and considerate service - for example, all the waiter had to do when the beet "incident" arose was say "I'll get you some beets."

              All things considered, I will still go back to Tribune because I would like to consider this experience an anomoly, but I will say that I was terribly disappointed considering my nothing but positive experiences in the past.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jigga

                We visited Tribune earlier this week for dinner and experienced the same lengthy unexplained service delays. All in, I think it took nearly three hours to be waited on and served wine, a salad, and the main course. After having had great steaks at both Saltlik and the Metropolitan Grill this same week I have to report that I was very disappointed with the offering from Tribune.

                If memory serves, I ordered a New York Strip medium rare. Tribune's presentation (as they called it) of this steak was a piece of meat cut into five different horizontal pieces. I guess that might have been OK, except that the meat was tough and contained enough "stringy" style fat that I begin to wonder what cut of meat I had been served. I tried to eat it, but couldn't. Tribune took the steak off the bill no problem, but @ $39.50 just for the steak, I expected a premium cut of meat. To top if all off, I ordered a draft Stella that must have come from the end of the keg as it was close to flat. I doubt I'll go back to Tribune.

                1. re: Razz

                  Sounds like my experiences with tribune. Three consecutively worse experiences in a row and I have not been back since. I hear so much good but I have yet to see it for myself. Cool lounge upstairs though.

              2. I went to the Tribune for lunch today and had a really good experience; there weren't really any service delays, although it took a while to have someone greet us when we entered (which I found kind of strange) and also a little while to have our dessert (the Tarte Tatin for Two, which is big enough for four people, really) prepared. My friend ordered the roasted lamb sandwich, which came with a side of a salad containing julienned beets and rutabagas. I didn't have a chance to taste, but she seemed to enjoy it. I ordered the Taglierini Capesante, which is a pasta with asparagus pesto, toasted pine nuts and sea scallops. I thought the pasta was cooked very well, although the pesto itself was really nothing to rave about (the flavours were kind of muted) but they were fairly generous with the sea scallops (three in an appetizer portion) and overall it was good.

                1. I went to Tribune again just before christmas for my birthday dinner and it was fabulous as usual. We had a reservation but since it was quieter than a usual Saturday night, they gave us a better table that was available. The service was very professional as expected at Tribune.

                  I had the Gnocchi con Collo d’Agnello (braised lamb neck ragu) - I had a tasting of this at one of ureview's wine tastings and was thinking, just a few days before we went for dinner, "where did I eat that melt in your mouth Gnocchi?" and there is was staring at me from the menu. They are little pillows of goodness and the lamb is delicious! The boy had the Bison Daube, it was delicious as well. The server gave us a great wine selection to go with both as well, it's new to their menu so I can't give you the name, but it was a wonderful Italian selection, I believe it was $58/bottle.
                  The only disappointment was there was no crab waldorf left, I think this is just as well, we were stuffed at the end of the entrees anyway!
                  Tribune remains my favorite in Calgary...