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Calgary tasting menus?

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  • HBOO Feb 5, 2007 06:37 AM
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Which restaurants do a tasting menu? Which are worth going to?

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  1. Belvedere and Il Sogno and I believe Capo does as well. I would recommend Belvedere and Capo.

    1. Capo does? Good to hear.

      Teatro does...

      River Cafe does, or did, or it's special request, something like that- their "fish and game" tasting mene was perhaps the best meal I've ever had.

      1. Rouge does, and it's awesome. River Cafe still does i believe John.

        When i talked to Capo back in November, i didn't get the impression that they have a formalized Tasting Menu - just one that you can book ahead (typically at their Chef's Table that has a $800 minimum), but possibly in the resto too at a tbd price, with a tbd number of courses. Does anyone else have any experience with this?

        1. Yen:

          Both when Chef was at Il Sogno and now at Capo it was my impression that there was a multi-course "special" offered nightly that was described by the server if you indicated interest.

          You are right I did not see the 5, 8 or 10 courses in the menu as has become the fashion elsewhere.

          At Il Sogno the multi-course option seemed to be quite popular but there were a lot of tables of 6 or more and we usually ate there on a Friday or Saturday night when it seemed people were out celebrating.

          Our one trip thus far to Capo was for a very early sitting during the summer and the restaurant was just beginning to fill up when were leaving so I did not spy as many interesting creations come out of the kitchen...mind you I go to for Chef's pasta.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Mac

            Bob,

            You're definitely right, they do offer a special - i guess my idea of a "tasting menu" would be a prix fix, set number of courses, option on the menu. My understanding (i've only been to Capo once, so i can't say for sure) is the daily special fluctuates based on what is in the offering - more like a western version of an omakase.

            And yes, his pasta is amazing. I'm considering going for a pasta, pasta, pasta dinner sometime :)

          2. I just went to Blowfish, and tried their omakase (japanese tasting menu) - great deal! $69 for a 5-course meal - and they mentioned to me that if I would call 24 hrs in advance, I could have a lobster omakase next time (something I definitely have planned for the very-near future)

            1 Reply
            1. re: jkl

              JKL,

              When you say 5 courses, what size and type of courses do you mean? Would it be something like Miso/Sunomono/Maki/Sashimi/Donburi, where each course is something substantial?

              The reason im asking is because $69 for omakase sounds like a terrible deal, depending on how they actually implement it. Usually, Omakase comes in many little dishes, where 5 courses really wouldnt be enough. I've had Omakase in some of the best sushi restaurants around, and they usually cost between 50-80 (with the exception of ones in Japan, Masa and Urasawa), but you're typically served between 10 and 30 dishes. Some, like Urasawa, treat each piece of Nigiri as a course, which is how they get to such an inflated number as 29 courses.

              Anyway, im just trying to get a more accurate understanding of what you get for $69. Any info would help, thanks.

            2. Check out Rouge, Q Haute and of course... Capo.

              Rouge is fantastic. Q Haute was good but not nearly as delightful as Capo or Rouge.

              Tara

              1. Yen,

                The courses were as follows:
                1. Salad
                2. Appetizer (I had a choice of tuna tartar or the beef carpaccio)
                3. Sushi& Rolls (I was served a couple of peices of each of the rolls and also had nigiri)

                ***I had a bonus!!! It was a ginger sorbet - which I was told would cleanse my palette to prepare for the entree.

                4. Entree

                5. Dessert

                In the end - it was substantial in my eyes as I walked away happy & full... I actually am planning to go in again this weekend.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jkl

                  Ok - so definitely a variation on the traditional Omakase. I was envisioning the "foam, amuse, small salad, nigiri, ice cream, still starving" menu.

                  Found out a friend of mine knows the owners, so i guess im obligated to go try it out now :) Thanks for the info.

                2. i think in Japaness Omakase mean, "Chef i am in your hand" so it no such thing is how many course, or in a certain sequence of dining. As long as you can eat, and as long as you have request, the chef are happy to customize the menu for you. (just prepare to paid for the big buck though)

                  i remember when i was working in Japan years ago, the boss took me to a restaurant that special in Washoku (one type of Omakasi). Back then i have no idea what that mean, but apparently you need to order a week in advance, so the chef can prepare the freshest food item for you. And it was outstanding, i remember one of the dish was serve on the mini stove. And the container is not a pot or earthern cook ware or some sort. The thing that cooking on top was a folded paper material. (trust me, you have to see this to believe it)

                  Am i full after the dinner, not really. It was more like a art show for the eye, rather than for the tummy. We had about 22 course per person, i believe my boss paid close to 1000 Canadian a head for this meal. ( thank God i didn't paid for it) but i can tell you, this is a wonderful experience.

                  In Western Canada, i think the best Omakasi that you can find is in Tojo's Vancouver (but they not as good as when they in the old spot) IMHO

                  In Calgary i like Zipang, i usually ask the chef to make the Omakasi for me and my girlfriend.
                  the good thing about this arrangement is, they will make something not from the menu at all. But prepare for a BMW (break my wallet).

                  happy hunting
                  tomi

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tomi

                    I understand the japanese definition of Omakase - however, in North America, Omakase seems to have a specific meaning when it refers to dining. There certainly are no sequence, or set of courses. And in some places, requests arent accepted either (Sausabune, Nowzawa in GLA are two examples).

                    All i was trying to do was get a better understanding of what the poster meant. When someone tells me they had Omakase, and it was 5 courses, i had a tough time believing that was what i consider to be Omakase, which is all i was trying to get at. Sounds more like the modern interpretation of Kaiseki (not cha-kaiseki). This was further reinforced when they mentioned they were given a choice of courses (tuna tartare or beef carpaccio), which is not inline with the Omakase experience. You eat what are you given, and you pay for what you eat. However, i've seen fixed menu's advertised as Omakase, so when people say so, im never really sure what they are referring to.

                    I don't have any experience with Omakase in Japan, but in North America, i have always been full - so once again, it's just another way of determining what was offered. The costs definitely vary, but it is a wonderful experience. I would highly encourage anyone who loves food to give it a try once in their life - the high costs are more than offset by the sheer sensuality and richness of the experience. It really is life changing in some ways.

                    Old Tojo was decent, dont like the new location, but i havent really found any Omakase here in Canada that i like. My guess is the demand (or the price point) for true Omakase isnt popular enough to get a collection of interesting, fresh ingredients. There's a great thread over on the LA board where they are discussing whether the idea of a "fixed price" Omakase is still true to the entire idea. Come chime in :)

                  2. hello all,

                    first of all, i think i went a little off topic about the Omakasi. I believe this thread was regarding the tasting menu in calgary.

                    of course, Teatro does a very good job, on the other hand the tasting menu at Teatro actually list it on the paper, so the chef and the guest both know what are they go to make and enjoy.
                    you can also try the Impromptu Chef’s Menu at the Rouge, the unique about this menu is, the guest have no idea what they are going to have. You can tell them what you don't like, any allergy. The rest will be totally done by the culinary team in the kitchen. They both have their pros and cons.

                    Second of all, Yen i am not try to set a battle with you, i am just try to explain my point of being Omakasi menu shouldn't be a set cousre. App, soup, salad, main and dessert, that sound like a Set Dinner A, B or C to me. If i make you feel any uncomfortable, i do appologize.

                    i just want to say, in the next 2-5 years, there might be a chance that a real Japanese restaurant can offer a real Omakasi. Before this thing actually happen, people can try Tojo's or better yet, you can go to Japan and tell us what's the real one is.

                    anyway, happy eating everyone

                    Tomi