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has anyone been to blink in calgary yet?

pants Feb 21, 2007 08:16 AM

Just wondering if anyone has tried Blink on Stephen Ave yet? I also hear there is a new restaurant in Inglewood - anyone have more details?

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    ennui Feb 21, 2007 02:37 PM

    I tried it out last week. Great modern and sophisticated room - food was pretty good and service was great. Of course, no one else was in there but I'm sure that will change. I like the concept of a supper club and will be more likely to check them out for drinks late night. Stephen Ave really needs a cool lounge and I hope Blink suceeds at that.

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      Eatr Mar 5, 2007 12:01 PM

      Had lunch there recently. Food was below average. Appetizers of calamari and green salad left half eaten. Something funny tasting about the calamari was confirmed by the subsequent steak sandwich... like they cleaned the grill with something... odd (?). ...can't quite place it, but the bottom line was that it didnt taste very good. Not terrible, just "off". The green salad had some sort of very intense citrus-based dressing that caused me and my date to cringe... reminded me of a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon when Tweety shoves the spoonful of alum in Sylvester's mouth.. $10 bottle of water (Pelligrino) confirmed the poor review I had already read in FFWD. Fries were not good either, maybe 10 of the 100 fries on the plate were yam fries, for color I imagine.. overall very bland.. ran into some of the same issues that the FFWD reviewer had; notably that several items on the menu were unavailable.
      Some other minor quibbles, the drink and wine menu's were already dog-eared and stained from prior drinks which was suprising considering how new the joint is, plus the paper menu was printed at an ever increasing angle (align that old dot matrix boys!)... I would note that we were the first diners in the place that day, so the lack of food and dirty menu's were not because they were sold out or anything.
      Overall pretty bland food. Lunch menu items include grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, steak sandwich, lamb au jus, blackened salmon, vegetable (mushroom) risotto, etc.,.. item descriptions are meant to sound more exotic and tantalizing than this sounds, but there's nothing really interesting. The food also seemed to be a bit expensive for what you get.
      Highly unlikely thaqt I'll ever go back.
      Hopefully the supper club/lounge/bar aspect works for them, because the lunch is best avoided.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Eatr
        formerlyfingers Mar 5, 2007 06:53 PM

        I went there for lunch today and had a poor expereince and it is unlikely that I will return.
        Upon arrival I was greeted by two servers who were polishing glasses in an empty room(it was only 11:40). I requested a seat at the bar as I find it enables me to see the inner workings better. The bar was sloppily kept. Towels, notepads, papers, random bottles etc. all over the place, thus contaminating the clean lines that were built into the design. Overall a stylish and cool room though. I was offered a drink, I chose a bottle of San Pellegrino. It was brought to me with a glass of ice and a straw. This is not the way sparkling water should be served. I will ask for ice if I want it.

        The menu arrived. A tattered and stained standard white paper printed in house. The server initially informed me that at least 3 of the menu items weren't available, and even said that it's a good thing because one of the items was"gross." Nice. This is especially bad because it really doesn't take much effort to go downstairs or wherever to the office and print some new menus off with current info. Else why print in house at all? The menu descriptions were cheesy. Complete with names for each dish...."The Wild Prairie", "Heaven Sent", "Ah The Lamb", etc. Server told me of a special soup, cream of asparagus. I said I would try it, and then decide on a main course. I was brought a spoon and a "roll up". The soup was bad. Thin, watery, bland, dull, pale. It never should have left the kitchen. When the bartender saw that I wasn't going to finish it, I informed of my reasons. The server overheard and said he would try it. The consensus was that it was a bad soup and would be taken off the bill. All the things which make bad asparagus soup bad were executed perfectly..... I decided to add on my order next. I ordered the " just blacken it" blackened slamon with fennel, orange and watercress. It wasn't bad, the salmon was cooked a little too much for my liking, but overall a fair offering. Except for the greens, which were dressed in that too tart and overpoweringly citrus dressing. The greens, watercress and fennel were nice and crisp and fresh.

        I had to ask for bread to be served with my food. The server advised that bread is normally offered but that it was "defrosting". The cook had forgotten to turn on the oven in a Stephen Ave. lunch place at lunchtime to "cook" the frozen bread. I could hardly wait. A few minutes later, I was offered a (single) slice of generic seed bread, still frozen in the middle served to me using a fork and a spoon, in an amateurish and unnecessarily silly way. I want my bread warm, fresh and in a manner whereby I can serve myself. And I just want somewhat softened, unsalted butter to spread on it. Not brown colored piping bagged whipped "truffle" infused butter. What a shame to bread service.

        I had to ask for a dessert menu. Bartender said they only had one dessert available, a creme brulee with raspberries and raspberry sauce. Revolutionary.

        I said "no dessert menu?" to which the server, who had overheard my query responded, of course we do! He brought it to me, and I read it. More goofy names."The Dark Side", "Pudding on the Ritz". The content actually sounded okay though. Just don't make spelling mistakes on your menu. (franglelico). There were no prices listed so I asked the bartender.....surprise surprise, no idea! He asked the server and they were 9$.
        This place needs to get it together. A nice room on a nice strip deserves excellent food and competent service. Especially keeping company with it's neighbors, some established and well managed places.

        I could go on.

      2. John Manzo Mar 5, 2007 07:31 PM

        Oh my God, it's the resurrection of Verve!

        Thanks for saving me the trouble- this is such a damn, damn shame. Beautiful space.

        1. formerlyfingers Mar 5, 2007 07:44 PM

          Yes! It reminded of Verve in a few ways, mostly it's over the top and ridiculous menu descriptors!

          1. John Manzo Mar 5, 2007 07:54 PM

            Well, I stopped in a while back right when they opened just to see the menu, nice people let me look around... but this might be a ridiculous thing to complain about, but I saw a slick superautomatic espresso machine behind the bar and I ask who their coffee supplier is and they say "Canterbury." Ick- office coffee? At least use Fratello. Canterbury is for gas stations and break rooms.

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              ennui Mar 5, 2007 08:10 PM

              What is the deal with those cutesy dish names? It's not a "family restaurant" and it's not 1983.

              1. pants Mar 6, 2007 08:06 AM

                too bad - it is a really nice space. we were walking by after they first opened about a month or so ago and a server saw us reading the menu outside - she came out to say hello, told us about the concept, etc. very friendly - it had such promise. I agree, no excuse on Stephen Ave for a bad, new restaurant. maybe it will be ok for drinks?

                1. ureviewcalgary Mar 8, 2007 10:44 AM

                  I went in there last night for the first time...this is a CLASSIC example of what happens when nightclub guys who know very little about higher-end restaurants open a place. The staff is what you'd expect at the Whiskey or some other nightclub. They spent lots of money making the room look "cool" but failed to focus on the extras that draw a higher end crowd. Funky leather chairs are great, chrome and glass is great...paper menus look cheap, bar staff aren't dinner service staff, the Chef who created the menu is gone hence food quality is suffering already, and the wine list...well some of their markups had me laughing. They're all over the place! And the room was basically empty? What a shock! I ordered one appetizer...in an empty room...it took well over 20 minutes. Now...IF they hired someone to run this business who knows what he/she is doing given the downtown supper club "scene" they're trying to build...this place could work. IF the Chef they brought in to build their menu was around, the food issues would disappear. In short, they spent a whole bunch of cash and didn't spend it in the right places. I hope they figure it out becuase this could be a great spot given the location and the room they built. There are too many oxygen thiefs opening places like this, hence the high failure rate of the businesses in general. Read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain for more details on that topic!

                  ureviewcalgary

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ureviewcalgary
                    ChefsMenuTasting Mar 29, 2007 06:15 PM

                    They replaced their Chef as of March 20th or so. New menu. It was packed for lunch on Wednesday so they must be doing something right. The room is probably one of my favorite rooms in the city, very hot. Stephen Avenue is diffucult to survive on, if you don't do it right the first time...bye, bye. Better than 17th though, you have to pull people off the street and buy them lunch to fill your place!

                  2. pants Apr 26, 2007 10:11 AM

                    I went to Blink last night for an industry party, so not your average situation but myself and the others i was with, enjoyed our evening.

                    The service was fun and friendly, the appetizers were tasty and the wine was great.

                    I like the feel of the room, some of the parts are a bit strange but overall a modern and comfortable space.

                    There were a variety of tasty items that were served:
                    braised short rib with a blueberry based sauce
                    crab cakes - hardly any filler, almost all crab :)
                    potatoe croquettes - very tasty
                    ground bison with a very delicious yogurt, mint and lime sauce
                    a very fresh bruschetta (spelling?)
                    and very tangy salmon
                    then desserts....now that i think about it, one of the desserts may be a rip off of the lemon tart at tribune...

                    The staff were attentive and fun, our glasses were never empty and they kept bringing around food.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: pants
                      ChefsMenuTasting Apr 29, 2007 05:27 PM

                      How can you possibly rip off a lemon tart? They seem pretty generic to me. Isn't Tribune about "Forgotten Fare"? I certainly don't think anyone has been given the chance to forget the lemon tart ;)

                      1. re: ChefsMenuTasting
                        pants Apr 30, 2007 10:22 AM

                        it's not a traditional tart - similar in appearance, texture....

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