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May 17, 2007 03:18 PM

Wild Ginger - Calgary

Has anyone been to Wild Ginger yet?

I was opentable today and checked it out - seems expensive $30-50 range.
the website isn't up and running yet

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  1. Waaaayyyy overpriced. The atmosphere and darkened space make no sense in the bottom of a bright office tower. Not sure that Vickers has hit the mark on this one.

    1. 341 4th Ave SW- what building is this in? Did it replace something?

      11 Replies
      1. re: John Manzo

        It's an office tower right across the street from the Rosalynn Building...I should know this because I walk through it everyday! LOL I'll get back to you on it. Another bad sign was the stink of fish emanating from the front entrance (which is of course guarded by the token Vickers girls - scantily clad, cleavage, etc.). I don't think it replaced anything. When someone else is paying I'll be happy to go back.

        1. re: ureviewcalgary

          it's in calgary place isn't it? was the food any good?

          i kind of figured it might be a club sort of atmosphere by the description on - i hope this isn't vancouver restaurant attitude sneaking in to calgary....that's one of things i enjoy most about living here, you can go out for a nice meal and find friendly people at the restaurants

          1. re: pants

            Calgary Place is on 6th Ave near the new courts, so that can't be it- also CP is on the north side of the street (even numbers).

            The only Vickers establishment I've been in, I am proud to say, was Zen 8 in 2000 when sushi was still exotic and overpriced in Calgary (anybody remember what a thing it was that we finally had a "fast food" sushi place the then-newly-renovated Chinook Centre?) and the old Ceili's for a CIFF volunteer event (with, I must admit, pretty good bar food).

            1. re: John Manzo

              my office is doing some signage for Calgary Place and i thought i saw wild ginger on the directory list...oops, maybe i am mistakeb. i'm still learning my way around this town :)

              yeah, we had some tasters from ceili's at taste of calgary last year and it was pretty good. their beer is seems a bit pricey though...

              1. re: pants

                Wait a sec, is this place in that renovated retail space on Barclay Mall? If it is, it is great to see SOMETHING going in there!

                1. re: pants

                  Yeah, it's Calgary Place. Used to be called Fracmaster Tower. 355-4 Ave SW. We walked by at lunch today. It's right across the street (South) of the Westin.

                  Not entirely sure what that building is called now.

                  1. re: taiphun

                    I'm so stupid, I was confusing Calgary Place with Calgary HOUSE, which is on 6th Ave. Not to be further confused with Calgary Place APARTMENTS. :-)

                    I know they did a big reno of the retail space in Calgary PLACE and it was envisioned to be like Eaton Centre and to add some life to Barclay- so a major resto is good news indeed.

                    1. re: John Manzo

                      SO not good. I went during its opening and despite the fact that I didn't even have to pay for my food, I still thought it was terrible. Do yourself a favor and don't go.

                      1. re: star33star

                        Completely agree with star33star. Decided to try out the new corporate credit card, and went by the bar waitress' recommendations. She described Wild Ginger like P.F. Chang's in the States, and said most tables of 2 get an appy, two main meat dishes, and a rice or noodle.

                        The Kung Pao Chicken came out before our appetizer, a Nudie Roll we asked to start with. The roll fell apart as I dipped it in the soy, and I'm very good with sushi & chopsticks. Roll tasted OK, 4 large pieces. We told the waitress about the cold chicken and she apologized and offered to take it off our bill or get a new one, so we got the new one. The beef dish was average, and the recommended lobster fried rice didn't taste of lobster at all. It came in a large white bowl, with no spoon so I asked for one. It was difficult to eat off the plates you get (small rectangular sushi style serving tray) so I asked for a bowl, because I'm Chinese and thats how we eat rice. She apologized for not having regular bowls, but got us small square edamame bowls which did the trick.

                        She was trying, but I overheard her apologizing to both tables next to us for one screw-up after another, it was comical. I asked for a dessert menu, but there was none. She did say they have this very good deep fried banana spring roll with coconut ice cream, so I ordered that. 5 minutes later she came back apologizing, saying she's not sure if they can make it and she'd have to ask the manager. 10 minutes later she came back and all was well. That was the best dish of the bunch.

                        In Summary:

                        Food: Like you're ordering appy's at Fuel (Earl's lounge). Except not as tasty. The food is like oversauced Chinese food, but not as fresh, and not fusion by any means. Dessert was great.

                        Service: Apology after apology, and we got a 2nd nudie roll served with our main dishes which we had to explain we had received already. I almost feel sorry for our server as it was pretty unorganized.

                        Atmosphere: Dark, red, trying to be trendy, but strange in that on one side you get the typical Vickers wine cellar in one corner, a view of the TD bank machine in the other, and bright windows looking out to the downtown street that are dying for curtains or stained glass. 95% of the clientele were businessmen. Usually thats a tip that the restaurant is no good - no women eat here.

                        Value: $122 for 2. 1 appy, 2 mains, 1 rice, 2 dessert, 1 coffee, 2 glasses of red.

                        Comment: Follows the same Vickers formula: flashy interiors, good wine list, hot waitresses, and bad overpriced food. If it weren't for expense accounts, this place would go broke in a few weeks. Wait, thats just like all of Vicker's other restaurants (Chophouse, Belgo...).

                        1. re: Vancity Vic

                          You only forgot to mention one thing...the "short" pour that all Vickers places seem famous for as well.

                          1. re: ureviewcalgary

                            Lol. Totally! And then the snotty attitude when you ask them to stop short pouring. My friend thought it was a 50/50 chance they'd spit in my beer when i asked them to fill my hoegaarden to the line, not settling for 50% foam in a glass. I figured it was worth the risk! :)

        2. BRUTAL, simply brutal is all I can say. Way overpriced. $6 for tea? Each of the rolls was at least $11 and there were only 4 pieces. Food wasn't even good, it was no better than the majority of other japanese restaurants in calgary. This doesn't even compare with the service which was also brutal. They brought my food out probably an hour or so after other people in my party had started receiving their food. My wife had to finish her lobster (not really) fried rice before I even received my food or else hers would have gotten cold. I had to tell them that my roll wasn't there and i told them to forget about it but they said "oh it's coming, we ordered it" and then it came out and I was sorely disappointed because it was not even tasty. When we got our bill they had a mistake saying that we did have an extra $8 bottle of beer and when we said no, they simply said, well we brought it we paid it rather than causing a scene since we were there for a special occasion. Speaking of causing a scene, at 11:00 PM one of the employees turned on the lights (it's very dark in there) and proceeded to yell out throughout the whole restaurant "THE UGLY LIGHTS ARE ON, EVERYONE IS UGLY NOW!" Very professional. That's great considering we were there celebrating a special occasion. How brutal is that? I know there is a tight labour crunch in Calgary, but you must be able to find some good workers, for the money that they charge there, they should be able to pay some decent wages. We were also dinged with a 20% automatic gratuity charge. I'm not one to complain about gratuity since I would consider myself a pretty good tipper when it is warranted, often giving 50% of the bill as a tip, but with the service I received there that day, I would be hard pressed to say they deserved 10%.

          I would not recommend that anyone go there, it is too much for what you get, it's brutal service and the food is no good.

          1. Stupidly expensive. $30/person lunch (no drinks) still left me hungry. The "sharing" menu is very confusing (what is the difference between the appetizers and the mains?) and offers little selection. The food was tasty but the portions were tiny ($6 per skewer of satay chicken, and half the skewer was actually vegatables?). The atmosphere just doesn't work, is too dark, tabletops are cheap, and the lighting is just plain ugly. Service was crap too: 2/3 empty and yet had to wait 10+ minutes for the cliche'd boots-and-boobs waitress to get our bill.

            I will never go there again. For $30 lunch I can easily eat at Caesar's and many others and walk away feeling satisfied. Overall, a very crappy dining experience.

            1. The food is fantastically overpriced: $6 for tea (per person!), $6 for a single measly skewer of satay chicken, $11 for a roll of sushi with just 4 pieces, $16 for a tiny tiny dish of kung pow chicken. I don't mind paying for quality, but the food here is not even close. And WTF is with the dark, stark, decorating? Waitress: "the dishes are served in the order they are cooked, which some people find confusing" No shit Sherlock, I want my appetizers first followed by my mains.