Nectar Desserts in Calgary
- ybnormal May 25, 2007 01:51 PM
Finally another new dessert place in Calgary! Even better, its a real dessert bar as it is fully licensed and open late. They only recently opened.
At long last, a place to go after movies or theatre for dessert and/or drinks with my wife!
I've only tried some of their tarts, but I really like the Spicy Chocolate Caramel Tart which had a bite of pepper to it. Their lemon & key lime tarts are full of citrus goodness and really tart (if you like that sort of thing).
They also serve cakes, french cookies and ice cream/sorbets. Definitely have to come back in the evening to sit down and linger...
Quality seems to be close to that of Brulee, but if pushed I'd still say Brulee is a notch above, but there's still lots to try.
The owner/chef, Rebekah, seems really nice as well - she seems to be in a lot of food press lately...
It will be interesting to see how they do, since they are in a really bizarre location in Inglewood (couple doors down from Sugo), and you have to go upstairs to enter the dessert bar.
It's gotten to be a bit of a joke, but my friends and I have been talking about opening something along these lines (though open later) for the past 10 years, since we hated going to a smoky pub or a loud club after movies/hockey/etc.... Im excited that someone has finally done so! Thanks for the heads up!
I went last night. It was bright and modern, but very comfortable. Hip, upscale, a bit eclectic, it's in a loft-type setting with lots of space between tables. I guess upscale loft would be a good way of putting it. Tree-theme going on (paintings, trees, etc). We felt very comfortable lingering, as even though it was bright, it was still softly lit. A few couches, and some fairly comfortable chairs.
The group of us tried 6 different desserts. Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Experience (another way of saying Trio of Chocolate tasters), Peaches and Cream, Some Blue Cheese based dessert, tea biscuits, and chocolate pate. With the exception of the tea biscuits, all desserts are $12. Most people were happy with theirs. A couple didnt feel the value was there. I had the Chocolate Pate, which was Valrhona Chocolate with some form of bing cherries and organic pistachio on the side, with homemade sugar cookies. The flavour and texture of the chocolate were amazing, and worked well with the sugar cookie, and one of the ingredients blended (either the cherries or the pistachio, not both). I found it a bit fussy - while the presentation was nice, it was a lot of work to eat. The americano was good, and they have this interesting, gimmicky tea infuser that's shaped like a stir stick. It was good for conversation, but as my Japanese friend and I discussed, not likely any good for brewing good tea.
The sticky toffee was excellent. The tea biscuits, they had a couple that were phenomenal. Lemon pound cake was the one that stood out the most. I cant imagine how many bald lemons are out there today after trying that cake!
Anyway, the prices are quite high relative to what the marketplace is used to - which i forsee as potentially being a problem. At $12, the desserts should probably be big enough to share when you arent hungry,and i just didnt feel like they were. But when we got there at 11:00pm, there were still 3 other tables, so maybe im underestimating how much everyone else is making in today's marketplace. Pairing dessert wines with each dessert is a great concept, and at $8, is fairly reasonable. But it's definitely worth checking out. It's long overdue in Alberta!
PS Very friendly staff as well.
Yesterday evening two of us came by to have a great desert at a place that we have frequented a few times. As we came in we were glad to see that there were 3 tables open so we thought we would be seated right away, apparently because of “efficiency” we were not. After a few minutes of waiting and not even being approached, a lady behind the counter, not a server I may add, said it would be just a few minutes. After the owner came out and talked to some friends that came in after us, and proceeded to pass right by us to take some tea out, I saw what was happening. After another couple minutes one of the waitresses finally approached us and said it would be just a couple more minutes. We sat down and waited. A group of 5 then came up the stairs and were about to seat themselves; at that point I mentioned that they had to be seated by the staff. To my astonishment they were immediately approached by the waitress and taken to a table, leaving 2 tables still open. Another couple minutes past when the owner approached us and said “thank you for graciously waiting”. Because of a “policy” to be as “efficient” as possible the restaurant only sits larger parties at tables that would accommodate them and to have paying customers of only two waiting for a table of two rather then having paying customers generating revenue for them. I would like to see a single restaurant in Calgary where this same lady would wait for a table to open that would accommodate a table for two while open, unreserved tables remained unoccupied.
I fail to see how having two customers leaving the restaurant is “efficient”, just in case a larger table may come in. If a larger party were to arrive and saw all the tables full, they would wait or come back at another time. Instead Nectar Desserts would rather have empty tables saved just in case and have a party of two leave, never to return.
Very poor practice!
I've never been seated at a table for 5-6+ when it's just been two of us. I'd feel conspicuous if two of us were seated at a huge table, just as I'd feel crowded if we were 6 people squeezed into a table for 4. Nectar has a bar area, was there not room there? Or were there others waiting there for a table for two as well? I'm sorry you felt slighted but I can't say it's poor practice.
The tables that were open would be a tight sqeeze for 6 but comfortable for four. It would be the same as a booth in a restaurant that could seat six tightly or four comfortably. Have you and another never sat at a booth that can hold more then two? Did you feel conspicuous at that time?
But as a whole the service was very poor. Waiting for 5-10 minutes before a prep cook tells us that it will be a couple of minutes.to be seated and then to have a table seated that arrived after us and then the table that is being seated appologizes to us and says that they arent sure what is going on. After waiting a total of 15-20 minutes before a server approached us to explain what was going on with no appology.
There were no other parties waiting to be seated and the bar had a couple at it.
Finally made it to Nectar the other night. I loved the place. Great vibe and service was excellent. It was a Tuesday night, so it wasn't too busy at all. We had a couple of desserts with the wine (or in my case, sake) pairing. The maccha ice cream puffs with Valrhona fudge sauce was very tasty, though I was initially hesitant about chocolate and maccha (I've been trained by maccha purists in the past... it's not my fault!). But, it did in fact go over well. Their ice cream texture is phenomenal. My dining companion had the "Blue on Blue", a blueberry consomme with a peach gelee, topped with a scoop of blue cheese ice cream. The verdict? Awesome. That ice cream needs to be experienced to be understood properly. Before stealing a bit of the ice cream I had no idea what to expect (sweet? salty? overpowering?) but it was so well balanced, with just a hint of sweetness. The gelee was beautifully done too, it really brought out the taste of a fresh peach. Post dessert americanos were decent.
With regards to pwalker's experience with the service, it's unfortunate, but I did notice on my way up the stairs into the place, that they list their house rules. One of them is that "first come is not necessarily first served". Again, not sure if it's the best practice, but they are pretty up front about it since it's posted on the way in.
Awesome - there's RULES now!? hahaha, that's hilarious. I LOVE that - Calgary eateries need some character like that. All part of the experience. The furnishings are quirky too... putting the emphasis back on the food where it should be, which I wish more places were focusing on (rather than expensive place settings and bling, bling decor) To me it means that those who are there enjoy it because of the quality of the food; a few quirks can add some spice to life.
Personally, I am tired of servers who want to be my friend. Although, I can understand pwalker's need to at least be acknowledged - I am curious if pwalker complained?
I've found the desserts to be decent, but not exceptional - meaning when I eat out I want something I absolutely can't make at home. I want to be totally blown away.
That being said, I am so very glad that Nectar has opened in Calgary, and I can get something decent with friends without going for dinner. Nectar is a step in the right direction for Calgary.
I thought the same about the dessert quality...meh. It's a destination restaurant, certainly the rules will begin to turn people off or give them a bit of hesitation to go on a weekend night. The restaurant industry in Calgary does need to be careful... especially if the product does not live up to the rules set in place. If people walk in your door it's for your food first...then your service...maybe ambiance. It's pretty pretentious for a dessert only restaurant and such a young Chef.