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Alberta Beef in Edmonton

  • rlh Jul 11, 2007 01:13 PM
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During our last two visits to Edmonton, we have tried to find a great local, preferably independent place in the Edmonton area to try the famous "Alberta beef" touted throughout the country -- without success so far (The Keg near Whyte Ave was not the answer, suffice to say).....

Where should we continue this quest next week? We're staying in a hotel (e.g., so we can't purchase from a butcher and grill for ourselves) and are willing to drive for top recommendations. Beef quality and friendliness are paramount -- fancy atmosphere/clubby feel not needed.

Thanks for your help and advice.

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  1. rlh:

    Let me think about this.

    I am not positive but I do not think the "beast" exists, i.e. "...a great local, preferably independent place in the Edmonton area....".

    Steak in this town is dominated by chains. The Keg's several locations, The Sawmill [locally owned but essentially at least chain-like] and its related "cousin" The Moose Factory, Outback and Ruth's Chris.

    I have had very good and pretty ordinary steaks at Chop which is steakhouse but which again is a prototype for expansion into this market by the people who operate Moxies.

    Apparently Ruth's Chris does offer in addition to its regular USA American corn fed prime beef, Canadian prime but that is limited to their strip loins. Public relations exercise when some negative publicity was generated by the American only original plans.

    But you may as well eat that in Chicago, New Orleans or some other city in the States.

    Luxe is a steahouse downtown. Would not be my recommendation. Hy's is now closed which is not a loss IMHO. I cannot think of any spot like its predecessor the Steak Loft which has been gone for years and years.

    The better restaurants in town will all of course have steak. Whether they are great and even are Alberta beef is another thing.

    The ones which spring to mind are Hardware Grill, The Grill at the Mayfield Inn, Red Ox Inn, perhaps Normand's.

    I have heard people mention Collisseum Steak and Pizza and a spot calls Gus' that used to be toward the north of the city but I am not even sure that it is still open.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac

      I liked Lux when I went about a year back for appies and drinks, but I'm pretty sure they have american beef to because they dry age and noone in alberta that I am aware of does that.

    2. Sage. In the River Cree Casino and Marriot. My favorite steak in town, with great service. Unfortunately, it comes with the fancy atmosphere and the prices to match. But all Canadian Prime beef.

      The Mayfield Grill serves beef at lesser prices, but excellent AAA quality as well. Definite focus on beef and meat. No Atmosphere. But closer to downtown.

      1. you should check out unheardof.

        i'm not 100% sure, but i'd wager a meal that the beef tenderloin (with king crab) is alberta grown.

        www.unheardof.com

        1. If your looking for something on the Southside that is Truly Local Alberta Beef. Try Jack's Grill - I think it is Lendrum near southgate mall...

          http://www.jacksgrill.ca/

          1. I had an excellent steak at Ric's grill in Kamloops, of all places, before they opened locations throughout Alberta. It was serendipity, it was attached to the hotel where we were staying and my wife absolutely refused to go chowhounding. I rarely eat steak when eating out but I was ordering defensively based on my prejudices about hotel restaurants.
            I wonder whether the quality is still the same

            1. The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald emphasizes the local / regional nature of their ingredients.

              I have to point out that, wherever you go in Edmonton (even the Keg), the chances are extremely high that you'll end up eating Alberta beef. With Alberta producing the majority (68% according to www.cattle.ca) of the beef in Canada, it seems highly unlikely that any local restaurant would actually use beef from out of province. With the high cost of transportation, I can't possibly see how this would be economical. Besides, given the province's huge expanses of open grazing land, I can only assume that the beef ranches in Alberta are larger and more efficient than smaller operations in, say, Ontario or BC anyways. So I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that the average steak in Edmonton is Alberta beef.

              1. Hi there. I lived in Edmonton for 16 years and became a total carnivore, hardcore for the AB beef :)

                As obscure they may seem (or b/c I am not a food snob lol), here are my picks:

                Chateaubriand - La Ronde - May sound like a tourist trap but this was the best chateaubriand I've ever had. Cooked to perfection and carved tableside Also, why NOT take in the view and be a tourist? At least if you're having dinner you can max out that view ;)

                Steak (mid price) - Mirabelle on 109th Street just south of Jasper. This place looks totally 80's but don't be fooled by the decor. They do a mean AAA steak and the bearnaise is to die for. I would have DRANK it if I could have gotten away with it ;)

                Steak sandwich - Atlantic Trap and Gill on 104 St (Calgary Trail S. and 77 Ave). Sounds strange for an East Coast bar, but the flavours of Alberta are strong (the joint is East coast but the cooks are from AB) I spent years on a search for the best steak sandwich in Edmonton and it ended when I took a job bartending at "the Trap". $5.95 Mon-Fri 'till 4:30 get you a wicked awesome steak 'n' fries.

                Burgers - Fargo's (101 Ave and Terrace Rd Across from Capilano Mall) and Courtyard Restaurant at the Marriott (Jasper Ave & 99 St, just east of Hotel Mac). Fargo's was my #1 choice for a long time, having served there and observed patties being made up fresh daily and grilled over charcol. I don't know what they do to the burgers at the Marriott but they taste just as good!

                Happy beefing!

                1. try the Sawmill, make sure you try their homemade white steak sauce, steaks are good, but I'll bet you buy a bottle of the steak sauce to go home with! Numerous locations.http://www.sawmillrestaurant.com/ "Agriculture represents Alberta’s 2nd leading industry, the majority of which is based on cattle operations. The balance is comprised of grain, poultry, pork and other forms of farming.

                  Cattle prefer and thrive on climates native to Canada and particularly Alberta. They stress easily under higher heat temperatures found in our competing countries due to their large body mass. Our vast, natural and plentiful grasslands with ample water supply assist with raising superior renowned Alberta Beef.

                  Finishing is vital to the marbling, flavour and texture of the end product. In Alberta, cattle are grain finished prior to processing with barley, an abundant and native legume to the province. Barley finishing has proven to yield a larger amount of “marble”, the fine white fat particles viewed in the meat that dissipates when cooked providing superior flavour and tenderness to the end product.

                  The score or grade of beef is a result of marbling in the cut. Sawmill Prime Rib & Steak Houses serve “AAA”, which is the second highest grade obtainable in Canada. Another predominant program is “Angus Beef”, which grades the exterior of the animal. If the exterior carcass is 51% black it falls into this program. We are of the opinion that this product is slightly inferior, as you do not eat the hide but rather what is inside. Our program is based on the internal carcass where the meat is viewed and graded. This provides a more precise and consistent product.

                  Sawmill beef is aged 28 days. Aging is a costly process but this time breaks down enzymes in the meat, ensuring top quality product. In an effort to reduce costs, some operations will serve beef with 7 to 21 days age which results in a cheaper but less palatable meat."

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: opus

                    Probably pretty late, but Culina on 99th Street and 89th ave, serves Silver Creek Ranch beef exclusively.... Have a great sirloin on chocolate blue cheese sauce that keeps me comming back. The IGA just around the corner also carries Silver Creek Ranch beef in tons of different cuts. Its become my new meat spot in the city...

                    1. re: interupt

                      I believe it's Spring Creek beef. But you're right about the quality. I don't buy anything else now.

                      1. re: interupt

                        Just returned from Culina. The steak is excellent, the sauce, other-worldly. Expert wine paring. This place is not to be missed.

                        1. re: edgrant

                          I thought the potatoes with the nummy blue cheese chocolate steak tasted warmed over. I met the niece of the Spring creek family ranch at a recent meat conference and they are releasing sausages and other value added meats at I believe Safeway in the next few weeks.

                      2. re: opus

                        Opus, do you have any financial interests in the Sawmill restaurants?

                        1. re: opus

                          Sorry Opus, have not been overly impressed by the steaks at Sawmill or The Moose Factory.

                          Mind you, we have not had much luck of late and are more likely to try and acquire some good steaks and barbeque them at home.

                          Last evening we tried to "celebrate" my mother-in-law's birthday at the Keg in South Common. Hey, they like the place and it is close to where most of the rest of the family lives.

                          We were there at a quarter to five and it did not look as busy as it often has been so I was optimistic that our party of 7 would get seated relatively soon. Unfortunately, as it turned out it did not look busy only because apparently the first "wave" of eaters had just been seated. After waiting for 15 or 20 minutes, our "electronic puck" flashed but rather than being seated, we were advised that it would be a 2 hour wait.

                          We were out of there. But where to go on a Saturday night in Edmonton with it being Easter Week-end and the time getting closer to the "magic" 7 o'clock dining time for many Edmontonians?

                          We ended up down Calgary Trail at the Edmonton South outlet of the US chain, Outback. Pretty grim. It too is a spot we did go to upon opening [more often the location just north of WEM] Will not be back but the "family" seemed to enjoy it which was the main thing after all.

                          No "bloomin' onions" for me in the forseeable future. Mind you I was in one of those moods and had fish, tuna for appetizer and salmon for dinner so I guess I got what I deserved ... served me right to be a food snob! [smile]

                          1. re: Bob Mac

                            Bob...next time head to Von's they usually have room in their bar side, which is still sit down full menu, only difference is that is it not as contemporary as the dining room side.

                            sorry about your experience. i cannot stand sawmill or the keg have not had a good steak there in years, and for the price, it is just not worth it!

                            1. re: Bob Mac

                              I feel your pain Bob. The Outback is one of my best friend's favourite restaurants. :(

                              1. re: anonymoose

                                anonymoose:

                                my condolences....

                                It did not want to drone on with a negative review but it was nothing short of dreadfull.

                                Too bad because I knew a couple of the original investors and went to the openings of the original location north of WEM and the one we were back at Saturday on Calgary Trail.

                                For a time we were relatively frequent diners at least at the WEM site a number of years ago.

                                If Saturday nite is any indication they have dropped considerably in style and quality. Just has a "grubby" look about it. May mean go later at night when there is less light [smile].

                                More "blommin onions" for your friend I guess

                                Turns out the MIL who was the guest of honour did not like it either but was happy to have her family out with her.

                                1. re: Bob Mac

                                  Yeah I have ended up at the WEM location quite a bit, and have also been to the new one in the north end. I'd say the quality is equally bleh in both locations.

                          2. rlh,

                            All of the places recommended by the other respondents are good choices. Here are two more: Von's Steakhouse just off Whyte Ave offers great Steaks and an excellent Prime Rib. There is an unassuming neighbourhood pub down in Millwoods (south Edmonton) called Danny Hacksaws that does a great steak sandwich for the best value that you will find in Edmonton (around 10 bucks). An excellent, thick, 8 oz. piece of beef that is always done to perfection.

                            Enjoy!

                            1. The best beef I have had in Edmonton is from an unexpected source: Louisiana Purchase. They descrbie the dish this way "Tournedos Ya-Ya, pan-fried medallions of beef tenderloin with a mango-chutney and peppercorn demi-glace".

                              It was so tender it hardly needed a fork.

                              Second choice is probably Hardware Grill. But I think the rib steak I had was that evening's special. But it was fabulous. IMO nothing beats a rib steak seared on a high heat grill. And the chef knew the beef was the star -- it came seasoned but not swimming sauce with amazing side of mashed potates.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pengcast

                                pengcast:

                                Louisiana Purchase is another one of those places we used to go to. I do remember the dish you have described. I enjoyed the crawfish boudin and other selections. "back in the day" it and Cafe Orleans, then, not surprisingly on Bourbon Street in WEM were favourites for good oysters and spicey fare.

                                Agree with the rib steak comment. Reminds me of tavern fare growing up in Montreal. Simply made delcicious food.

                              2. I like going to Coliseum Pizza & Steak .. the menu cover is make from cow hide ..

                                1. Two words "Steak Loft" NOT "Hy's Steak Loft" just the "Steak Loft" with the late great Corky Levin at the helm. The absolute best steak restaurant Edmonton has ever had. There hasn't really been a place to have a wonderful AAA Alberta steak dinner in Edmonton since around 1982 when the "Steak Loft" burned down. It was the absolute best Edmonton has ever had with the best lobster, Caesar salad, ribs and cheesecake ever.
                                  Too bad no one ever picked up the ball and re-established it because there is a definate need in Alberta's capital. Not one establishment has ever been able to come close in my opinion. All of the forementioned so called steak house's pale in comparison. Perhaps it's a good thing one can't compare the existing estabishments with the Steak Loft's quality of food and service as the existing establishments would be hard pressed to stay in business. Most of the old timers from Edmonton and indeed from around the world [including celebrities, newscasters, sports stars etc.] that had experienced the "Steak Loft" and tasted how a beef steak should be prepared and served haven't forgotten, in fact they still lament it's passing. You would think by now Edmonton would have another great steak house, it seems a sure winner if done right. Times have certainly changed.

                                  1. Sorry to bump this old thread, but just seeking an update on steakhouses in Edmonton.
                                    Has anyone have recent experience with lux, Ruth Chris, Normand or vons?

                                    I am looking to make a reservation tonight and would appreciate some feedback. Thanks.

                                    While no expert on steak, i have eaten, cooked and served my fair share of it. I am familiar and have eaten at all the chains mentioned in this thread. I am leaning toward lux as I have never been. Can anyone confirm that they do serve Canadian prime? Had a good-very good tenderloin hardware tonight.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                      betterthanbourdain:

                                      As you stroll through the "historic" posts you will quickly see that I have been and remain, at a loss to recommend a particularly outstanding steak spot for Alberta beef here in Edmonton.

                                      I have only eaten in the lounge at Ruth's Chris and even that was some time ago. I know you could get either a Canadian or an American produced NY strip but whether it was prime I do not know.

                                      Normand's is a particular favourite of some of my friends but I have never had a real good meal there. Indeed, when they called I would inquire where they wanted to go?

                                      Von's has been recommended by local posters including Cleopatra but I have not been there in a number of years. Indeed, it may have been Beans and Barley back then.

                                      I have had excellent meat at Sage at the River Cree Resort, Chop adjacent to the west end Sandman Inn and at the refurbished restaurant in the Fantasyland Hotel at West Edmonton Mall but both are quite a ways from you if, as I suspect you are staying downtown given that you were at Hardware last night and particularly since the roads may be "greasy" tonight given the snow which is currently falling.

                                      I have had lunches at both Lux and its companion restaurant/lounge 100, but do not know if they in fact are serving Prime, whether Canadian or American.

                                      Let us know where you go and if you in fact got a prime steak so I c an make a recommendation the next time visitors inquire.

                                      1. re: Bob Mac

                                        The last time I was at Jack's Grill ( a few years ago and it was "the" last time) they had a steak on their menu noted as "Sterling Beef" which is prime Canadian beef I believe ( it is sold as such at Andy's IGA).

                                        -----
                                        Jack's Grill
                                        5842 111 Street, Edmonton, AB T6H 3G1, CA

                                        1. re: Bob Mac

                                          ended going to Von's. they have sterling beef.

                                          the steak and primne rib were very good. which was the highlight of the evening. Everything else was ok or disapointing imho. the food and presentation seemed like they belonged in the 90's. the veg was prob the worse i've seen in a couple of years. certainly wouldnt be hard to find a cook with some knife skills to cut the veg properly. our server was ok-good but all the other staff didnt seemed interested in our presence. service shouldnt be about just your server, but everyone should be involved in making a guess feel comfortable.
                                          while i was satisfied with the beef, i felt everything else could have been elevated. the value proposition would be very good if there was better management and team in place.
                                          based on my one visit, i wont return.

                                          1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                            I checked it yesterday at Andy's IGA, it is actually called "Sterling Silver". When I have cooked a Sterling Suilver prime rib it did taste different and better than the regular "AA or better" that they sell there.
                                            The meat at Costco is AAA Canadian and I often buy their top sirloin and tenderloin. The top butcher in Edmonton is probably Acme, but it is a bit out of the way for me. I have not seen any restaurants claiming to source their meat there.

                                            1. re: felix the hound

                                              FYI Costco also sells Alberta Prime, strips and ribs. Look for the black trays, the AAA is in white.

                                              1. re: Scary Bill

                                                Thanks. Good to know.

                                                1. re: Scary Bill

                                                  We went to the Costco in Balzac and couldn't find any Alberta Prime at all. Do they only have it at certain locations? If so, where? Thanks!

                                                  1. re: josey124

                                                    Hit and miss at the southside Edmonton Costco...sometimes they have it sometimes not.

                                                    1. re: josey124

                                                      The only one I've bought it at is Deerfoot Meadows in Calgary, and it is hit and miss as it seems to sell rather quickly.

                                                      Ask the staff in the meat dept who will be able to tell you when the next order is expected to arrive, that is if it is sold at the Balzac store.