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Jan 28, 2008 08:14 AM

Hardware Grill - Edmonton

Had my first meal at the Hardware Grill this weekend and had mixed results. Service was generally good except when the server disappeared a couple of times.

Bread was tasty but wasn't heated up and the butter was stone cold.

Shared an appetizer: Crispy Duck Leg Confit, with Roasted Pears, St. Benoit Blue Ermite, Field Greens and Maple-Onion Vinaigrette. The duck was crispy, but the skin was too salty.

“Surf & Turf” Roasted Organic Chicken Supreme, Melted Leeks, with “Mac & Cheese”- Truffle Oil, Shiitake & Lobster, Natural Reduction - chicken was cooked perfectly, pasta was very rich and the lobster taste was overwhelmed by the other flavours. I think I would have preferred having the pasta as a small appetizer instead as it completely overshadowed the chicken. I'm glad I tasted the chicken first before the pasta took over.

Cedar Planked Salmon, Fingerling Potatoes, Chanterelles, Cipollini Onions, Haricot Vert, Creamed Peas, Morels, & Chanterelle Emulsion - very nice, with a strong cedar taste to the salmon.

Shared Dessert: Canadian Maple Crème Brûlée With Warm Sugar Doughnuts - maple taste was too strong - I felt like I was eating a maple pudding instead of a creme brulee. The doughnuts were good.

I was also surprised at how brown all the dishes seemed to be. A little more colour would have made the plating look more appetizing.

So all in all, not a bad dinner, but I wasn't wowed. Price not including alcohol or tip was just under $100.

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  1. i'm taking my parents there in feb for their b-day dinner. will keep some of those suggestions in mind.


    3 Replies
    1. re: rafer madness

      only been there once, did not love it. I believe there is better out there in our city! especially for the price. however i do feel that I need to give it another try. we had an ahi tuna app that was over cooked. we each had an app & main, they were way too big to finish all of and have room for dinner. let's face it leftover gourmet food does not reheat well the next day. definitely consider sharing apps & dessert next time.

      1. re: cleopatra999

        Both times I've been, I had the tuna and thought it was the only thing that met my expectations. Fresh, good quality fish, well seasoned (basically peppercorns) and perfectly seared to be almost crisp on the outside and barely warm in the middle.

        Nothing else was really bad, but not on par with some other places in town, and given the reputation of the place quite disappointing.

        1. re: Dan G

          Was at Hardware Grill in the end of December. It was fine, nothing BAD per se. But definitely not a good value. For two, we spent $300.... which I have no problem with, but I kinda want something mind blowing. The portions were huge (the veal chop was the size of my husband's plate), which makes you "think" good value, but every dish was nothing memorable to me - and I would rather have slightly smaller portions of something remarkable. Overall - good, but with such expensive ingredients, it couldn't be terrible. Just not "right". Service was fine.

    2. Decided on Hardware vs. Jack's Grill for a special dinner out with a group of 5 - the prices set very high expectations - the room is nice (in spite of the barren tables), the wine list is voluminous (and pretty thoughtful as well), and the service is quite good, but it's not a great overall value or top choice in my opinion.

      The bread was fresh but cold along with the hard butter - and it wasn't replenished (didn't ask and don't think we should have to at this level of place).

      The smoked salmon/potato pierogi app was fresh, delicious, and generous, but not memorable or creative. The cedar planked salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned - a normal portion size as well. The molten chocolate cake with ice cream was tasty but also not special.

      My impression is that this a top notch, professional spot with a longstanding reputation of excellence - a very safe "fine dining" choice near the convention center/government offices.

      Ithink they are leveraging their reputation a little too much at those prices ($8-$20 per app, $30-$50 per entree, and $11 per dessert) - I would prefer to see them take more chances with the menu selections, exhibit some really brilliant moments, and leave a more lasting impression with me.

      I'm glad I went and it was a nice dinner, however, I probably won't remember it well enough to recommend to others in the future -- I'll also look forward to trying Jack's next time I'm in Edmonton and seeking fine dining.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rlh


        I think you summed things up nicely. Just a recommendation - based on your comments "take some changes, exhibit some brilliant moments, lasting impression etc...), i think both Hardware Grill and Jack's Grill are not the right places for you to dine at. They remind me of those old school steakhouses - places that provide solid, uninspired, slightly overpriced food. Somewhere conservative, that has an established clientele and caters to them.

        For more dynamic dining, i heartily recommend the Blue Pear. They have a prix fixe that changes every month, emphasizing seasonality. A very close second for me would be Red Ox Inn. Both restaurants would be a better fit than either of the Grills.

        1. re: yen

          Thanks for the tips and recommendations - I'll look forward to the next visit to Edmonton to check them out. You are spot on that the classic upscale steakhouse scene is NOT what I'm seeking (though I'd place Hardware well above Ruth's Chris and Morton's if that were the scale...).

          To complete the current visit's dining record, I did NOT have super high expectations for Packrat Louie's based on reviews on this board, but DID very much enjoy it for what it was - the curried calamari app and the carmelized shrimp entree both hit the spot, along with really nice wine by the glass (whites) and super service (Ashley) in their casual yet bustling atmosphere - not a destination but seems a solid choice if in the area to me and the prices correlate to the experience better.

          1. re: rlh

            I have never had a problem with the food nor service at Packrat Louie's... it just seems to be one of those tweener places that doesnt fit many occasions. It isnt quite fine dining, and it isnt quite casual affordable bistro. We usually end up there based on geography... though these days, i always prefer Culina over PL's.

            Glad you enjoyed it though. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.

      2. My friends and i took our friend there for his birthday about 3 weeks ago. The service was ok as well as the food, We were the last party to leave as soon as we got out the door after paying a $900 or so bill i noticed my camera was inside. The doors were locked and no one picked the phone up. Ahh i thought to myself its a classy resturant ill probably have a voicemail from them before i know it. Not only was there no call it took me clling and leving messages for the owners and finally about 3 weeks latter icall on a friday night and a owner finally picks up. melinda the owner she was aware of the situation and said '"all of our employees have been here for along time" "its not our responsibility" A call back would have been nice. My personal exp with melinda ws very unsettlingand and very un helpful

        1. I would take the Red Ox Inn over any other fine dining in the city. That is the one restoraunt that I know I can have anything on the menu and it will be fantastic.