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Feb 25, 2008 02:24 PM

Montana's Cookhouse - Edmonton

Hey guys just thought I'd give some of you a heads up that, holy man, this place has gone downhill. Okay, so it's not the greatest restaurant to begin with but, this past weekend we went for ribs at the one on Calgary trail and I just couldn't believe how bad the meal was.

I used to frequent this place about 10 years ago all the time as my ex's brother was the assistant manager. We always loved the ribs and the texas bold sauce. Fast forward to now and my hubby loves this place too. He's a huge rib eater and always found them to be the best in the city.

First off, I'm the chowhound in the relationship and it was my choice to go there. I have a cheat day every Saturday. Basically I eat whatever I want that day and this week the craving was ribs and fries. We frequent this place about twice a year and I usually get the fajitas.

We all know that service has gone downhill since this economy exploded. So it wasn't a big deal that it took 10 minutes for someone to hand us menus (in the bar), another 10 mintues to take our order, another 10 minutes to clean off the table (that I asked from the beginning to do) and another 40 minutes after that before we got our meal.

Heck I was in a great mood, out with my hubby, drinking some beer, kickin' back. Well our meal arrives. I've never ordered the back ribs before (always got side ribs, if I get ribs) and first I see, little to no sauce on the ribs.

"Hmm that's strange, I always thought they were saucy." And my fries are cold. "Fine whatever." My steamed veggies were toasty so it balances out. ??

Now I dig into my ribs. Hmm, they don't fall off the bone like I remember (maybe they never did, I could have dreamed that) and wow, they are BLAND.

By the second rib, I start to get grossed out. Yes, this is my cheat day but, to see a layer of fat on top of the ribs and it's corresponding grease running down my thumb...I'd had enough.

"Well baby," I say to my husband. "Here's your lunch for Monday. I'm just going to finish my fries"

Agghh I knew we should have gone to Mikado's but, once ribs are mentioned in the ear shot of hubby, there's no turning back.

Well at least my rib craving is gone :)

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  1. I have been to that place and exactly what happened to you happened to me 10 years ago. Not the same entree but the same kind of experience. I am not sure how places survive if that's what they do on a regular basis. Have you thought of trying the South Common Montana's... at least there's better service.

    13 Replies
    1. re: sleepycat


      We went to South Common first and it was twice as busy. Any restaurant at SEC at 6pm is going to be a gong show but, we tried there first since we live close by.

      I also forgot to mention that my hubby's baked beans side dish came in one of those Styrofoam gravy "take-out" container. It looked so trailer trash. When did they start doing that? It was always in those little red plastic bowls

      1. re: livetocook

        SEC is a gong show any time. That's a different story. I hope they gave you a better dinner or fixed things?

        1. re: sleepycat

          that poses an interesting question...where are good ribs in the city? Smokey joes are great, but they are different, smoked not saucy. I know the craving you had livetocook, and I have usually fulfilled it by slow cooking my own!

          1. re: cleopatra999

            That's a good question. I'm not sure. I have had Tony Roma's in the past. Montana's has an all you can eat on Wed which I have never tried. Don't suppose you would share your slow cooker receipe?

            1. re: sleepycat

              I only tried it out once, but it is my new favorite. It was a Caribbean ribs recipe that I found online
              They turned out so good in the slow cooker. It would be great to cook them in the crockpot then throw them out on the grill with bbq sauce!! i want ribs!

              1. re: cleopatra999

                Thanks Cleopatra... I printed it so I could try it next time. I've been experimenting with that slow cooker.

                If anyone tries out the all you can eat ribs at Montana let us know if they are good. The only thing I'll eat at Montana's SEC is their wings. You'll like them if you like them breaded, crispy and saucy.

            2. re: cleopatra999

              Best place for ribs hmmm??

              Ok, so Tony's Romas I didn't like the sauce. Nor do I at The Outback. I've never had them at Swiss Chalet, although hubby has, but, he still likes Montana's better.

              (Maybe if I had stuck with the side ribs at Montana's it would have been okay. Maybe they aren't as greasy.)

              Has anyone had ribs at Chili's? Are they on the menu?

              This morning Hubby wanted to take out pork chops for dinner and usually I'm all over that because he makes a mean BBQ'd chop. I told him I needed to stay away from pork for a while.

                1. re: sleepycat

                  Do you guys have a Cactus Club in Edmonton. I had the ribs at the Calgary location and they were pretty good.

                  1. re: djdragan

                    Nope no Cactus Club in Edm. Are you referring to Cactus Club on Barlow trail NE?

                    1. re: sleepycat

                      I wish we had Cactus club, I agree their jack daniels ribs are really good! I often think of them when we are going out in Calgary.

                      1. re: sleepycat

                        Yes the one on Barlow is the one I was referring to, I think there's also one on Mcleod Tr near Chinook Mall

                  2. re: livetocook

                    Oooo, I've been to Cactus Club in Calgary. I liked it there. Didn't have the ribs though.

          2. Ahaha that's hilarious. I was at the Montana's in St. Albert on the weekend (not my choice) and my food sucked too. I had a sirlon - it had no flavour and was almost room temperature. My steamed vegetables were overcooked. I've been to the South Common location too and wasn't impressed. Not going to one of those again if I can help it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: anonymoose

              The sad part is sometimes we don't have a choice :(

              1. re: anonymoose

                My steams veggies were overcooked too!! Haha. But, they were hot and garlicy so, I choked them down. Sad thing was, they were the best part of the meal

                Here I was thinking maybe the cooks were having an off night. Bad rib night at Calgary tr. Hmm, tasteless steak across town, not impressed Montana's

                1. re: livetocook

                  You had garlicy flavours on your veggies? I didn't. I feel even more ripped off now. lol

              2. Are there any decent, chowhoundish rib or beef joints, i.e. not chains? (I'm heading to Edmonton for a 2-month work assignment in March.)

                4 Replies
                1. re: LiviaLunch

                  the only place I can recommend is smokey joes. But as I said earlier, they are not saucy style, they are smoked (still very yummy). The sides are decent too...great corn fritters! Have also had great Greek ribs at most of the Greek Restos such as Katouki. As for beef places are you looking for high end? If so, I recommend Sage bistro at the River Cree Resort. For medium end I recommend Von's just off Whyte Ave. Some others have had great meals at Lux, I myself, was disappointed, but willing to try again.

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Sounds great, thanks for the recs...they're on our list and we'll make sure we get to them. I had read about Sage, and we'll find a special occasion to get out there too.

                  2. re: LiviaLunch

                    Yes! We went to Louisiana Purchase for my hubby's b-day in February and he really enjoyed the ribs there. Fall-off-the-bone and a good boozy BBQ sauce. Great atmosphere, good dishes all around.

                    1. re: egirlwonder

                      Thanks for this egirl. We've gone there a few times and love the jambalaya. I would so try the ribs there now or at least get hubby to order them and I'll snag one to try :)

                  3. I am not a huge chain fan, but I to admit I really enjoy the ribs at any Earls in the city (edmonton). The slaw is great too. We are today making the ribs in the recipe linked above...they are cooking as I type...can't wait to try them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodiesnorth

                      let me know how they work out for you. I really enjoyed them!