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Calgary Dining Week prospects?

So - as the resident Calgarian, (and good eater) of a work group that's getting together in Calgary next week, I need to handle dinner arrangements on Tuesday.

Since it happens to coincide with Dining Week, it’d be good to support one of the restaurants that are participating.

As previously posted by another chowhounder, the Penny Lane menus look like a pass. (c’mon… Oreo Cheesecake on the $85 gourmet menu?)

But what looks good for a group of ~8 with a range of tastes…?

I’m thinking the Piq Niq menu looks appealing… http://www.dineoutcalgary.com/menus/P....

I also haven’t tried Bali Restaurant Indonesia in a while…
http://www.dineoutcalgary.com/menus/b...

And, I have yet to go to Jaro Blue… (http://www.dineoutcalgary.com/menus/J...)

Any opinions?
Where are Calgary chowhounders going during Dining Week?

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  1. myself and the boy are going to blink on monday. that's it this time, it's the only place we wanted to go that we haven't been to before. jaro blue is a good choice, maybe bonterra? http://www.dineoutcalgary.com/menus/b...

    2 Replies
    1. re: pants

      I have enjoyed the food at Piq niq, however I have not been there for a couple of years. What makes Piq Niq so great IMHO, is the jazz club Beat Niq, located in the basement. If there is a band the night you are looking at, make sure you get tix..they rarely disappoint there!

      1. re: cleopatra999

        This year is a bit different. They offered a "fine dining" option at $85 per person for 3 courses and it seems that restaurants can just say "We are fine dining for this event". The $85 menu is only offered for the 11th and 12th of March as far as I understand. It amazes me that so many restaurants have not participated for lunch. It is a week to showcase a restaurants talents to people who may not dine there because they think it's too expensive or the look of the room does not intrigue them.
        Take advantage restaurants!!! Impress people that may not EVER come through your doors because they have been poisoned by the odd bad comment that a diner may have had.

    2. Sadly, I have no plans! I would highly recommend Jaro Blue. It is one of my favourites. I also like Piq Niq. My thought would be to try the resto in the Kensington Inn, can't remember the name. It is operated by the Torode group - Raw Bar...

      4 Replies
      1. re: sarah galvin

        Be sure to reserve at Jaroblue, 37 seats will fill up fast! I love Jaroblue, people that decided that they didn't want to work for office chair Executive Chefs and sloppy front end service managers opened this place. It is professional, knowledgeable service (We love you Ron!) and the bartender Travis is amazing!

        1. re: sarah galvin

          Kensington Riverside Inn/Chefs Table at Kensington Inn
          The restaurant used to be only open to guests of the Inn (under the previous owners). Not sure if the policy has changed or if it is just for Dine Out Calgary.
          Checked the website http://www.kensingtonriversideinn.com and it is open to the public now.
          "The new 32-seat upscale restaurant, Chef’s Table at Kensington Riverside Inn will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests staying at the Inn as well as for the public. The room itself will feature an open kitchen design where diners can witness the talents of Executive Chef Theo Yeaman and his team at work. Décor will include dark brown Poltrona Frau leather chairs from Italy; white Frette linen tablecloths; a stylish and distinctive navy-blue Carostan carpet; and rich estate grey walls with semi-gloss metropolis grey trim."

            1. re: sarah galvin

              I dropped in for the lunch @ the Chef's Table.
              Overall the meal was very good.
              The salad was served in the middle of a very large plate which I personally dislike as a presentation affectation but the crispy lardons and roquefort dressing made up for it.
              The seared chicken breast was very moist and tender. To me, this was a very large serving which makes me happy because I don't like the tiny overpriced portions that you might get elsewhere.
              Dessert was the ginger creme brule. I found it to be a little to gingery for my taste but I love the crispy topping and didn;t need much encouragement to shovel it down.
              Minor/Other:
              I wasn't offered the wine menu to look at - even though I would not have ordered wine, I should have been shown the list.
              The room was about half full but I found it to be a little noisy - just my personal preference.
              All the diners ended up being seated away from the kitchen - I an not sure whether this is by design or not especially if part of the cachet is to see the kitchen in action.
              I took a glimpse at the regular menu - appetizers $8-10, entrees $20-30.
              Worth repeating but not on my own next time.

        2. We had our dinner at Blink last night - it was very good. I was quite surprised that it wasn't busier, I know it was a monday but this event is a good value.

          Anyhow, I started off with the puree of squash varietals - delicious, a little sweet, served nice and hot, quite rich. The boy had the salad w/sylvan star grizzly gouda, he said it was good, had a nice light vinaigrette. We both had the red wine braised short rib and it was delicious, mashed potatoes could have been better, they may have come from the day before...but that's a very minor compaint. We finished with creme brulee - this is a lot of food at this point, they didn't cut their portions as many restaurants in vancouver do for a similar event - i enjoyed the creme brulee, but the boy thought the dish was too deep. He likes the crunchy top layer and I prefer the inside, so judge for yourself accordingly :) We had a lovely wine from Austrailia, Jim Barry Cover Drive Cab Sauvignon, delicious! Service was good, the room is nice but they need to dim the lights a bit, too bright - I would go back for their regular menu, it wasn't as expensive as i expected.

          Too bad more restaurants aren't involved - we had a great meal at Tribune last year and they aren't participating. I really don't understand the "fine dining" $85 dollar business, to me that defeats the spirit and purpose of the event. Hopefully more places join in next year.

          4 Replies
          1. re: pants

            We were there too. Were we sitting next to you? I think Chowhounders need a secret ID signal or something.

            We had the beet salad (just lovely) with goat cheese and the Sylvan Star gouda salad (really refreshing). The appetizers started us off well.

            But then the kitchen misplaced our order apparently and there was quite a wait for mains. The service was, however, top notch.

            The braised short rib was OK - my fiance felt it was akin to a good pot roast - and the mashed potatoes were meh.

            My seared arctic char on a potato galette was also good but didn't blow me away.

            Creme brulee was quite good but the sticky toffee pudding - heavy with dark molasses - was too much for my taste.

            I really like the room and the service was great. We picked Blink out of the other restaurants because their Dine Out menu was at least more adventurous than risotto and chicken.

            I'd consider their promotion a success because I would go back to try their main menu.

            1. re: alau2

              we all need to wear some kind of sign, like something bright red or orange :)

              we were sitting near the front on the right side (if your walking into the restaurant) no one next to us and we were beside a build out of wood before the seats that go to the front window.

              1. re: pants

                lol maybe a fork & knife lapel pin or bumper stickers that say Live To Eat ;)

                We could also help each other connect the dots on the facebook group ...connecting CH names to names/faces irl other than say John that is :)

                1. re: pants

                  Ah. We were in the middle on the left side, opposite the bar.

            2. Wildwood has a lunch special for only $15. Has anyone been there?

              6 Replies
              1. re: sarah galvin

                Just to let everyone know, when you are doing the DT dining week, make sure to ask for a copy of the menu to take a peak.

                I know three of the restaurant in town that doing the DTDW's meun are 10-15 dollars more expensive than the regular menu items combine.

                Just my 2 cent

                1. re: wine guru

                  at blink they gave us their regular menu as well - i think in case we changed our minds

                  1. re: wine guru

                    So we had our dinner at Escoba on Tues night. Two of us ordered the fixed $35 menu. I didn't see the "gourmet" menu but also didn’t ask for it. The other 7 folks (mostly out-of-towners) ordered from the menu and really enjoyed their selections.

                    Set menu was

                    -Escoba Salad
                    -Stuffed Chicken (Moist, tender & flavourful but didn’t really taste the Feta & fennel sausage; but Gorgonzola smashed potatoes were lovely with just the right balance of cheese.)
                    -Chocolate Mousse (was straightforward and delish though it was served on a giant puff pastry crouton which was kinda weird and didn’t mesh texture wise)

                    PS. If you’re in a local resto that has chorizo on the menu (in Escoba’s case one of the appies) wouldn’t you want it to be homemade or at least from Spolumbo or Valbella? Or is it OK to be serving Freybe chorizo?

                    1. re: specialk

                      Freybe chorizo? You're kidding right?

                    2. We went to Simone's Bistro on 10 Ave & just past 5 Street (next to the scary looking liquor store and just south of the tracks). I heard some good things from people, so was rather excited to actually be inside the also somewhat scary looking building.

                      It was decorated quite nicely - almost like being in a friend's living room. Lots of lower seated couches / leather arm chairs (though I'm not a fan while dining, it looked great and not too awkward for other patrons), wooden cabinets / fixtures, and some very modern looking 'chandeliers' that bring the ceiling down to a very relaxed atmosphere. I think they probably dry walled the place to death, but matched with some comfortable shade of curtains - very welcoming all in all. Good size dining area, some corners for privacy available, probably a good 6-7 parties for a Wednesday evening by 6:30 pm. Not bad.

                      $35 menu consisted of:

                      Appies: Grilled peaches and proscuitto (nice combo, too bad peaches aren't actually in season) and pumpkin seed crusted goat's cheese (too much oil in the frying pan, and not seared enough to bring the aroma of pumpkin seeds out) with a lovely apple & fennel lacking salad.
                      Main: Crab / seafood risotto - Very nice (but I should've known, I always like my risotto over al dente - is there a phrase for that?) and a pretty awesome tasting stuffed chicken breast that was baked, then roasted slightly - very lovely taste. I always have a problem when pairing an obvious non-asian meal w/ asian greens, but hey, looked nice, I guess.
                      Dessert: To literally roll over and die for Sticky Toffee Pudding. A pretty home-grown, classic (not classical) way to end the meal, with an enormous portion of such decadence!

                      I would go back just for the dessert alone, but the meal was pretty good. Good place for a casual meal on a weekday. Jazz available on wkends, I believe. Good place for lunch, if available. I think our server was new, but nice.