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Milestones in Calgary - Worst Calamari Ever?

I had been avoiding Milestones (Downtown) since they came to Calgary, but as luck would have it, someone was leaving work, and they chose Milestones for their final lunch.

Scanning their menu, looked like a lot of potential, but the execution didn't follow.

I've had mediocre meals in the past little while, but I hadn't been compelled to post about them (Gunkan Sushi being one of them). That changed after our lunch experience at Milestones.

We shared the "Crispy Calamari with Andouille Sausage" which is supposed to be "Thinly-sliced calamari steak topped with spicy sausage tomato caper salsa, preserved lemon aioli".

The calamari came out like thick-cut french fries, coated in some sort of cornmeal coating. It apparently got fried for a little too long, since the coating tasted burnt, and the squid was a bit on the chewy side. Worse, the coating and the squid together just tasted awful. We all had one piece and said that something was wrong. It couldn't be saved by the salsa (which had no sausage in it) or the aioli (which was OK).

We flagged the server down and got him to take it back and get it redone. Attempt two simply confirmed our fears. The calamari was now cooked to proper spec, and was now merely...non-descript. Absolutely no flavor. Cardinal sin. And the mouth-feel of the cornmeal coating was still bad. And still no sausage in the salsa. At $10 a pop, I just felt cheated. Nor did the server come back to check up on us.

This did nothing to get our hopes up for the rest of lunch. I had the Thai Chicken Tacos, which was OK. Grilled chicken skewers with Asian slaw on little naan bread, with a mango vinaigrette & peanut dipping sauces. Could have been much better, but it was at least way more edible than the calamari. Same feeling applied to the dishes everyone else was eating. We'll take our small blessings and get out while the getting was good...

Maybe it was just today or maybe it's just me, but I expected more. I prefer posting about good or interesting food experiences, but this particular experience was so bad (not only for me, but everyone at our table), I had to document it. It just raises my ire to have a upscale chain delivering bad food at high prices.

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  1. I have had an amazing turkey sandwich on sourdough cranberry bread at Milestones.

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      1. Dunno about high prices - unless it's changed in the past few months I found Milestones to be pretty inexpensive - $10 for a calamari app is not high priced, at least not downtown. I've only been about 3 times over the last 2 years but I've always found it to be pretty good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hsk

          In hindsight, $10 is not a bad price for calamari, but price wasn't the biggest aspect of my experience - the taste was...

          I know I'm bashing Milestones, and there are probably a lot of supporters - like I said it was my first time there and it looked good, but a bad dish will always leave a bad first impression (at least for me). Oh well, c'est la vie. I'll chalk it up to the everchanging personnel in Calgary's kitchens...

        2. I went to one in Victoria (Millstream) recently and I thought the Thai Chicken Tacos were great. Then again, I got them to bring out cilantro and extra lime.

          I also got their "Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad." That was actually one of the better Ceasar salads I've had, since almost every restaurant has it, and few do it well.

          But you know, different city, different employees.

          3 Replies
          1. re: miss_bennet

            I've been to Milestones in Calgary a few times and have been generally happy with the food and prices.

            I went to Mile 1 Urban Tavern with a large group a few weeks ago. We ordered a bunch of appies including calamari. What they served would get my vote for worst calamari I have had in Calgary. Frozen rings thrown in the deep fryer, very salty, and very chewy.

            1. re: djdragan

              Totally in agreement with you about the worst calamari ever. Then again i shouldn't have expected much from an "urban tavern".

            2. re: miss_bennet

              coming from vancouver(land of milestones) it tastes fairly similar here. i've never had the calamari - there food in general isn't usually bad but i think i've been there too many times over the years and can taste it before i order - we only go there for brunch if Avenue diner is too lined up - unfortunately they've cut their brunch menu down to nothing, it used to be much better.

            3. Thanks for the review. Although I'm in Edmonton and hubby and I frequent Milestone's 4 or 5 times a year we have never ordered the calamari. But, that is definately something we would order if we were getting an app. Most of the time we've had pretty good food there. But, like miss_bennet said "But you know, different city, different employees."

              Now Montanas (same company) that is another story....gahhhhh

              4 Replies
              1. re: livetocook

                Montanas and Milestone are from the same company??

                1. re: sleepycat

                  Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, Milestone's, Montanas and Kelsey's are all part of the Cara Company.

                  1. re: GaryR

                    Yup - the fine people that bring us our airplane meals also bring us these other establishments :)

                    1. re: yen

                      Is that what they do with the leftovers from the resturants?... just kidding. I never knew these tid bits.