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Kensington Riverside Inn

a
Albertagirl May 23, 2008 08:33 AM

Anyone tried this yet? We are going tonight. I've heard good things. Will post back on it later this weekend.

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  1. higgika May 23, 2008 08:48 AM

    I am so glad that you are going. Can't wait to hear. This has definitely been on my list since they opened but just haven't made it yet.

    4 Replies
    1. re: higgika
      sweeterpea May 23, 2008 01:03 PM

      Friends of ours stayed there a while back and loved it. Would like to hear a recent report to see if it's still good.

      1. re: sweeterpea
        John Manzo May 23, 2008 04:31 PM

        AG is, I think referring to the new resto there.

        1. re: John Manzo
          sweeterpea May 23, 2008 05:55 PM

          Ah, ok. Well, it will be nice to have a great meal and stagger to your room. I await a report!

          1. re: John Manzo
            higgika May 24, 2008 06:13 PM

            I was referring the restaurant. From all accounts the accommodations are outstanding. Just haven't heard anything since the resto opened.

      2. a
        Albertagirl May 26, 2008 10:46 AM

        Here's the scoop on our dinner at KRI last Friday.
        Six of us had the tasting menu, which was six courses. You can add a cheese course for an extra charge. You can also wine pairings for each course. We signed up for everything!
        Himache Tuna with shaved fennel, pickled ginger and pomegranate juice. We all felt this was flat; a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of salt would have finished this. The fish was fresh.
        Dungeness Crab Salad with heirloom tomato water, melon and micro herbs. This was beautifully plated, with a quenelle of the crab, the herbs and tiny cubes of perfectly ripe watermelon. Our server poured the tomato water over all at the table. Although I found the quenelle a bit "eggy" with the whites that I'm sure were used to bind it, this was a delicious and nicely balanced plate.
        Baby Purple Artichokes with Pecorino, frisee, and lemon caper dressing. This was a rustic, perfect combination. We asked for bread to clean our plates.
        Charred Pacific Octopus with Sicilian olives, grilled fennel, sweet garlic and preserved lemon. Like the artichoke dish, this showed a deft hand at understanding flavors and combining them to maximum effect. I have to admit this style; rustic Mediterranean, is a favorite of ours. Really good!
        Pan Seared Pheasant Breast with asparagus, morels, and Ratte potato. We all agreed this was the best pheasant any of us had ever eaten. The skin was crispy, yet the meat was tender and juicy. The fresh morels, asparagus and potatoes, were all very good, and the sauce was delicious.
        House Made Ricotta Mousse with Okanagan cherries, lemon curd and thyme was perfect to finish. The tartness of the cherries and curd played off the creamy ricotta.
        The accompanying wines all worked well. Our service was first-rate. All would definitely go back. (it was the fifth time there for one of the couples!)
        Chef Theo Yeaman is one to watch!

        7 Replies
        1. re: Albertagirl
          John Manzo May 26, 2008 11:33 AM

          ooooooooooohhhhhhhh morels :-)

          so... what was the damage? How about w/o wine pairings or cheese course?

          1. re: John Manzo
            a
            Albertagirl May 26, 2008 12:05 PM

            Tasting menu - $95, Cheese course $20, Wine Pairing - $60
            My guy, who is much more knowledgeable in the wine department, looked over the wine list and felt they had some good selections, and that they were very fairly priced.

            1. re: Albertagirl
              John Manzo May 26, 2008 02:05 PM

              $95 for six solid courses sounds like a good deal indeed.

              How was the octopus?

              1. re: John Manzo
                a
                Albertagirl May 26, 2008 09:52 PM

                The octopus was (on my plate) a beautiful curled end tendril. I'm a fan of octopus, and could have had more, but it was treated as one of the components of the plate, not the star. Tender tho..., and nicely charred.

          2. re: Albertagirl
            h
            Hart50 May 26, 2008 12:45 PM

            Thanks for the review! Is this the Inn around the corner from Muse on Memorial?

            1. re: Hart50
              John Manzo May 26, 2008 02:06 PM

              that's it- now managed by Hotel Arts group.

              1. re: John Manzo
                h
                Hart50 May 26, 2008 04:05 PM

                Thanks!

          3. s
            slingshotz May 28, 2008 09:18 AM

            We went there during Dine Out Calgary and found it to be a very enjoyable place. It's also nice and intimate where almost everyone has a good view of the kitchen. Nice watching the relaxed kitchen and see how things are prepared with care. The food was very good and reasonably priced. The chef has good credentials working at the Fat Duck and Lumiere.

            1. John Manzo Jun 1, 2008 09:15 AM

              We had our 13th anniversary dinner there last night- same menu as AG- it was INCREDIBLE! One of the best meals of my life with service that was nothing but stunningly good. I'll post a big entry to my blog later today, with lots of pics.

              2 Replies
              1. re: John Manzo
                a
                Albertagirl Jun 2, 2008 10:42 PM

                Hey John,
                Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did.
                Happy Anniversary!

                1. re: Albertagirl
                  John Manzo Jun 3, 2008 08:35 AM

                  I owe you a big thank-you for posting you review, AG, since that was what motivated our visit.

                  A note to all: the tasting menu will change every two weeks.

              2. h
                Hart50 Jun 8, 2008 07:30 AM

                I had dinner there on Friday and would concur with the rave reviews. Great ambience, food and service. My dining companion wasn't up for the Tasting Menu and so we ordered off the a la carte menu. We had the the Braised Shortrib Ravioli and Tomato Salad for appys and the Halibut and Pheasant for mains and they were all sublime. I also got some intel that the Hotel Arts Group will be opening an Italian restaurant in the Ariva Condo complex near the Stampede grounds.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Hart50
                  John Manzo Jun 8, 2008 08:38 AM

                  Yep, Olives Bistro. There's a glam new wine shop at Arriva too, we stopped by yesterday.

                  We ended up at the Chef's Table again Wednesday- long story but it was spur of the moment- and this time we ordered a la carte too; I had the ravioli (soon to disappear as it's "a winter dish") and the "surf and turf" with scallops and pork belly, and I think I've found my favourite resto in the city.

                  1. re: Hart50
                    j
                    jmbcalgary Jul 23, 2008 01:10 PM

                    Yes, Olives Bistro is now open in the Arriva building in Victoria Park. I ate there last week, and it was good but not outstanding. Quite expensive, staff wasn't very knowledge, but the food was pretty good. I was talking to an employee in the wine store next door, and he said they were supposedly opening a more fine dining Italian place on the second floor later this year.

                  2. b
                    BigBrocktoon Jun 17, 2008 07:00 PM

                    Hi guys, long time lurker, natural-born foodie.

                    Anyway, had to chime in on KRI, as we were there last Friday.

                    We live in Hillhurst, so we have been excited about trying this venue for a long time.

                    I'm a huge fan of tasing menus, but for whatever reason, I did not feel I had it in me that night, so we settled for a la carte.

                    We started with an in-house smoked salmon. Very pretty, with a glass-like sheen and translucency, not too salty.

                    Had a very tasty, but otherwise unremarkable tomato salad next. Both of these were split, and served as nicely paced seperate courses, both consumed with a bottle of Prosecco.

                    I had the lamb, paired with a nice Australian Cab, by the glass. The lamb comes in two styles, a confit/braise shank (I think) and some sort of vaccu-poached chop eyes. The braise was perfect, but the other cut was just a touch over-done for me. There is no choice of doneness, just "chef knows best".

                    My wife had the Halibut, paired with Kim Crawford Sav Blanc, which sounds like a great combo, but the fish was a little overpowered by the added tripple smoked bacon, and could have taken a bolder wine.

                    We finished with a cheese course, and a bottle of the Lambic beer they had for the tasting menu. I was not in a Port mood, and thought a nice cherry belgian would be just the ticket. Alas, all they had was fraise, while a bit sweet, was a shocking foil to the blue cheese choice.

                    All told we were pretty happy with our meal. At $280 w/grat it was a reasonable price, the pacing was perfect, the room was neat, but the "Kitchen Stadium" layout means that you do get some grilling smoke, and cooking heat in the dining room, just be warned.

                    Hope this helps!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BigBrocktoon
                      maplesugar Jun 17, 2008 10:18 PM

                      Thanks BigBrocktoon and Welcome to the Board :)

                    2. j
                      jmbcalgary Jul 22, 2008 08:00 AM

                      We went there last night to celebrate a friends birthday. John Gilchrist reviewed it this past Friday and said it was the best meal he had eaten in Calgary this year. I read the reviews on here also, and was excited to try it. I think Chefs Table for the most part is a great find, my only real complaint was the lack of air conditioning. It was 29 degrees outside when we arrived last night, and it was almost as warm in the dining area. I'm not sure if the A/C just wasn't working or whether they don't have it - but either way it made the experience less enjoyable than it could have been. That said, everything else about the experience was excellent. The service is really top notch, and the staff are friendly and very knowledgeable about food and wine. We didn't all feel like we were up for the tasting menu, so we ordered a la carte. The amuse bouche was a sushi style piece of salmon with a bit of sausage mixture on top, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil - really delicious. For a starter I ordered the crab bisque (Gilchrist raved about it) and thought it was really good. They served the bowl with the crab and mascarpone in a beautiful white bowl, then pour the broth on afterward. Very flavourful broth, and the mascarpone give it the richness of bisque. For my main course, I had the pheasant which was really fantastic. Crispy skin, tender meat, perfectly seasoned. The portions are not huge, but not too small either. I am not a big dessert fan, but my partner ordered the strawberry soup which I had a taste of and was really good.

                      All in all, I highly recommend this restaurant - it is now on my top 5 list for Calgary. Capo still holds the number 1 spot, but this was right up there.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: jmbcalgary
                        John Manzo Jul 22, 2008 09:45 AM

                        good headsup on the AC- it's a southern exposure in the dining room too so it must get warm, and this summer hasn't even been close to hot in Calgary. We have some serious foodies visiting from TO the first week of September and it should be perfect then.

                        1. re: John Manzo
                          j
                          jmbcalgary Jul 23, 2008 08:48 AM

                          We seemed to pick the hottest day of the year for sure. I find it hard to believe that a hotel and restaurant of that calibre would not have AC, so perhaps it just wasn't working. I didn't want to make a big deal of it at the time, as we were there to celebrate a birthday and didn't want to detract from that. I will call and check before going again on a warm day. September will be perfect, even without AC. I would like to try sitting out on the patio in the fall. Too many mosquitos in the summer though.

                          1. re: jmbcalgary
                            s
                            Suzi Edwards Nov 24, 2008 07:47 PM

                            Executive Chef Theo Yeaman has cooked in some interesting-sounding places I have never eaten at in Canada and has done a stage at the Fat Duck in Bray, where I have. His restaurant, Chef’s Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn, was just named the fourth best new restaurant in Canada by AirCanada’s enRoute magazine. It would appear I get all my best tips from airline magazines these days.

                            Let’s get the quibbles out of the way first. The table was booked for 8.15pm, but I wasn’t seated until 9pm. There are two dining rooms, one with a fabulous open kitchen, the other with a fabulous…open fireplace. I was sat in the latter. Now, I recognize that being dateless in Calgary on a Saturday night is probably reason enough to throw yourself in the Bow River, but the restaurant staff didn’t help matters by seating me, back to the rest of the room, next to the fire. Talk about being a social pariah. Luckily I was moved, without having to ask, when I took out my camera.

                            The service was a bit wonky all night. I like informal; I don’t like being asked how my food is tasting when I have a mouthful of it or trying to give some feedback on a dish and being asked if I have eaten monkfish before. But I know I can be a right old grumpy-pants at times, and these are minor compared to some delicious, bold pairings and flavours that made up most of my meal and service that is friendly and warm.

                            First up, an amuse bouche of a teeny two-bite Forme D’Ambert tart, just warm from the oven and formed from deliciously short pastry. Next, an earthy turnip and apple soup, with perky texture and sweetness from some candied walnuts. Yes, they called it a veloutè and yes, it’s not 1998 anymore, but who cares about menu anachronisms when the food’s this good?

                            A Queen Charlotte scallop with blood orange foam, edamame, salmon roe and orange segments really shouldn’t have worked, but did. The Heidi Schrock Weissburgunder which paired it showed the skills of the sommelier and a wine service and kitchen that are working well together. Yeaman’s food uses striking flavours and it’s good to see that the wine service is up to the task.

                            The fish course was the only bum note of the evening. The preparation was interesting; roasted Atlantic monkfish with beef jus and a take on cassoulet with some cannellini beans and pancetta, but the fish was mealy and poorly cooked. It’s a shame that the quality of the fish and the execution let the dish down, because I’m often bored to death by the fish course on a tasting menu and this was genuinely interesting.

                            Then, deep breath, an “intermezzo” of blood peach sorbet with a dash of prosecco. I was ready to be all scathing (seriously, when was the last time you were served a sorbet in the middle of the meal? Were you wearing legwarmers at the time?) but the sorbet had bags of flavour and I liked the deconstructed Bellini thing that was going on. So I stopped complaining and embraced my inner Irene Cara.

                            Next up, Ewenique farm lamb saddle with panella, roasted eggplant and a thyme jus. Served with a 2005 Poggio di Sotto Rosso di Montalcino, this was Italy on a plate. I’d never heard of panella before (and my interweb research suggests that it’s traditionally a Sicilian chickpea fritter, rather than the chickpea and polenta purée I was served) but how lovely when you learn something new from a menu. Especially when it tastes this delicious. The lamb was just fab, although any pun as good as Ewenique is going to get me on-side from the get-go.

                            Finally, some doughnuts with a compote and an exceptional custard. I would have lingered over the lingonberries, but the table of dentists next to me were getting kind of graphic, so I brushed off offers of a cappuccino (a cappuccino? At 11pm? Do I look like a hairdresser?) and made off into the night.

                            Best meal I’ve had in Calgary? By a long shot. Good enough for me to go back soon. The tasting menu changes fortnightly. This could be the beginning of a beautiful thing.

                            1. re: Suzi Edwards
                              John Manzo Nov 24, 2008 09:02 PM

                              Suzi, my partner and I were there too- on Saturday night even! Our intermezzo was PEAR sorbet with proseco- otherwise, all was the same (of course, since we were also having the tasting menu) and I agree with your assessment beginning to end. Our problem with the monkfish was actually the chorizo lardons (we thought it was bacon/pancetta too so maybe the menu was wrong- chorizo would have been better methinks)- they were too salty. But the lamb was orgasmic. Mesmerizing.

                              1. re: John Manzo
                                s
                                Suzi Edwards Nov 25, 2008 07:01 AM

                                What a small world! You weren't with the dentists, were you????

                                I just checked the menu and it does say chorizo on that. I was just so sure it was pancetta that I didn't even query it. The waiter told me it was a take on cassoulet, with pancetta and beans. Bet the menu is just a typo as you wouldn't make cassoulet with chorizo.

                                1. re: Suzi Edwards
                                  John Manzo Nov 25, 2008 07:26 AM

                                  Well, you wouldn't normally make cassoulet with monkfish either! But yes, I agree, it had to have been a typo or a missed call that they corrected, but to our taste, over-corrected.

                                  Not with the dentists- we were a very early table, in at 6 and out around 8. So we'd have missed you. FYI we've dined there 4 times and have never had to wait for our table, but we almost always dine early too.

                      2. l
                        Local Cook Jun 2, 2009 02:52 AM

                        I had one of my best Calgary dining experiences at the Chef's Table in the Kensington Riverside Inn last week. The room was ok but the food and service was near flawless.

                        1. alau2 Nov 27, 2009 02:27 PM

                          Does anyone know who the current chef is? The website says it's Duncan Ly but the tasting menu says it's Jeff Park. And what happened to Theo Yeaman?
                          I'm thoroughly confused.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: alau2
                            TSAW Nov 27, 2009 04:48 PM

                            I thought Duncan Ly was at the Hotel Arts Raw Bar?

                            1. re: alau2
                              maplesugar Nov 27, 2009 07:52 PM

                              I just checked ChefDb and they also list Jeff Park as Executive Chef. I'm guessing the change was rather recent. Nothing new listed for Yeaman though so maybe they're in transition?

                              1. re: alau2
                                alau2 Dec 7, 2009 07:12 AM

                                They finally updated their website with a bio for new chef Jeff Park at the Chef's Table. We went there last month and it was impeccable.
                                http://www.kensingtonriversideinn.com...

                                1. re: alau2
                                  John Manzo Dec 7, 2009 08:06 AM

                                  hope Theo stays in Calgary...

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