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Jun 19, 2008 09:25 AM

Vintage Chophouse changes - Calgary

I've been a big fan of Vintage since I first tried it in 2006. I've noticed that over the past year or so, it's gone through a ton of changes. I'm going back this Sunday and was wondering if anyone has been there very recently and can give some opinion on the changes?

First off, they took their delicious prime rib off the menu last time I went. When I asked the waiter, he said that management had considered the variables and that prime rib was not a traditional "chophouse" entree so they would axe it. I was disappointed, but we ordered the Canadian Prime filet mignon and striploin, and both were amazing. Especially the filet mignon - that's always been another highlight of the restaurant to me.

Now looking at the menu, they've removed the filet mignon and the ONLY steak they serve that is certified Canadian Prime is the striploin. They now have a 40 day aged Crystal Creek Ranch beef tenderloin, 40 day Crystal Creek Ribeye, 40 day Spring Creek Ranch Flat Iron, an American Kobe Top Sirloin, and a 28 day Black Angus Cowboy Rib Chop for 2.

I'm all for supporting local ranchers (the top sirloin aside), and I think it's great there's such a push in this city to serve high-quality Alberta beef at all sorts of restaurant.

Having said that, the biggest appeal of Vintage to me was that it served Canadian Prime beef (although Bear's Den also apparently does?). And they took away our beloved filet mignon and prime rib on top of that.

I look forward to going back, but I'm more than a bit concerned and skeptical.

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  1. Having not tried the new local-focused offerings, I can't judge if this is a move forward or backward. I am quite disappointed at the removal of the prime rib--this was really the one thing I enjoyed most about Vintage, and felt they did exceedingly well and better than other restaurants. I, too, am interested to hear any news about the behind-the-scenes decisions in the shift.

    1. Vintage was one of our favorite restaurants until a year ago that is when we saw lots of changes. The prime rib was also my favorite thing on the menu and I was disappointed they took it off.
      But the one thing that really go me was the new pricing. We looked at going and a Steak was $44 and now no sides included. They even charge for any sauces I believe $4. When we looked with sharing an appetizer and desert it was going to be about $75 each pre drink. Personally after the last two dinners not worth it. If you do go would like to hear your thoughts on if this is worth the money.

      1. Bear's Den does serve Prime (though they list it as AAAA). I really enjoyed Vintage as well, but was a bit sticker shocked when i first saw the menu changes. The 28 day dry aged Cowboy Rib Chop looks promising though!

        2 Replies
        1. re: yen

          Tried the 28 day dry aged rib chop tonight. At $80 for a 34 ounce serving (with bone!) for 2, it is definitely on the pricey side. The meat itself was fairly flavourful, but not quite as good as other dry aged beef i've had. Probably needed another 7 days of aging. The disappointing part was the tenderness. It wasnt. Slightly overcooked, and far too firm. After resting, they precut the steak for us, which was also a bit annoying. Service was good, sides were good (roasted fingerlings and asparagus), but definitely pricey at $9 a side.

          Wet-aged 40 day ribeye really doesnt do much for me. Neither do any of their other choices other than maybe the prime striploin. I've tried it and i can conclusively say, i'd rather BBQ at home still.

          1. re: yen

            i may have had the the 34 oz the same nite you did, yen. made a reso for 9pm on a saturday nite. was greeted by a young lady that seemed overwhelmed with the role as a hostess. partly due to her lack of experience. she should be working at cactus not here. was lead to a half empty lounge and a few empty tables in the dining area.

            glad i wasnt the only one that felt the aging wasnt quite there. IMHO, didnt seem like the rib chop was dry aged 28 days. mine was over medium rare that i ordered. my guest made a comment and they took it back and had it remade. they brought it out with all the sides that we ordered. said it was part of the experience. personally i would never complain about the doneness and expect it redone. but my guest did to my dismay.
            anyways back to Vintage. i had the ceasar, ribchop for two(black angus), potato gallette(with bacon and farm egg), mushrooms and cream spinach. they had their first run of new desserts that nite apparently. so tried the mascorpone apple tart with buttermilk icecream and caramel.
            the ceasar salad was served 'new school' using diagonally slices hearts of romaine. the dressing was bland if compared to the old school Hy's made at ur table caesar dressing of freshly crushed garlic, anchovies, yolk and olive oil(dont think Hy's does it like that anymore). but was complimentary to the romaine's flavorless heart. pretty sure not worth the 12 bucks( i think ).
            the main course angus beef was served pre-sliced. i understand the need for presentation. but last i check, letting meat(including steak) 'rest' prevents additional lost of moisture and flavor. imho, if you were to charge $80 for rib steak, you can train your server to cut it tableside if you have to. the beef itself was tender and flavorfull. like yen our steak arrived over the doneness requested. it really isnt hard to cook a steak. the restaurant wasnt busy. hire a better broil cook, personally i was happy enough to accept the steak as is. but for some reason my guest needed to blurt some dissasticfaction. i'd warned him what was about to happen. as predicted, the manager had to make a table call. in this instance, the manager was excellent as was our server all night. they recooked a new steak. warned that it would take about 20 minutes wait time. and the steak would be cooked rare.
            they also remade all the side dishes so they were hot and added to our dining experience. that was nice, as was the comp dessert. which we only found out when we got the bill. as for the side dishes; the side mush was nice albeit lacks seasoning. and NOT greasy. the potato gallete was baked in a little cast iron skillet, topped with cripy bacon and a over easy farm egg. the yolk on the egg indicated a farm fresh egg. the liquid yolk nicely complemented the rich mixture of potatoes and bacon. the cream spinach used fresh spinach(i still see restaurant's that use frozen) sauteed in fresh chopped garlic and heavy cream. simple and to the point. overall the side dishes was lightly seasoned as was the ceasar dressing. i think that is nice and healthier. but the steak was well seasoned which complimented the meal.
            dessert was interesting. mascorpone cheese on a cold mealy pie dough toped with thinly slice apples lightly cooked in sugar and cinnamon. house made buttermilk ice cream sat on top of the perfectly sliced apple. with a side of warm caramel sauce. personally i prefer my apple pies ala mode where the pie is warm and the ice cream cold. the temperature of this dessert left me dissapointed. everthing was cold and the warm caramel wasnt hot enough to offset the cold pie dough.

            bottom line on this nite; the beef is good. unfortunately the managing, handling, and cooking did not justify the price charged. our server this nite was prompt, courteous and attentive without intruding. ditto the manager(though i am sure he was disspointed with the overdone steak). i would return to vintage again. but not anytime soon.... .
            total bill was under a hair under $200 for two with a couple glasses of red wine. food 6.5/10 , service 7.5/10 , value for money 4/10 overall 6/10