Rush in Calgary?
I haven't been there personally, but I have a coworker who went (it's at the foot of our building). She said that the food was very good, but it had the typical Calgary corporate (read: expense account) price tag. I think she said lunch was over $200 for 3 people (including a bottle of wine).
Went to Rush for lunch yesterday, a group of five people. Here are my impressions. As we approached the doorway a hostess, dressed in a simple black dress without too much leg or cleavage showing, immediately came forward to open it for us. We were then greeted by the maitre’d and shown to our table (table 12 apparently the favorite of our server). The space is quite lovely – very similar to Seven, but in blacks, however it did not seem dark at all. The tables have a fair bit of space between them.
The menu is all prix fixe with two courses for $30 and three courses for $38. It appeared that all wines come by the glass, I didn’t see any bottles on the menu, but there may be a wine menu that we didn’t see. There were four choices for appetizer: Pea and Coconut Bisque, Vegetable Salad, Goat Cheese and Beet Tart and Carbonara Risotto. The entree choices were: Milk-fed Pig with peas and apples, Salmon, Mushroom Ragout Pasta and Braised Short Ribs. I don’t remember all of the deserts, but there was something chocolate, something vanilla, something peach and one other – maybe mocha? All of the dishes were described better than I have.
We were all started with an amuse bouche of white cheddar crackers and then given some beautiful bread. Two of us had the tart to start, two had the risotto and one had the vegetable salad. All of the appetizers were beautifully presented. The tart (which I had) was lovely, the base was phyllo off of which the subtleness of the cheese and the sweetness of the beets played beautifully. The risotto was declared wonderful – one of the people eating it is an extremely picky eater (read steak sandwich – medium well and fries type) who had never had risotto and declared it the best thing ever. The vegetable salad appeared to be a simple green salad, but the diner declared the dressing to be light and tasty.
For mains: two had the braised ribs, two had the pig and I had the mushroom ragout pasta. The pasta was delightful, the mushrooms adding a meatiness to the dish. The pig was declared melt in the mouth tender. Neither of the people eating the ribs finished their dishes declaring that they were too full after the appetizers.
None of us had desserts. Service was attentive throughout with only a couple of small glitches – forgot to bring a drink, gave wine glass to wrong person – no big issues at all. Lunch for five (including quite a few glasses of wine, tip and tax) came to just over $450. Overall we were very pleased and would definitely go back again.
I just went to Rush tonight and had a wonderful time. I decided to write about it while it was still fresh in my mind...
The start was mildly embarrassing. The Maitre De (I think?) noticed the book I had brought with me... a novel by Ruth Reichel... and asked if I was a foodie. I declined the honor, since I'm more or less a dabbler and can't afford to go out that often. He nodded understandingly and agreed that it is a quite expensive hobby. When the waiter came, I ordered the tasting menu.
After that things were great... the water was as good as any mineral water, and they brought out a nice bottle for me. I love the fact that it's free. Expensive mineral waters have always irked me. The amuse bouche was quite... amusing! I remember a little fig with a mousse topping that I quite liked, and crackers that were so cheesy it was surprising.
The bread came after the amuse bouche, and I was given the choice of sourdough or garlic bread. I chose the garlic, and it was delightful to nibble on as I read. The next thing to come was canapes... I wasn't expecting that and it was a pleasant surprise indeed. A little cup with pea and asparagus soup, cold, and a piece of raw salmon with microgreens on top. The pea and asparagus soup was excellent, wonderfully refreshing. So was the salmon, making this small course feel like a ray of sunshine in the day.
Then came my first course. The waiter was slightly concerned that things might be coming to quickly, but I assured him that was quite alright. If someone else had been with me to speak to that might have been different, but I prefer eating to reading.
But the first course... it was the perfect egg. I actually didn't love it. The mousse on top seemed too sweet to me. But I found the presentation so much fun, scooping it out of it's own shell, that that didn't bother me too much. It was a very nice starter to the rest of the meal.
The second course was the sweet corn agnolotti. If I went back, I would ask for this again in a heartbeat. It was so hot it almost burned my mouth, the little pasta squares full of the creamiest filling and wonderfully spiced. This was, hands down, my favorite dish of the evening.
The third course was the only course I really disliked. Shrimp and grits. I've never had grits before so I didn't know what to expect. When I tried them, the gummy texture just didn't appeal to me and something about the sauce reminded me unpleasantly of cheeze whiz. The sausage overtop seemed bland. This might just be me... I think it was perfectly cooked, so perhaps I just can't appreciate grits.
The fourth course perked me back up immediately. Lovely beef over a creamy sauce, with a strange looking mushroom and tomato jam. The waiter told me the kind of mushroom, but alas, I forget. I was worried that the 4 different flavors wouldn't mesh well, but oh they most certainly did! The beef was wonderfully done and every bite was an explosion of flavor. This was my second favorite dish of the evening.
Last but not least was dessert. For the tasting menu, the dessert theme is vanilla. I had a handmade vanilla ice cream over crumbs, vanilla creme brulee and vanilla pudding with mango. The pudding was delicious and the ice cream strongly flavored and creamy, but the brulee was my favorite. The sugar crunched as I pierced it and I savored every morsel. This was my third favorite course of the evening.
But we're not done! After that was the petite fours. ^^ Little pecan squares with a dollup of chocolate that I loved. Strange little puffs of peanut that, after a bit of reflection, I came to love. And the pieces of chocolate brownie that I saved for last and, alas, did not love. Compared to the other two they seemed a bit boring. Next time I'll eat them first.
Overall, I would say this was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. The decor was beautiful, only one course did not suite me, and the service was perfect. The waiter described every course to me as he brought it and he even noticed I didn't like the third. He offered to bring me something else but I declined. Now, you might be asking, how much did all this cost me? 89.25 before tip. Was it worth it? Yes, and I think I'll be doing it again.
I would very much recommend going to Rush.
I went to Rush on Wednesday night with two friends and for the most part it was a superb expereience. First, the good news. This new restaurant is probably the most stunning and gorgeous restaurant Calgary has ever seen. It has a spectacular bar area, cosy and classy dining room, two private dining rooms and a chef's table.
As for the food, we went for the Prix Fix menu ($75 for three courses) and we were not disappointed. In addition, to the very good canapes and amuse bouche that were provided I tried the oysters and caviar (cold appy), seared fois gras (hot appy) and the duck (main course) and all three were delightful. My dining companions were also very pleased with their choices. Their highlights were the Rib-Eye steak, watermellon and crab canneloni and the fricassie of lobster.
Now for the bad news. When we first arrived, we decided to have a drink in the bar before going in for dinner. That was very pleasant but when we were subsequently shown to our table in the dining room we were ignored for what seemed to be about 10 minutes. I finally flagged down a waitress and asked if she could send over our server. Although she seemed a bit surprised by my question she informed me that she was our server and she then took care of us. Although it was not a very good start the service was generally pretty good.
The second problem was the wine pairings ($45 per person) that we ordered with our food. Firstly, when the first course arrived they had forgotten that we had ordered the wine pairings and so there was a delay in getting our first course wine pairing. Not fatal but somewhat annoying. The second problem with the wine pairings was they were rather skimpy on the pours. I'm not suggesting they should fill the glass to the brim but we all thought they were less than generous.
Anyway, notwithstanding the foregoing glitches we had a great evening and Rush is definately a welcome addition to the fine dining scene in Calgary.
Funny you should mention forgetting drinks... on my visit, I was first asked what I wanted by my waiter, and after he had gone a waitress asked if there was anything I wanted to drink. I was a bit surprised but asked for coke, and she never returned. I didn't bother asking my waiter for it because, on reflection, I liked the water better. They must be having a few hiccups in service, probably because it's new.
I think that they are probably suffering from the same affliction that the Calgary Dining scene generally has suffered from over the last couple of years, namely difficulty in getting qualified serving staff. I did, however, talk with the Sommelier(Sp?) and she acknowledged that they were having a few growing pains.
With a restaurant that has so much else good going for it I am prepared at this point to cut them a little slack and I look forward to a return visit.
I think that there may be some confusion as to who is doing what. We were 'touched' 3 times before menus were brought to the table and then only when I asked for them.
During the course of the meal, I think we ended up being served by 4 or 5 people. As a consequence, I don't think any one of them had total responsibility for the table.
I didn't feel better served - I would have been happier with 2 or 3.
A small nit admittedly.
On the positive side, the waiter was someone who had waited on me when I dined at Vintage 4 or 5 months and he remembered. It's nice to be remembered.
Food-wise I would agree with most of what has already been said.
I especially liked the agnoletti and the creme brulee.
However, I thought some of the sides were over-salted in particular the mashed potatoes with the beef main.
I thought it was great but hugely expensive. Very small portions of really good, well-prepared and presented food. Fabulous wine list that starts at about $50 and goes up from there. Very good service, I didn't experience any of the hiccups mentioned in the previous posts. It will do well as a special occasion or expense-account place (it was quite busy when we were there) but it's not a place I'll be going to often.
The menu is online and includes prices so you can check it out before you go, a very nice touch for a high-end place.
I have neglected to report on my experience here recently. My husband and I went for my birthday dinner, and had a fantastic time. I was impressed by the decor and service. When seated we were offered Champagne, which I ordered, and it was served with a complimentary spoon to delight the palate. This was wonderful and a unique experience. We both had the tasting menu and were very impressed. Each course was fantastic. I commented that I would have not ordered some of the dishes from a menu but that was the joy of a tasting menu, you get to try new things and find new favorites.
We found the service to be really good, we have dined at most "top' Calgary restaurants and across North America. Service was flawless. They brought an extra desert course for my birthday and had 'happy birthday' written in chocolate on my sorbet. We had also requested to replace the desert course with a cheese plate and it was a wonderful assortment.
When we got the bill we were both surprised with the total, finding it very reasonable. After dining at Capo just two weeks earlier we found Rush to be a much better experience overall, and much better value.
I didn't like the decor. Kind of 70's James Bond. The service was fine, perhaps a little stuffy. Food was fine. Not really amazing, which I thought it should be for the price. The wine was overpriced as well. Not sure I get or care about the water thing. It does suit the overinflated egos of the o&g crowd though so I am sure they love it.