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Feb 22, 2009 12:55 PM

Saint Germain - 39 prix fixe and zero corkage

We tried out Saint Germain's new approach last night. Our last visits to this restaurant were about 2 years ago, where we would often think the place wasn't up to the prices.

The $39 prix fixe menu offered chicken pate, veal, and clafoutis. It was good, although not stellar. The service was spotty. The biggest plus this restaurant has to offer is their nightly zero corkage policy. We brought along a special bottle we'd been wanting to open for awhile and it really made the meal. All in all, we were able to have a lovely dinner for under $100.00 (not including tip). I would return because the meal is a good deal, and the zero corkage is a great deal.

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  1. hmmm.. interesting. Good food (not stellar), stodgy service, nice room. Free corkage. Sounds like it is a similar investment to dining at home... after a thorough market shop- visit to your favorite wine store, and an experiencing preparing your finest picked ingredients over that special bottle of wine... this way, you don't have to brave the cold!!

    1. a few of us went last night - we called ahead to see what was the prix fixe menu for the night, sounded good, bought a couple bottles from 100 wines and enjoyed a really nice meal. it was a wild mushroom soup, rack of veal and sugar tart - the service was efficient and friendly and the food was very nice - i'll go back. i love the zero corkage, and no attitude about it either from the staff.

      1. Tried this last night ...the food was great! service was not so great. Beautiful room and no corkage...overall worth a try!

        1. I went and did this at Saint Germain a few months back, but I was wondering if they are still offering it. With the zero corkage it was such a good deal. Anybody hear anything?

          2 Replies
          1. re: L.C.

            I've seen ads in City Palate and Saint Germain's website says they now offer $39 prix fixe and zero corkage every night.

            1. re: L.C.

              Last week they had an "omnivore" and "carnivore" 3-course menu for $39. The "onmivore" was vegetarian items (can't remember exactly what they were, other than the dessert was the same). I had the "carnivore" - it was 3 bison sliders done with different dressings (meh) and a bison striploin (very nice, but pre-sliced, I prefer my steaks whole) and a poached pear with ice cream dessert (very tasty, I'm not usually a dessert person). The regular menu was different from what is posted on their website, I'm not sure which is current, they did say they were changing their menu.

              BTW their online menu says 22% gratuity applied to BYOW tables (I didn't notice it on the menu in the restaurant, but there was no reference to BYOW). Maybe people haven't been tipping extra for service when they bring their own at zero corkage? I've never brought my own (in Calgary, I did it lots in Montreal but only at no-liquor-licence places), but if I did I'd tip on what a base bottle of wine would cost (at St Germaine it seems to be $45), but I never tip extra when an autograt is added to my bill.

            2. We had been to Saint Germain about 2 yrs ago and found the food quite good although the service was uneventful.

              We decided to try them again last night for the Localicious menu - the fixed prix 3 course menu. 4 of us went with the fixed menu, two ordered a la carte, and we also ordered a bottle of wine and 4 appetizers, 5 additional drinks for the table.

              The food was very average... nothing to rave about. I'd been to Petite the week before and Petite's food was definitely superior. The service at Saint Germain was horrible! Our server wouldn't have even qualified average rating at the standard Joeys or Moxie's much less at a restaurant like Saint Germain. She didn't check on us regularly, we had to ask another server to get our bill, we had to flag her down to ask for after dinner coffees and dessert.

              It was so poor that we watched the couple at the table next to us come in with a bottle of wine, sit down, receive NO service for about 15 mins, and walk out. Then the next couple came in. Had one drink, no service and also walked out. The third couple sat down, received water and by the time we had left they also received no additional service. We paid our bill walked out and 5 minutes later walked by the window of Saint Germain to find that third couple had also walked out!

              We will not be returning to Saint Germain. There are better options in Calgary: Petite, Divino's, Catch, Alloy...

              Saint Germain
              115 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8, CA

              5 Replies
              1. re: foodkarma

                It's sad to hear this for a couple reasons- one is that I feel bad for restaurants that lose customers forever due to a bad server (that might get fired the next day), and the other is because I've had a couple excellent lunches there in the past and it sounds like it's gone downhill on the food as well. Did the ownership change? Did the hotel take it over?

                1. re: Mawson Plan

                  Mawson, our group was sad as well because we remembered the restaurant to be much better. I didn't hear of any changes made in ownership or chefs. To be more specific about our night, the kusshi oysters we had were great (although the server didn't introduce and explain the condiments so we had to trial and error), from the fixed prix menu the striploin was very flavourful and the duck from the menu was also pretty good (although a little salty for me), they had a meringue dessert that was pretty original and good.

                  On the other hand,the risotto on the fixed prix menu was very bland and ordinary, the dessert of poached pears wasn't anything to rave about, and the bison sliders were alright although I've had much better flavoured sliders at Red Star pub in Edmonton.

                  Quite possibly they were having an off night but the reality is with so much restaurant competition now, inconsistency in service levels from employees to food flavours can be a killer. And it was pretty clear there were at least four unhappy parties there last night.

                  1. re: foodkarma

                    When we went my SO had the duck and we both thought it was too salty, although I understand that's the way duck confit is made.

                  2. re: Mawson Plan

                    i think there has been some shuffling in the partners at saint germain. one of the main guys - rick? - has moved on, so maybe the hotel is involved more.

                    1. re: Mawson Plan

                      Decided to try finally try Saint Germain last Saturday and we had nothing but a great time! We went to celebrate my husband's b'day, but we were suggested to go with another couple who had just eaten there earlier last week for a wine society dinner. They said the food was so good for the wine dinner that we should certainly all go back again.

                      Our table for 4 was sat at 8:30 and the place was completely packed. If I have any complaint is that it was so busy and loud there.

                      Our server, a girl, was very efficient with the wines we brought in, but I can see how service can get a little slow as her and another server were opening wine for a larger group of 20+ that must have brought in about 24 bottles of wine.

                      The food was exactly what we were looking for - french bistro. Pretty simple stuff but done really well. My husband, who was celebrating his b'day, had the duck confit and remarked that it was as good as Balthazar in NY. I had the Plat du Jour of braised Alberta lamb shank - it was amazingly tender and full of braising flavor. Our friends both had the beef bourguignon as this was the main course they had had with the wine dinner and had been craving it all week. They remarked it was even better that the previous time. That must happen when over 100 of the same meal is being served rather than just two.

                      Through dinner our friends said that during the wine dinner the negociant from Bordeaux stood up and remarked that his wines had never been matched more perfectly than that night - quite the compliment I suppose.

                      The Chefs and the owner were introduced and from what our friends could make out was that the ex-chef from Teatro (Dominique) was now the executive or consulting executive chef at Saint Germain. The owner (Ray or Jay or something like that) was introduced as well.

                      Anyway, our dinner was superb. And when I say that, it goes for the food, service, ambience, etc... The energy in the restaurant was buzzing. Loud though!!!

                      Will certainly go back.

                      Oh yeah, the server did mention that she thought that the no corkage deal that they were offering was going to be stopped soon - except for Sundays.

                      Saint Germain
                      115 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G8, CA