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keg. calgary .help

im going with some friends who have gift certificates to keg ,probable Marlborough .anybody got some recs of what is good.?non picky eaters in the bunch,altho they want steak.ive only been many years ago and have no idea.

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  1. yea, we only go to the keg when we have gift certificates too. have to say, though, that the food at the keg is absolutely terrible, and it's really hard to actually recommend something. face it, your steak is going to be tough, your lobster overcooked, and your potatoes fake. all of this is going to be exacerbated by the long duration the food spends under heat lamps. i haven't seen the kitchen at the keg, but judging by the food, it has all been under heat lamps for some time, and i wonder if they don't actually cook plates to order, but instead 'pre-cook' everything, put under heat lamps, and then assemble the pre-cooked food to order.

    1. I don't think it's all that bad. I like the tenderloin cooked Chicago blue.

      The potatoes are the most realistic fake potatoes ever. Easy to do with mashed but so, so difficult with baked.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sharonanne

        last time we went, we were pretty sure they were fake mashed potatoes (once we peeled off the layer of dried "skin" on the mashed potatoes)

        1. re: nonlinear

          I've never had anything but baked there. Husband always has the mashed, hates fake and still orders them. I should say we go to the NW Keg. I dunno if they're different but they might be.

      2. I have friends who work at The Keg, and the mashed potatoes are real. The amount of butter, cream and salt is insane though. Actually, in my experience, everything is oversalted. I'd stick with the vegetables, but obviously people love the steak and I've heard decent things about the chicken.

        1. I've had some decent meals at the Keg (nothing exceptional, but dependable basic food), however, I've only had TERRIBLE experiences at the NE Keg. Please spare yourself and don't go there. Once, we got our entrees for free and another time, we recieved a $50 gift card as compensation. It's worth the 5 min. drive to the Keg in the Beltline (11th Ave.), always had decent meals there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: wiebe

            ditto best to go macleod trail Keg

            once we watched while waiting.. a whole bunch of steaks come out really black.... i told the waiter not to bring me anything that was completely black.. which they did

          2. I'd have to agree that it is a terrible restaurant. I go occationally with work. One time they said that we couldn't have the baked potato because the microwave wasn't working. My rare steak was like beef jerky (sent back of course). You can do far better elsewhere or cooking at home for that matter.

            1. wow ,i had no idea.is the beer cold at least?

              1. This hate-fest comes up every time someone mentions the Keg. It's not a great restaurant, but they cook adequate steak and potatoes. I'll even go so far as to say I had a good steak at a Keg on MacLeod Trail in Calgary, and also at one in Ottawa. The medium rare will come out medium rare, not like beef jerky. That's just a lie.

                1. the ONLY keg i've eaten at that was good was the Alberni St. location in Vancouver...so far the rest have been pretty bad....i think they make a decent ceasar though and you can get "keg size" glasses of wine - that would be a better way to use the gift certificates.

                  1. No one on this board seems to like escargot but that's what I get at the Keg. Buttery sauce topped with mushroom caps, served with bread for dippin'. I agree with most people on here, the steaks are not that great; never cooked to specification. Last time we went to NW location we all had steaks that had a well done side, while the flip side was rare (we all ordered different wellnesses), which is not un-usual there. They don't know 'jack' from Med Well, to Rare. I ordered "pepper steak" which was covered in WHOLE peppercorns, which I could barely bite through, and topped with a horrible overcooked green pepper mush. I like the Keg Sized drinks though!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TSAW

                      I go to the Keg once a year because my MIL always gives us a gift certificate. I agree that the escargot are pretty darned good for a chain. Its probably that they are swimming in garlic butter, lol.

                      Honestly the best dish I've ever had there is the Sirloin Oscar, so I always get that. I always get a baked potato to make sure its a "real" one. We always go early in service and find that the food is better. I find ordering medium is safe and having bernaise sauce on the side means I can inspect it better.

                      Skip the fake sourdough and have a Ceasar salad and you should be fine. Not the best meal, but not the worst.

                      As a post-script I also agree that since I've been in Calgary the NW Keg seems to be the most dependable.

                      1. re: messier

                        LOL...I am going to have to print off this thread.

                        It is my MIL's birthday on Saturday and yes, that is where we are headed along with the rest of the family....but in this case it will be in the South Common "gulag" of Edmonton as they do not live too far east of it.

                        No, the Keg would not be my first choice but it fits the budgets and the location ...less travel... for most of the family if not us.

                        That having been said, I occasionally go the west end/170th Street location and quite frankly, it has not been bad whether the prime rib or a New York sirloin.

                        Is it the best steak I have had? Not a chance! But quite frankly, I have paid a lot more and received a lot less at other so called "name" locations.

                        Like many here, I would prefer to do my own steak at home as a big slab of beef is not my idea of fine dining or a celebration meal but enjoy your evening out regardless, Howlin.

                        Last year we must have just missed the "tidal wave" of prospective diners going in for a sitting because after waiting for 10 or 15 minutes our "electronic puck" flashed but rather than getting seated immediately we were told it would be about a 2 hour wait.

                        We were out of there and ended up at the Outback....now, if you want to start another thread on BAD steak houses I could really participate "mate"......

                        1. re: messier

                          on looking at the website the sirloin oscar was looking good .i ll think ill try that.im the one who has to pay for my food ,everyone else has a gc.escargot sounds good as well

                      2. Wow, I didn't realize so many people hated the Keg. I like it. I mean, here's the deal, it's an ordinary steakhouse, so expect ordinary food because you're paying an ordinary price in an ordinary atmosphere. It's not AMAZING, but it's not TERRIBLE either.

                        I actually kinda like the 'fake sourdough' bread. I like that it comes out slightly warm and I like how it's crusty. I agree on the sirloin oscar...it's one of the best ones you can get at the Keg. I went recently and had the flat iron ($20) on their winter menu..I thought it was pretty good..and a pretty good price too. Ask for medium or medium-rare because there's a 50-50 chance your steak will come out overcooked or undercooked, so just play it safe. I usually get fries or garlic mashed potatoes on the side. I don't care if they're fake..what matters most is that it tastes good to ME (isn't that what food is suppose to be about anyways??)

                        My Keg Summary: Escargot = good. Calamari = Not bad. Caesar salad = Ok. French onion soup = Good (esp if you like salty foods like me!) . Teriyaki sirloin = Bad. Prime Rib = Meh (and fatty) . Blue Cheese Filet = Maybe ok. Creole Chicken = Ok. Sirloin Oscar = Good. Flat Iron (Winter menu)= Good
                        It's one of my dad's favourite restaurants so, yes, I've been there a lot....

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Bex_03

                          I just had to throw my .02 in. I'm not a big meat eater, but as luck would have it, I went to two different kegs Jan/Feb. The McLeod Trail was for lunch...had the steak salad - blue rare. It was rare...but it can never be blue enough for me. Overall - it was very good.
                          Then we went to the new downtown location (byt the Westin) for a birthday celebration. We had a beautiful table by one of the fireplaces...the service was great, the food was good and my sweet potato fries tasted pretty real. There were 8 of us and no one had to send anything back...so I think it's safe to say...it was pretty good.

                          1. re: katidyd

                            I have to second the downtown location as being fantastic for good service, good, and a nice restaurant. I think it also helps that it's probably one of the newest also.
                            I can't say the same for any other location in Calgary - especially the 11th Street SW location.

                              1. re: 23skidoo

                                I know that this is "off topic" to the extent that I am in Edmonton rather than Calgary however we did head out to the South Common Keg last evening to celebrate my MIL's birthday.

                                We here at Chowhound may criticize and slag "da chains" like the Keg, Earl's, Cactus Club and the like but given the number of diners last evening, it matters not a wit to them.

                                We went early arriving at 4:00 p.m. as last year we could not get in when we arrived later and ended up at the Outback...less said about the latter the better.

                                We were expecting a party of 7 and were told that when we had 4 they would sit us.

                                Fine, we sat in their lounge keeping an eye on the door. Initially service was slow but "reading in between the lines" I think our server merely thought we were awaiting our table for a "deuce" rather than having a drink. We had a couple of glasses of wine and waited for the balance of our group.

                                When 3 others arrived she came over and we ordered a bottle of wine.

                                It was about 1/2 an hour before our table for 7 was ready but the front desk kept us informed about the progress and suggested they could seat us earlier if we wanted to add a chair to space for six. I opted for the additional space that would be provided by tables for eight rather than take the six and we were seated shortly thereafter.

                                We had a good meal. No, not particularly extraordinary but good, solid.

                                We had an attentive waiter who knew what he was doing both with regard to the food and wine.

                                The last time I was at this locationI later complained to management that when we had ordered another bottle of wine our server who was otherwise charming and competent merely opened it and filled the glasses without someone tasting it nor providing new glasses. I know that this may sound petty, but I have the experience of "new" bottle being similarly poured only to discover that the 2nd bottle as corked as now all of the glasses of what might otherwise have been an ok wine were now corked as well.

                                This time whenever a new bottle was ordered the waiter returned with the bottle along with a glass to taste and inquired whether we wanted new glasses around the table. Turned out no one else wanted a new glass but at least he asked.

                                Most of us had their full meals which come with caesar salad, veggies, choice of potato and the main. I think several of us including myself had the New York Strip, my wife the prime rib and FIL the filet. My BIL who also ordered the New York strip inquired if he could have the peppercorn sauce with the strip loin and that waiter said that would be no problem.

                                I ordered my NY strip, Chicago rare and it came as ordered, perhaps maybe a tad overcooked which did not surprise me given the "charring sear", but not enough that I needed to send it back. No one else did either, Out waiter inquired all around to make sure that the steaks came to everyone's liking.

                                The baked potato I had, tasted like a baked potato...not fake as another poster has commented.

                                A complementary "ice cream dessert" came for the "birthday girl" and my niece ordered their apple tarte.

                                Coffees and cognac for the BIL and myself finished off the evening.

                                Our bill for 7 with 3 bottles of wine, a Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc and 2 bottles of Blasted Church Syrah from Okanagan Falls, BC which had been recommended by our server in the lounge came to about $400.

                                All in all a decent evening and I would not hesitate to return albeit I do not often have a hankering for a big slab of beef.

                                The only criticism I have is that where we were seated, on the border of the dining room which is immediately adjacent to the lounge the music was loud as was the crowd noise. However, I am sure that had I expressed that at the outset we would have been moved as I did notice at least one couple was moved further into the dining room.

                                This location was packed as was the lounge and the lobby so they have apparently figured out the "formula" for the south end of Edmonton.

                                Cactus Club Cafe
                                7010 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0L3, CA

                                1. re: Bob Mac

                                  McDonald's has served billions, but that doesn't mean it's high quality.

                                  1. re: nonlinear

                                    I have read Bob Mac's post twice now and I fail to see where he mentions or even makes a suggestion that the Keg is high quality based on the fact that it was busy. Am I reading something different from what you're reading?

                                    1. re: nonlinear

                                      But for one thing-if you've ever had moules et frites at a Belgian restaurant, you know they all try to make their frites just like Mc Donalds. It's the standard for "frites", though the staff can really screw them up with too much salt.
                                      But back on topic-one of the best bartenders in the city is at the downtown Keg. He'll steer you right on food for that day and if there are problems, he'll fix them. A great guy.
                                      Oh, one more thing-absolutely one of the best steaks I ever had was at a Keg, a baseball sirloin. That was 20 years ago.

                                2. re: katericht

                                  Really? That was the location that served me microwaved bread. I will never go there again.

                            1. hey thanks for the tips guys.Dinner was good,no problems at all.Ihad the sirlion oscar black and blue(chicago)and it was cooked right .i stole some of my frends horseradish and know from making my own that it was fresh ground,awesome ,lit my nose on fire(thats a good thing)i even sweetalked the waitress into grabbing me some to go.thumbs up.The bread i had was real and warm and tasty.OH and the beer was cold.For those that hate this keg it appears that you are in the minority.My party waited about an hour for tables as this place was packed ,so somebody must like it.All in all everyone enjoyed what they had(prime rib was looking big and tasty)we will be back.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: howlin

                                the reason the keg (and other chains like olive garden, red lobster, mcdonalds, pizza hut) gets packed is because they advertise like crazy, attracting people who don't know where to go for superior food at the same price.

                                1. re: nonlinear

                                  Ok I will "bite"...restricting it to steak and the Keg...where are the alternatives that one can, "go for superior food at the same price"?

                                  1. re: Bob Mac

                                    geez, there are a lot of places. mmm.. catch, wellingtons, caesar's, hy's (until it closed), nicks, ruth's chris (and yes, it's a chain - but they still make great steak), vintage, carvers, saltlik, etc. etc. etc.

                                    i'm sorry, but the keg has been serious crap every time i've been.

                                    1. re: nonlinear

                                      "superior food at the same price"...Ruth's Chris, leaving aside the "chain"...you have to be kidding? ...the others, who knows you may know better living in Calgary but some [Saltlik;] are in the same chain category in any event.

                                      Oh well who cares. You obviously do not like the Keg, so be it and others don't mind...similar situation.

                                      1. re: Bob Mac

                                        Bob Mac, i'm not crapping on the keg because it's a chain (although there are huge operational and quality differences between regional and national chains), i'm crapping on it because the food sucks. in my experience, anyhow.

                                      2. re: nonlinear

                                        The last time I went to Ruths Chris my steak was about $45. My steak at Carvers, around $35, same with Hy's. The last time I went to the Keg..it was $20. I don't think they have the same prices...

                                      3. re: Bob Mac

                                        Its a complete crap shoot. One visit you might get a decent meal, the next can be terrible. Calling it superior food is nonsense. It's equal to Kelsey's. It's a traded company. Chain brand garbage at it's best.

                                  2. My family and I enjoy the Keg - is it the best steak I've ever had? No. Is it amazing original? No.

                                    But I've had pretty consistent food/service there - and I know others have had a different experience. When we want to go somewhere fairly casual but want stuffed mushrooms and a prime-rib, the Keg it is.

                                    The Keg to me is like Starbucks - sure it's a chain but you know what to expect when you go there whether it's the Keg in Winnipeg or Edmonton or Calgary. There' a certain level of comfort in that - especially for groups or family events when there are so many tastes to satisfy... or when you're in a strange city and just want to grab something safe.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: foodkarma

                                      Ditto what foodkarma said.

                                      Every once in a while I'll even have very good service there - certainly better than what I've ever had at other chains like Earls.

                                      1. re: foodkarma

                                        Anybody complaining about The Keg needs to spend some time eating beef anywhere else but Alberta. The quality is usually pretty fair for the price point.

                                        Steak nerds, all of us!!

                                      2. im thinking even tho its a chain,there are different cooks (chefs)at each as it is at high end places.who knows ,the keg might rotate there cooks ?service my night was spot on and my party had a good time that night ,really all that matters.mabye its just that some people are spoiled and are expecting the world.as for prices (nonlinear)the keg seems to be on the lower side.

                                        1. Why all the Keg hate? I've never had really bad food or service there. Steak can be a little overseasoned sometimes, but still generally pretty good. A baked potato is what it is at these places, so no complaints there either. Downtown or beltline is as good as anywhere.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: greenboy

                                            i agree, the keg isn't as bad as some of the other chains previously mentioned and like i mentioned before, i had a number of good solid meals at the alberni location in vancouver, but since moving to calgary, i've discovered i can make a better steak on the bbq at home than the keg thanks to the great beef available in this province.

                                            If i go out for steak in calgary, it's somewhere that sources their food locally otherwise i spend a little more on a good cut at the butcher and a nicer bottle of wine and stay home.

                                          2. A party of 11 of us went to the 4th Avenue Keg for New Years Eve; the set menu was $40 with the option of paying an extra $5 to add a lobster tail to your steak. The place was extremely busy and the wait staff did not stop. The service was excellent, drink orders were taken and served promptly, and our glasses were never empty. Everyone received their meals at the same time, with none being sent back. The service and food were excellent!
                                            Looking around this was happening all over, we saw very little being sent back to kitchen.

                                            Yes the Keg clearly isn’t the #1 steak house in town, but it doesn’t really try to be. From my experience you get a good meal at a decent price, I am sure that this may also be helped by the overall quality of Alberta Beef.
                                            If you haven’t been in a while or have been put off by earlier posts I suggest you give it a try. I will be going back.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Viro

                                              I've been to this locations liunge 3 times in the last 3 months. It was the first time I had been to a Keg in about 5 years. The first time I ordered the Prime Rib here and it was really good so I keep ordering it every time. Each time it was perfectly cooked to my order of medium rare so I have to give this kitchen props for their great work.
                                              However the last time I went after we asked for the bill our waitress sat down at the table behind us to chat with the couple for about 15 minutes while we were waiting to give our CC and jet out. Well I'm in no hurry to Jet back in but will probably have to bc I have one more GC left I got at a Golf tourney in the summer.