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Boxwood (Calgary)

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Just checking to see if Boxwood was open yet - unfortunately for me opening Thursday Sept. 9th.
However, they do have their menu posted on the blog.
Looks tasty and reasonably priced.

http://www.boxwoodcafe.ca/

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  1. THANK YOU, cancowboy! Great menu- and yay for sammies on Ciabatta.

    I rode my bike by there last week and there was a note on the door to the effect that the building did not pass some sort of inspection- ventilation maybe. Of course I'm sure this will have been rectified by the 9th.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Manzo

      I had one of their porcetta/ciabatta sandwiches at the Folk Fest in July.... to die for!!!

      I'm looking forward to this place.

    2. Visited today for lunch. Had a porchetta sandwich and a faro salad.

      Blame it on our atypically rainy weather, but eating at Boxwood Café felt like vacation in Seattle or San Francisco. This modern space is GORGEOUS, all natural light and warm wood. It is small, maybe 40 seats, but not cramped.

      After choosing and paying for my lunch at the cash, I took a seat at the counter overlooking the small kitchen. The chef carved a few beautiful, warm slices from a perfectly roasted pork loin as another pork loin turned in the roaster behind him, juices slowly melting off the browning skin. An airy loaf of ciabatta was spread with a soft, buttery caramelized onions before the slices of pork were piled on with a few sprigs of baby arugula. This porchetta sandwich was delicious, though I could have had more arugula—it was so good. I suspect the wonderfully spicy greens were grown in the River Cafe greenhouse/garden.

      Like the pork loin, the faro salad was well-executed. Perfectfully sweet nectarine, fresh feta (without that gamey flavour it sometimes has), bits of basil, more spicey arugula, and lot of faro. First time I've had this grain and it was nutty in flavour with a "toothy" texture, like an al dente pasta. Although, I had a twinge of buyer's remorse as I watched hot and hearty batches of chickpea and tomato stew leave the kitchen.

      The prices are fairly reasonable for the quality of food, though some may find the sandwiches on the smaller side in this city of subs.

      I highly recommend a visit. Boxwood Cafe is in Central Memorial Park at the corner of 13th Ave and 4th St SW. It is the building closest to 4th St, and its entrance faces into the park.

      -----
      Boxwood Café
      340 13 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1N8, CA

      11 Replies
      1. re: aktivistin

        Aktivistin: Would a baby be out of place here? I can't tell if Boxwood higher end or more casual and kid-friendly... Thanks!

        1. re: alau2

          Definitely casual and kid-friendly. Because of the "cafeteria"-style system (pay first and get your order afterwards), there were a number of walk-in & take-out orders while I was there.

        2. re: aktivistin

          Had dinner at Boxwood last night. They provide table service at dinner, which was nice. Food service was very slow but the place was full and kitchen staff were running entire time we were there. We had roast chicken, porchetta and asian noodle bowl with turkey. All very good but we were surprised the porchetta was served cold. We had the red lentil hummous to start with amazing homemade crackers and the faro salad and sesame green beans as sides. Well worth a visit. Beautiful setting in the evening.

          1. re: beggsy

            I don't see why people extol table service. I much prefer to order at a counter especially if the place serves sandwiches, where I can actually see them making the thing. I love the system they have at Famoso but I hear people complain about having to order at a counter- why would anybody complain about that? It's way more efficient.

            Anyway heading there for lunch today. From what I've read, I'm seeing a sort of new incarnation of Wild Sage (the Twardoski place with the ridiculously amazing sammies at Eau Claire too many years ago) and I hope my expectations are fulfilled.

            1. re: John Manzo

              To each their own, John.

              1. re: John Manzo

                ...aaaaand they were closed for a function today (lunch). Have to wait until next week sometime.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  http://chocolateandginger.com/2010/09...

                  i read this review of a meal at Boxwood yesterday - doesnt sound too clever.

                  1. re: graemejw

                    Do note that earlier in her blog, she had LUNCH at Boxwood and loved it: http://chocolateandginger.com/2010/09...

                  2. re: John Manzo

                    Just hate it when you make a point of going to a restaurant and you see the "closed for private function" sign. Its one thing to not get in because the place is full but to close it off to the public just irks me. I know they have a business to run and buyouts are very good business but it just causes me pause to try again.

                    1. re: sirdinealot

                      especially when the website said "open today for lunch." Not "open every day for lunch." To be fair, they re-opened at 1 but we wanted to get there early (we made it around 11:20) to beat what we assumed would be crowds.

                      Weird story- we then tried Charcut and then Catch Oyster Bar and both were closed, so we ended up (on foot and my partner just got out of a cast so this was getting really frustrating) at Hans! It was fantastic as always but I never thought it would be tough to find a place open for lunch on a Saturday. Since Catch and Charcut are both in (or adjacent to) hotels I don't get being closed then, but I guess any journey that ends at Hans is not a total waste.

                      -----
                      Catch Oyster Bar
                      100 8th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K6, CA

                2. re: beggsy

                  I would agree with the chocolateandginger blog. I love River Cafe but Boxwood needs work. At $25/half litre I really don't want to drink wine out of thick cheap tumblers. Salmon in miso broth ($12) was overcooked, fairly cold, and you couldn't taste any miso. Lamb was three slices (maybe 4 oz) of what seemed like roast tenderloin, tasty but completely unadorned with anything at all, for $16 not a great deal. Hummous was great, the roasted garlic perfectly soft and delicious and came with thin crispy flatbread that was perfect for eating the lamb (which as mentioned came with nothing at all). At $7, well worth it. But a side of lentils came in a small bowl, not much taste and $6. Not sure who decided the pricing, it was like the sides at some of the very expensive steak places (where a side of sauteed mushrooms is $8!!).

                  Note - the menu changes weekly, ours said Sept 16-21 (I think). Maybe next week it will be better. Service, ambience and decor were great.

              2. I went for a late lunch on Saturday (about 3:45) and loved my meal (as did my husband). We had the white bean, napa cabbage, and roasted chicken soup, porchetta sandwiches, and Saskatoon berry bread pudding (with salt caramel and vanilla ice cream). It was one of the best lunches we've had in a long time. The soup was magnificent - piping hot, so flavorful, and very filling (it honestly tasted like something my Dad would make, and he's the best soup chef I've ever met). The sandwiches were also divine, even my husband who is usually critical of sandwiches in this city, loved them. The bread was fresh and had a great chewy bite to it, and the meat was juicy, tender, and well seasoned. I finished with the bread pudding, which was complemented wonderfully by the salt caramel. We will definitely be back. Oh - I also really appreciated that there were a few different non-alcoholic drink selections (nice for a pregnant woman who would like something other than the usual).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jigga

                  Sounds like a fantastic lunch and wonderful news! :)

                2. Went to Boxwood last night for dinner - as it was a Wednesday, there were only a couple of other tables occupied. My date and I had the pleasure of two waiters (!) for most of the meal - maybe a mix up on their part, but we couldn't fault the service. We sat at the bar, which allowed us to view the chefs finishing the dishes.

                  We both had a pint of the Brew Brothers Brewery beers - so local, they're only a few blocks away from the restaurant. I believe they're near District. The brewery itself doesn't have a storefront, so you have to find it at different bars or restaurants. Nice, easy drinking beers - comparable to Wild Rose, I'd hazard. But I'm not much of a beer connoisseur, so take it with a grain of salt.

                  The bf had the lamb with mint sauce, and a side of sesame-sauced green beans. The lamb was cooked well, and the green beans were phenomenal - I practically licked the plate to get more of the nutty, sesame sauce when we finished the beans. I had one of the specials of the night - a corn, kale and ricotta quiche - delicious, with a tender-crisp crust and side salad composed of mixed greens with zucchini. Kale came from their gardens, nice touch.

                  Both meals came lickety-split. No need to moan and groan about slow service here!

                  We split dessert - a saskatoon berry bread pudding with sea salt caramel and saskatoon ice cream. The caramel and bread pudding were right on the money, the ice cream was a little too sweet for my taste.

                  Overall, a great meal. I was very happy with the portion sizes - nope, this isn't the olive garden, and you probably won't exit with a doggy bag. But that's okay.

                  1. i had the porchetta sandwich today for lunch - got it to go on my way back to the office. it was alright, the pork was nicely cooked and the sandwich seemed like pretty good value for the money but it just needed something a bit more, like a nice mustard or something...it was a bit bland. But as it is across the street from work, i will go back and try other things. i was a little peeved about the wait, the lunch crowd had passed (it was after 1), the fellow cooking was chatting away to someone sitting at the bar so it took forever for my sandwich to be prepared and it's a little strange when you are just waiting around, not really anywhere specific to stand or sit or anything....i felt it could have been quicker. No matter what, happy to see them open.

                    1. We had lunch today- spectacular, start to finish. We both had the chickpea fritter sandwich, marvellous, especially that fantastic ciabatta tnat's so light and crisp it might be deep-fried (and I mean that in a VERY good way). Sandwich fillings are delicious, from the fritters (which are not really felafel; they're better than any felafel I've had) to the eggplant spread and the pickled red onions, every bite was a delight. For sides I got the red lentil hummous with an amaaaaazing house-made lavash and a head of roasted garlic; partner got the quinoa salad; both were perfectly executed and the hummous was if anything too generous; we could not finish. I had a cup of french-press Fratello Costa Rican that was lovely as well. Finally we split dessert, saskatoon bread pud with caramel sauce and ice cream (also sask I think). My God these people know bread pudding- moist as anything and again just delicious delicious.

                      The total sans tip was about $42; not cheap but one could do worse, and it was an absolutely flawless, very satisfying meal in a GORGEOUS space in a GORGEOUS park on a GORGEOUS day (with a GORGEOUS dining partner!). I really could not ask for more.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: John Manzo

                        I guess I am a late adopter in this case but I finally made it to Boxwood. YUUMM. Love the place. Great sandwich, loved the lemonade and the dessert was awesome. I am going back soon.

                        1. re: josey124

                          Just went there today too! I enjoyed the roast chicken sandwich, my friend had the porchetta. Both were good and oh so fresh. Also enjoyed a green salad with pecans and cheese but at $7, I thought the portion was very small. The potato salad was average - tasty but ordinary. The space is stunning but seating (along the window) was not terribly comfortable. The patio looked like it would be a really great place to enjoy a meal, although it wasn't open of course. I'm looking forward to checking back for that in nice weather.

                      2. I went to Boxwood yesterday with a friend for lunch. The place was very busy, but it only took ~15 mins to get a table for 2. My friend really enjoyed her chickpea fritter & roasted eggplant sandwich, but my roasted farm chicken sandwich was just ok. The aioli on the sandwich was really nice and the chicken was very tender, but I wish that the chicken had more seasoning. I do plan to go back to try the porchetta sandwich and some of the sides.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: llkerr

                          We went to the Boxwood for the first time yesterday and I really wanted to love this place. Beautiful location, great interior, impressive sounding menu. I was really looking forward to the porchetta sandwich but what I got was really disappointing. I expect porchetta to be fatty but 90% of this porchetta was fat. I mentioned this to the waitress and she said this is how porchetta is. I beg to differ. I've never had porchetta that fatty before. Really, really disappointing. I also had the spicy tomato and chickpea stew which was ok. There was no spice to it and it was served slightly warm, temperature-wise (this is one of my biggest pet peeves at restaurants - not serving food hot when it should be hot).

                          1. re: asiandelight

                            Went to Boxwood for lunch. Sadly it was the worst meal I may have ever had in Calgary. I ordered the chicken sandwich, and it was truly inedible. It was full of fat, and cartilage. I wondered if they had taken it from the wrong pile, ie, the garbage. Staff was inattentive. Will never be back. Overpriced, bad service, horrible food.

                            1. re: sackman

                              I usually go to Boxwood at least once a month. Maybe it was just an off day today? Unfortunate...

                              I find the pricing very reasonable mostly and I just had the chicken sandwich last week, which was great!

                        2. I've tried Boxwood for lunch once. I love the location, the idea, and the decor but what I got was an overwhelmingly bland experience. The real reason I went was for the porchetta, which they didn't even have that day. I opted for the chicken sandwich which was totally bland and under seasoned aside from the aioli which a few have mentioned. My girlfriend got the quinoa salad which was undercooked and totally blah as well as a forgettable soup. I REALLY want to like this place......perhaps it's time to give it another try? Dinner maybe?

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: johnjohnson78

                            I had a similiar experience... I really wanted to like the place. Instead I got a (very small) portion of forgettable soup & salad. Their chocolate chunk cookies are really good though. I would try it once more.

                            1. re: johnjohnson78

                              That's a shame you didn't get the porchetta, I have to say that it would have been in my top three sandwiches I've ever had in my life. Only been once to Boxwood so far so can't comment on the other offerings. I had good service when I went on the Sunday lunch but I had the porchetta to go so didn't experience the servers.

                              1. re: slingshotz

                                The porchetta is great, if you like fat. Although tastey, I don't care for that much fat on a sandwich. I went for dinner there as well, and sat outside. I had a noodle dish. I think it was called "Joy's ____ noodles". I don't recall exactly but it looks like it's not on the menu anymore. Too bad, it was great and only about $12 for a large portion. My friend had a porkchop and it was just that. A large, thick chop and that was about it for $19. Again, tastey but too much money.
                                You should give it one more shot for dinner and report back, for sure!

                                1. re: TSAW

                                  "if you like fat"

                                  YES

                            2. I've been to Boxwood 3 times now and while the setting is beautiful (keeps me going back), the food has been mediocre and the service has gone down hill each time. My last visit we waited 25min to order (I had to get their attention and ask them if we could order!), the servers were disorganized (brought our drinks and food to the wrong table - different tables each time) and the place wasn't even that busy. I was really surprised that the service was so terrible, the servers were oblivious - it was almost like it was all of their first day.