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Open Range - an attitude free review

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Gobstopper Dec 6, 2010 07:47 AM

I’ve been 3 times in the last month or so - A group of 5 including a toddler, a 2 person table in the lounge, and a 2 person table in the dining room. After moving out of the neighbourhood a few years ago, we had only drifted back to Diner Deluxe because it was a good, baby friendly pace for dinner. That hasn’t changed, but the menu looks a little tired (we were chronic for quite some time). Some positive reviews here pointed me to Open Range.

Round 1: Nice time, baby chair already in place at the table. Early reservation, so quiet restaurant, though a party of 12 or so trickled in on the other side of the dining room. Menu gave impression that side dishes needed to be ordered with some of the grill entrees (waiter did correct us, but momentum and desire carried a few dishes) - so we ended up with a pile of food. Great food - upgraded braised lamb shank (compared to Diner Deluxe) with a marvelous biscuit! (yay biscuits). I had a feature dish that was flintstonian in scale - a new york strip (quite good) and some pork ribs (flavourful but a bit toothsome). Further everything came with a nice version of the vej sides (golden beets, broccolini) as well as some starch (potato or rice pilaf). This made our yam fries a bit of an excess, but the bambino was happy with them. No corkage Wednesday meant 4+1 dined for 125ish plus tip.

Round 2: Lounge - a pair of bison burgers (off the menu and the feature). Fritters to start (!!savoury cruller like interiors - delicious!!). This time in the lounge, full house, funny crowd - proximity ala downtown, but crowd a bit more outbackish. Nice bun on the burger, bison a touch dry but mediated by healthy slice of fois gras.

Round 3: Dining room - great server - started with a bullet proof portugese red wine and corn fritters (would eat these daily if possible). Braised bison (better than the lamb, same happy biscuit). Extremely generous portion with cheesy corn grits beneath happy ribs, lean, tender. Waiter paired South African red - (nicely chosen). Had to run to Flames game or would have gone for third course.

So - cheap prices (in context), big portions and a nice River Cafe bend to the place (former executive chef of River Cafe). For a 1.5 on the dollar increment over Diner Deluxe - vastly upgraded food - but portions and flavour to make converts out of the Chain restaurant crowd. They are nailing the sides and doing talented straight ahead food.

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Open Range Steaks Chops
1114 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3K4, CA

Diner Deluxe
804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3J6, CA

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  1. maplesugar Dec 7, 2010 06:43 AM

    Sounds like my kinda place. Thanks Gobstopper!

    1. p
      piano boy Dec 7, 2010 08:47 AM

      I've enjoyed Big Fish a few times and have always heard positive reviews about Open Range. Didn't know that Scott Pohorelic had joined the group. He's one of the nicest guys in the biz.

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      Big Fish
      1112 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, AB T2E 3K4, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: piano boy
        g
        Gobstopper Dec 7, 2010 11:09 AM

        He is a nice guy, but Dwayne Ennest (executive chef of Open Range) was the exec at River Cafe before Scott (and before Glenn Manzer)

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