Fergus & Bix - Marda Loop - YYC
I have a friend in the city from Toronto this week. She's staying close to Marda Loop and we decided to head out for some late night eats yesterday. (She's a huge Miami Heat fan, so that put us about 10 p.m. departure)
I'm not often in Marda Loop, although I have met friends for brunch there on occasion, so I was not quite sure what we would find. Especially as late night in Calgary can be a difficult endeavor sometimes. The first open place we wandered across was Fergus & Bix.
The short of things - the service was excellent, it was loud, I was surprised to find the menu was akin to a restaurant instead of a pub, super impressed by the varieties of beer on tap, the food was good and I especially enjoyed the beet salad although felt the beets could have been roasted longer. Half priced bottles of wine on a Tuesday was a win! I will go back and try a few of their microbrews for $5.50 a pint.
On a Tuesday night, the place was near capacity. We checked to ensure the kitchen was open and took our table. The hostess tried to sway us to sit at the bar, (which many had chosen to do that night) but gave us a choice and we ended up at a tall table in the row next to the bar, with a padded banquet. The decor is of the typical dark, wood, 'modern' pub varietal. The lighting is dim, and it was quite loud.
We sort of expected to find a pub menu, with nachos and the like, but were pleased to find that the kitchen was serving a full menu that had quite the range. A real variety with some interesting looking dishes. I was also impressed to see that they have an excellent selection of beer on tap. No Canadian here, instead they offer AB/BC microbrews, including Brew Brothers, Fernie, Granville, Howe Sound etc... The server informed us that Tuesdays are half priced bottles of wine.
We were indecisive and decided to share some dishes and a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc for $20. We got the Caprese Flatbread for $18, the Farmer's Roasted Beet Salad for $13, and my friend ordered a portion of the Seared Ahi Tuna for $13.
The service was cheery and attentive without being obtrusive. The server wandered past and topped our wine glasses as the night went on, and left us to linger in the emptying restaurant after we paid our bill so that we could finish our glasses of wine.
The flatbread (fresh arugula, marinated portabello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sliced provolone, fresh roma tomatoes, and bocconcini with basil and olive oil) was round and had maybe 6 or 7 rather large pieces of pizza. The ingredients were scattered nicely with a large fresh basil leaf on each slice. I thought it was good, but I'm not that much of a fan of thicker type crusts and would have preferred it thinner. We took half of this home with us.
The roasted beet salad (fresh arugula and mixed greens, fennel, walnuts, fried goat cheese, with roasted farmer’s beets and sweet pear vinaigrette) was excellent and they didn't skimp on the goat cheese, which was presented in a fourish inch round on top of the salad. It was dressed lightly and not doused. I thought the beets could have been roasted longer, but that's just a quibble. I think this could be quite satisfying on its own as a meal.
My friend was impressed with the tuna, which was fresh and seared nicely. Served with wasabi and a five spice dipping sauce. It may actually have been soya sauce, but I'm going off of the menu.
I will very likely head back and check out this bar again. As a vegetarian I got the impression that they are amenable to modifying their menu items and that would leave you with a promising range of dishes to try out. This is rare for a pub!
Price point there are a lot of dishes in the $13-18 mark, with some higher priced dishes such as fish or steak. Judging based on our dishes, I think they might execute them well. I noted that the beer list is extremely reasonable. A lot of pints for around the $5.50 mark. (This alone will bring me back, as I usually imbibe beer rather than wine when I am out).
Fergus & Bix
2018 33 Ave SW, Calgary, AB , CA