When I reflect back on my days in grad school, I rarely dwell on the grueling nights I spent trying to comprehend advanced statistics, or the days I spent hustling indifferent students through tutorials. I prefer to think of the happier times, such as lunches at Nick’s Steakhouse with my supervisor, Dr. B.
The purpose of these lunches was an opportunity for him to grill me on the progress of my thesis and to test my statistical prowess (or rather, lack thereof). I would half-heartedly provide responses and then try to change the subject by making jokes. He would be annoyed of course (eye rolling gave him away), but once the food came, I knew I was home free, because at Nick’s, the pizza was so delicious, it has the power to distract even the most serious of academics.
Located across from McMahon stadium, Nick’s Steakhouse décor is old school cool. You will be hard pressed to find another restaurant in Calgary that’s still in a 70’s time warp. Despite its antiquity, the restaurant itself is well maintained. As for food, I can only vouch for one thing – the pizza. For the two of us, the 10-inch pizza was more than enough food for lunch.
I love the crust at Nick’s. It’s not that thin, limp crust you find at the trendier pizza joints. The crust was crispy, chewy, thick but still light, and the dough has a touch of sweetness. The pizzas have a good topping to crust ratio too, so you aren’t eating more bread than toppings.
To date, my favourite pizza was the Primavera. It’s a simple pizza of freshly roasted garlic, red peppers and artichoke hearts. The tomato sauce was awesome, tangy with a taste of fresh rosemary, and the layer of mozzarella was cooked just so it’s gooey. I like the addition of freshly grated Parmesan cheese – I asked the server to keep it coming until it accumulated into a snowy blanket.
Another favourite was the Chicken Carbonara. This pizza was a more filling option with its rich cream sauce, chunks of oven roasted chicken, salty bacon and green onions. I like the dense layer of cheese; it’s cooked so that it just starts to bubble, with the cheese on the edges turning a light brown.
The prices aren’t exactly cheap – a small pizza was about $20.00. For that reason alone, you likely won’t find many students dining at Nick’s Steakhouse. Perhaps for that reason (especially if you teach at the university), it just might be incentive to dine at Nick’s.