For my birthday dinner, L took me to Downtownfood. The hostess sat us in a leather-clad booth, situated directly across the bar. I enjoyed the view. Call me crazy, but I find it more calming to gaze at a wall of Grey Goose than the rocking waves of the ocean. Maybe it’s because I get motion sickness so easily. As Martha Stewart would say, that’s a good thing, as I live in a land locked city. Speaking of alcohol, L and I were pleased with the selection of wines and beer on tap. He indulged in a pint of Innis & Gunn while I was keen to become acquainted with an unchartered wine list.
L and I shared the Fung Style Sashimi ($14.00) – sustainably farmed house cured kampachi. Underneath the slices of fish, there was a spoonful of edamame puree and a hint of horseradish; wasabi peas and garlic chips were sprinkled on top of the fish and around the plate. I think it was the combination of flavors and textures that made this dish shine.
L loved his main course, the Pork Trio with crispy pork rinds, khoirabi puree and mushrooms ($29.00). One the leaner cuts of pork tasted a bit like char sui (Chinese BBQ pork), while the pork belly and kholrabi (type of cabbage) puree combination reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner. I resisted trying the pork rinds because I didn’t want to fall into my old habit. There was a reason my brother gave me the nickname fei po (fat girl) for over a decade, and it isn’t just because he lacks sensitivity.
For my entrée, I picked the roasted miso-cured sablefish. This dish was so good. I could feel my scalp tingling as I ate it. The flesh was buttery and moist. There was a richness to the miso marinade, it was sweet and spicy all at once. I like to alternate eating the fish with crunchy lentils, silky shitake mushrooms and crunchy bok-choy.
For dessert, L and I shared the flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel and pistachio gelato. This is one dish worth becoming a fei po again. The cake was like a chocolate lava; the warm caramel was delightful swirled with a spoonful of pistachio gelato.
L and I both agreed that this was one of the best meals we’ve enjoyed in Calgary. The combination of flavours and textures in each dish work exceptionally well. Each dish, from the appetizer, the main course and dessert were obviously put together by someone who knows what they are doing. L and I normally avoid restaurants on Valentine’s Day, but after checking out Downtownfood’s V-day menu, we just might have to make an exception.