My job requires that I fly out to a hamlet located in a beautiful but isolated community in northern Alberta. The town’s only grocery store sells a small selection of groceries at extraordinary costs, as each item is flown in via a tiny charter plane. During a recent trip, I crammed 50 pounds of food into a suitcase. When I returned back home Monday evening, L decided to take me out for a belated anniversary dinner. I was thrilled – I was tired and I really needed a fun night out on town.
As usual, I picked the restaurant. For special occasions, one of my favourite places is Charcut Roast House. One of many things I love about Charcut is that a positive dining experience is a sure thing. I booked our reservations through Opentable and requested my favourite section, a table that overlooks the kitchen. I like the spot because it’s like having a dinner and a show at the same time.
Our server, Adam, admitted to us that it was his first night working at Charcut. He did a great job. Throughout the night, he was attentive and courteous. For example, when I headed to the washroom, he escorted me into the right direction. As L is a light eater, he opted out of dessert. I did as well, because I didn’t want to eat a whole dessert on my own. However, when Adam found out it was our anniversary, he brought over not one but two complimentary desserts. I appreciated the gesture. Adam also reprimanded L and told him to man up and eat dessert with me.
Adam picked a fun white wine for me – Joie Farm Riesling ($13) while L ordered a bottle of Innis & Gunn ($8.50). I really dig the beer list – even I could find something that I liked, such as a pint of Blanche de Chambly ($9), Scottish Style Heavy Ale from Big Rock ($7.50), a bottle of Rosee D’Hibiscus ($7.50), or a 650 ml bottle of Hazelnut Brown from Rogue Ales ($14.00). The options also include a gluten free beer and a number of European picks.
The first dish to arrive was a complimentary appetizer of a spicy in house made sausage. Layered with paper-thin cheese and jalapeno, this was a nice way to start dinner. Next up, I ordered three cheeses ($6.00 per ounce): Oka; Manchego; and Comtomme. I love pairing the cheeses with the accompanying honey and a raspberry jam that was a mix of sweet and tart.
For our main course, we ordered the Share Burger Charcut Style ($2.50 per ounce), a roasted garlic sausage patty, cheese curds with a fried egg. For sides, I picked the Duck Fat Fried Poutine ($8.00) with cheese curds and truffle gravy and the Curry Roasted Cauliflower with Spiced Chickpeas ($9.00).
Oh man, the burger was a juicy slice of heaven. Charcut’s version is what a burger should aspire to become. The thick patty was perfectly cooked and seasoned, with a slight crust on the outside. The bun was mildly sweet – it went well with the burger.
The fries were a hot, cheesy mess. I could smell and taste the truffle oil. The cauliflower was soft and broiled to a light brown, while the chickpeas still retained its firm texture. I liked the pile of dressed arugula and the side dish of spicy pickled carrots, pickles and cauliflower.
For the last course, Adam brought over an order of Crème Brulee and the Dark Chocolate Tart with cinnamon dark chocolate mousse, and cocoa mirror glaze. I loved both desserts. The chocolate dessert was creamy and sweet. The crème brulee had a lovely crunchy top layer that tasted like cotton candy while the custard was warm and gooey.
L and I both adore Charcut. It’s a non pretentious restaurant that offers great value, professional service and high quality food. To boot, it’s located in the heart of the downtown core. I just might have to move Bob’s upcoming birthday party to Charcut Roast House. There’s something to be said for the tried and true.