As I work at the university, I rarely have the opportunity to have lunch at any of the downtown hotspots. However, with a surplus of vacation days to use, I finally went to my favourite restaurant, Downtownfood. At lunch, they offer a 3 course meal for only $25.00. After my visit, I subsequently booked reservations for two more lunch dates.
Downtownfood is one of the places that you frequent because you a) want to impress your out of town friends b) need to appease a picky eater/negative Nancy c) love exquisite food, excellent service and fine dining experience. Our server, Andrew, was knowledgeable and courteous. I believe that you don’t realize how important service is until you meet someone who truly excels at their profession.
I wasn’t planning on drinking, but when I heard they served cucumber beer ($6.00), I indulged. I think I found my new summer love. The beer was light, bubbly, and refreshing. However, as I am cutting back on my alcohol consumption, I stopped at a few sips.
My first course was Watermelon Salad ($12.00). This was the most artistic salad I’ve ever eaten. I was amazed at the care and skill in which the salad was assembled. The watermelon was a smooth cylinder, with cucumber wrapped around the melon like a Martha Stewart ribbon. I love the combination of the fresh mint, creamy feta and tartness of the pickled watermelon.
Next up was my favourite dish of the year, Salt and Pepper Humboldt Squid ($15.00). The tempura batter melted in your mouth. The squid was toothsome and tender. The squid came with a parade of condiments: fresh lime wedges; dishes of Maldon salt (large and flaky) and pepper; a side of hot sauce and mayonnaise. Before I sampled Downtownfood’s version of salt and pepper squid, I detested the use of the word “orgasmic” to describe food. Well, I was wrong. I know my ecstatic exclamations were on the loud side, much to the annoyance of our neighbours who were trying to have a business meeting.
The Japanese Tuna Nicoise was another winning dish ($19.00). As the restaurant’s standard – the salad was beautifully presented. The plate was layered with seared slices of albacore tuna, Broxburn and Downtownfood’s own roof top tomatoes, green onions and a panko crusted poached egg. When I broke open the bright orange yolk, it spilled over the egg white and onto the greens. The soy and mirin dressing was awesome – it tied all the ingredients together.
By this time, I was too full to really appreciate the two mains: line caught Coho Salmon cakes and the Pan Seared Ewenique Farm Crispy Chicken Leg ($19.00). The fish cakes were made from salmon caught that morning from Vancouver. The cake itself was moist and the salmon was flaky. I really enjoyed how the salmon cake was layered with tomatoes and onions, as it gave it a nice texture and additional flavour.
Last up was a freshly made strawberry doughnut. The doughnut was warm, tart and not too sweet. I wanted to finish my dessert – but I couldn’t eat another bite. For my next two lunches, I plan to try the 48 Hour Sous Vide Pork Belly Taco, Wagyu Burger, and the 7 oz Brandt Lake Wagyu Beef Sandwich. If you haven’t been to Downtownfood for lunch or dinner, you really are missing out on some of the best food Calgary has to offer.