My actual birthday was on a Thursday but my husband L had to work late that night. Instead, I had my coworkers come over and we feasted on delicious food and wined the night away.
My office mate Patricia brought over three boxes of empanadas, cheese, chicken and beef from the Empanada Queen. These heavenly critters made the party. The crowd favourite was the cheese version, the pastry was deep-fried and the cheese was warm and salty.
On Friday night, L took me out to Foreign Concept. L and I are both fans of the owner and chef – Duncan Ly. We arrived at 7:00 p.m. to a packed restaurant. On the night I visited, the restaurant hummed like a well-oiled machine. From front to the back, every component from the initial greeting, coat check, and the delivery of the food and drinks was smoothly coordinated.
I started off with a glass of Escapade Cava ($9) while L ordered a Philips Hop Circle ($7.00). Our server suggested we try Last Best Tokyo Drift ($8).
This beer is awesome! Hoppy but still mellow and smooth. I also drank a glass of Chenin Blanc (Domaine de Vaufraget Vouvray) which was sweet.
One of my favourite dishes is the Yuzu cured salmon fresh roll ($12). Delicate and light, I like the different textures and tastes of the creamy avocado, crème fraiche, cashews, gochujang, radish and cucumber. The rice wrapper was soft. The salmon was a good bite-size. The ikuri was the highlight. When it popped in my mouth, it added the taste of the sea. I could have eaten the entire plate myself.
L and I both enjoyed the Vietnamese style Scotch egg ($11.00), with green onions and chili thread. The sausage casing was juicy and crispy, cupping the warm, creamy yolk goodness inside. The greens were delicious.
The miso baked sweet potato ($10) dish was more than a decent portion, which makes it ideal for sharing between two or more people. I thought I could detect maple syrup. The Quebec cheese curds were yummy.
L and I shared the Alberta trout cha ca la vong ($24). We don’t like trout, but Foreign Concept’s version converted us. The fish was thin and flat, crispy on the outside. The flesh itself was flaky. I enjoyed the delicateness of this dish, the flavours and lightness of the dill, persimmon, rice noodles and garlic. This was an excellent dish with well-balanced flavours.
When we received our bill, we were given these plastic fish. Depending on how the fish curls in your palm, you can determine your fortune. A nice touch and a lighthearted way to end the meal.
The music was loud, but in an upbeat, lively way. L and I felt like we were out on the town. You could still have a good conversation using a regular speaking tone. The vibrant ambience makes for a good first date place. Service was excellent.
I could see Duncan Ly and Jinhee Lee at the front of the kitchen, ensuring every dish that went out was perfect. I know you aren’t suppose to bug the chefs, especially when it was so busy… However, I was tipsy and forgot my manners and I asked for a photo. Duncan kindly obliged. Tee-hee. Fei Po gives Foreign Concept two fat thumbs up. This new restaurant makes it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary.