Location: 46 McRae Street, Okotoks, Alberta
Built in 1902 by the Baptist Church, this restaurant, in someways, is still recognizable as such. A building with history is something that always catches my attention, but having been converted to a restaurant, it’s the food that ultimately influences my decision to return or not.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, I ventured down here with a friend for lunch. As lovely as it would’ve been to lunch on the patio, I didn’t fancy getting into another fight with a wasp. Lunching inside was a great decision because it gave me the chance to admire the architecture and decor that made the restaurant what it is.
We ordered the Baked Brie as a starter to share, I got the steak sandwich, she got the Thai Duck Bowl and we split a six-layer chocolate fudge cake for dessert. Before my visit to River Cafe yesterday, I had never had brie. Today would be my first time trying a baked brie. The brie was served with a raisin and walnut chutney, red onion jam, and crostinis. I honest to God could’ve eaten this entire plate on my own. I never figured that raisin and/or walnut could be used to make a chutney, let alone taste so good! But the star on that plate was the onion jam. I can’t even begin to describe what an experience that jam was. It was incredible! After this experience, I’m definitely going to be including a baked brie with onion jam on my next cheese board. My only complaint was that there probably weren’t as many crostinis as I would’ve liked. I ended up having to put a lot of chutney, jam, and brie on each piece of crostini. The Thai Duck Bowl was delicious, but I don’t think I would be able to eat this entire thing on my own. It was a little on the sweet side, but I think if the lime had been added, it would’ve helped to cut through that richness. The steak sandwich came with a choice of soup or salad as a side. I chose to go with the tomato basil soup as my steak sandwich. The steak, though it looked small was more than enough. It was topped with chimichurri, caramelized onions, and arugula. My only wish was that the garlic bread was a little more garlicky, but the size of the bread was perfect. The side tomato basil soup was more like a pasta sauce. It was amazing, but near the end I wondered if I could actually finish it because of how thick and aggressively seasoned with oregano it was. We finished the meal with the most luscious chocolate cake. When I say I want chocolate cake, this is it. The chocolate is rich. It actually reminds me a little of the cake I had when I was at True Confections in Vancouver.
Thinking we would make it in time for brunch probably wasn’t very smart on my part, given what time I actually left my house, so I know I will be back to try their chicken and waffles, which is generally a favourite of mine. I would definitely recommend this place and I would come back here time and time again without a second thought. I’d rate this place 4/5 based on my experience.