Location: 1301 16 Avenue NW (SAIT Campus Centre)
Unlike The Den, which I tried out in my final year of my university career, I didn’t get to try out The Gateway until after I graduated.
Alex and I decided that this would probably be the best/most convenient place for dinner as we would be proceeding to the Jubilee Auditorium to watch Rigoletto shortly after. It also happened to be one of the last days of Advanced Polling and seeing as I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere, voting on actual election day would prove to be a bit of a challenge.
It wasn’t crazy busy when we arrived, but it was fairly packed. Given that it was a Friday afternoon, that was to be expected. It was nice that there was a live band playing, but made it difficult to have a conversation, which again was to be expected.
What I liked about The Gateway over The Den was that there were large windows in the establishment, making it feel less enclosed and dungeon-like.
After a week of eating a lot of deep fried foods, I wanted to go a little lighter, but considering where we were, lighter isn’t really a thing. I decided to go with appies instead of mains for this dinner.
We ordered the fried pickles to share and I got the roasted poblano and artichoke dip and the bacon bomb trio. Alex ordered the saucy cow.
Our orders came out pretty quickly, considering how many people there were in the place, so I was pretty happy about that.
I started with the pickles. These are pretty standard, and as Alex said, you can’t go wrong with these. While these were good, these aren’t the best fried pickles I’ve ever had. I still have to say that Seanachie’s has the best bar food I’ve had to date. The next dish I tried was the roasted poblano and artichoke dip. It was pretty much what I expected, except for the toasted bread crumbs on top. My only wish is that the dip was a little hotter because then it would be more like a cheesy dip than a cheesy paste. Taste wise, it wasn’t bad. I liked that there were chunks of artichoke because if I ordered something that indicates that a certain ingredient in it, I like to be able to at least see it, if not also to taste it. Unfortunately, the poblano didn’t come through as much as I had hoped. I was in the mood for spicy and this dish didn’t quite deliver. The last appie I had was the bacon bomb trio. On paper it sounds really good: house ground bacon sliders with crispy bacon, root beer BBQ, cheddar, bacon mayo, and crispy fried onions on pretzel buns. When the sliders came, there weren’t any crispy fried onions or bacon as far as I could see. Instead, they were topped with lettuce and tomato. Honestly, if I could have had the crispy onions and bacon in addition to the lettuce and tomato, it would have made for the perfect balance. The veggies would’ve provided that much needed hit of freshness that the heavy slider would’ve been. Without the crispy bacon, the slider patty just tasted like pork. I haven’t quite decided if that’s a good or bad thing yet, it was just a very porky pork taste. The root beer BBQ isn’t something I’ve had before and it was a very unique flavour that I enjoyed.
Alex’s saucy cow, which is essentially a beef dip, was quite nice. The horseradish in the mayo didn’t quite come through in the bite I had, which was a little disappointing. In the past, I’ve also had beef dips buttered with garlic butter, which I have enjoyed immensely. While this beef dip was good, there were so many things that could have made it better. Another thing is that The Gateway’s “standard” fries are curly fries. Curly fries are 100% better than regular fries, in my opinion anyways. I think Alex really enjoyed them, as she prefers softer, pillowy fries rather than extra crispy like I do. They seemed a little bland and could’ve used a little bit of seasoning on them.
Overall, it was a good experience. As it’s on the SAIT Campus, the pricing is very affordable, which is a huge incentive for me to keep coming back. The food is pretty good, but having been to The Den so many years ago, I don’t think I can make a fair comparison to the food there. Each has its merits and given the opportunity, I would happily return here again. Based on this experience, I would give this a 3.5/5.