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Posts tagged ‘Royal Oak’

Restaurant Review: Cattle Baron

Location: 3340 26 Street NE (Royal Oak)
Website: http://www.cattlebaroncalgary.com

This restaurant has been around for a while, but the Royal Oak location is new. My dad has been talking about this restaurant for god knows how long so I’m glad to finally have the chance to try this place out.

I must admit, I do love a well cooked steak. Depending on the day, I prefer my steak anywhere from well done (no this does not mean over cooked charcoal) to medium rare.

We were promptly seated and as we perused the menu, I noticed that they had turned the lights down for ambience. Now, I have mixed feelings about this. I get that they need to establish a particular mood, but I don’t appreciate the restaurants who turn the lights down so low that I can no longer read the menu. Thankfully, Cattle Baron did not do that.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love appetizers and everything on their appetizer portion of their menu looks fantastic. This evening Val chose the appetizer of the evening, the short dry ribs, as it was listed as a house specialty. These dry ribs are like nothing I’ve ever had before. Sure, they were a little tough and messy and hot (burned my fingers a couple times) to eat, but they are absolutely the most delicious dry ribs I’ve had to date. It didn’t take us long to demolish them all. I’m not entirely certain what the seasoning/sauce mix was for them, but I’m pretty sure that it was soy based. The addition of the provided lemon wedge added a lovely overall freshness and acidity to the dish that it would have sorely lacked without.

For our mains, Val and my dad had the prime rib, I had the Steak Neptune, and my mom had the Fresh Salmon Filet. Val chose to have a double baked potato while my dad had the regular baked potato. I chose to go with their Caesar salad. The salmon came with rice and all the mains came with steamed fresh vegetables.  The prime rib was probably the largest of the three dishes (it was a lot of meat, definitely more than enough for me, but would be great for a carnivore).  The double baked potato, a Cattle Baron specialty, was probably one of the best sides I’ve ever had.  I mean, what’s not to love about a potato that has been baked, taken out, its contents mashed and topped with cheese and baked again.  If I have the chance to come back, I would love to have a whole thing to myself instead of just one bite.  That’s not to say I regret my choice in getting the Caesar salad because that was one of the better Caesars I’ve eaten.  It is a bit more garlicky than most other Caesars I’ve had, but that’s what makes it so good.  I come for the garlic!  The salmon came with a plentiful helping of rice.  It wasn’t anything special, but it was well seasoned and not overcooked; the perfect accompaniment to the salmon.  I think any of the other sides they have on their menu would’ve overpowered the delicate salmon, which was topped with a lemon butter sauce.  My Steak Neptune consisted of a cut of filet mignon topped with asparagus and shrimp dressed with hollandaise.  This has got to be one of the best Steak Neptunes I’ve ever had.  If I could afford to only eat filet mignons, I would.  All the dishes came with a side of steamed seasonal vegetables.  In the context of this review, where I’m saying that everything was great, sometimes it feels like the meaning of “great” is lost, but honestly, I had little to no complaints about the food or service.

Of course, the end to a perfect meal comes in the form of a crème brûlée.  I have to say, this is the only part of the meal I was disappointed by.  We order the Irish Créme Brûlée which sounded amazing and had the potential to be amazing, but unfortunately, it was ruined by the prevalent bitterness of burnt sugar.  After having that on my palate, it was very hard to taste, let alone enjoy the flavours of the dessert.  I mean, these things happen, so I’m not terribly upset and I do hope that this was just a one off.  Next time I want to try Chocolate Utopia. 

Overall, I was very impressed with this meal.  I would definitely recommend this restaurant and would return without question.  After all, I haven’t tried all their items on their appetizer menu yet! Based on this experience I would give this place a 4.5/5.

Short Dry Ribs
Fresh Salmon Filet
Prime Rib with Double Baked Potato
Steak Neptune
Irish Crème Brûlée

Restaurant Review: Raj Palace

Location: 3117-8650 112 Ave NW
Website: http://www.rajpalace.ca/

Considering the number of times we’re in Royal Oak at the Chinese restaurant (Empress Palace Restaurant), the Crock-A-Doodle (with Julia), the Wal-Mart, Smashburger, and Little Caesars, you’d think I would have come here at least once considering how much I love East Indian food. But alas, today we finally got to try this place out. Typically, for lunch, Indian restaurants opt to have a buffet and reserve the a la carte stuff for dinner. However, this was not the case for Raj Palace. At Raj Palace they have lunch specials that vary in price depending on the type of protein you choose to go with. In terms of price, this is probably the most economical way to go because each lunch special comes with rice and naan. However, having to stick to just one dish is kinda boring and I, unlike some others I know, like to mix things up instead of just eating one item on the plate at a time.

We were promptly seated and decided to go with the a la carte menu instead of the lunch specials. However, it was really hard to get the waiter’s attention (he was hiding behind the counter doing something on the POS system). It seemed as though he was the only one working front of house.

When I started ordering things from the a la carte menu, the waiter became very confused. I’m sure he was just trying to recommend the best course of action, but it was one I had already considered and dismissed and therefore I was a bit annoyed at him for having questioned whether that was actually what we wanted to do for lunch. For lunch we ordered the Coconut Prawn Curry, Butter Chicken, and Baingan Bharta with Steamed Basmati Rice and Butter Naan. The Coconut Prawn Curry was prawns cooked in a thick sauce of fresh tomatoes and spices with coconut cream. It was clear that the sauce was made and the prawns added to it later as opposed to being marinated/cooked in the sauce because the flavour didn’t penetrate the meat.Butter Chicken, one of my favourite dishes, consisted of chicken cooked in a mild buttery sauce of tomato and fenugreek with cashew nut paste. The only issue I had with the Butter Chicken was that the texture of the chicken was a bit off, was a bit rubbery and bouncy and that doesn’t seem right to me. And the Baingan Bharta was eggplant roasted in tandoor, cooked with onions, fresh tomatoes, garlic and seasoned with spices. The first two are flavours I’m relatively used to, the eggplant was not, but not in a bad way. The eggplant, though oily, was well prepared and seasoned. I was surprised at how fast the food came considering how long it took to get our order in. In fact, we got our food before another table who was there before us and ordered before us. Unlike Chinese restaurants, the dishes came all at once instead of one continuous stream in which you have to learn to pace yourself. The flavour of everything was amazing. The food definitely made up for the lack of service. It had just the right amount of heat and it wasn’t spicy for the sake of being spicy (like don’t make me cry, that’s too spicy although I did bite into a pepper and that really burned the back of my throat). I’m not sure exactly how to describe the spices or the combination other than it was in perfect balance. The issue with Indian food is that it can be quite heavy because of the oil content in each of the dishes. I didn’t notice it too much in these dishes with the exception of the eggplant, but that’s probably because the eggplant had to be deep-fried before cooking so that it wouldn’t fall apart and turn to mush. I would say, if I came back, I would go for the plain naan instead of butter because the butter made the naan unnecessarily oily.

For me, the sauce, as good as it is, isn’t a big deal. I’ve been told though, that the sauce to some is like liquid gold and should never go to waste. This notion was reinforced by the waiter asking us whether we wanted to pack the sauce to go and when we said no he asked if we were sure. As delicious as it was, sauce, like carbs (rice, fries, etc.) aren’t worth packing away as leftovers.

Overall, I’d say despite the service, the food was amazing and I would definitely come back here again for lunch or dinner. However, I’d say if I were to go again, I’d like to go with a lot more people so we can try out more dishes. Generally speaking, the restaurant was pretty quiet; there was only one other table besides us in there. I wouldn’t be surprised if this place were to close down due to low turnout of customers. Based on everything today, I’d still give this place a 3.9/5.

Lunch.jpg

Clockwise from top (sort of): Coconut Prawn Curry, Butter Chicken, Butter Naan, Baingan Bharta, and Steamed Basmati Rice

 

 

 

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