Earlier this month, my friend Allie, Nick, Lauren and I decided to head over to XIX Nineteen, a new restaurant that recently opened up in McGrath. Nick and Lauren had been there for dinner before, however neither Allie or I had tried it yet, so we anxious to do so. I guess we fell prey to all of the advertising that the restaurant has done; XIX seems to be everywhere!
We headed over at about 8:30 pm on a weekend for some drinks and appetizers. I was very curious to see what all of the fuss was about!
The restaurant itself looks really nice and I think it makes a good, local, non-chain restaurant, addition to the neighbourhood.
We were seated in the busy lounge and given the menus to look over. The first thing I noticed was that XIX certainly was not cheap… not that I was really expecting it to be. We were all set on wine and decided to go with a bottle of Bodega Amalaya, a Malbec from Argentina. A bottle, as is usually the case, ended up being of better value for us, rather than each getting a glass. To me the wine was very smooth and fruity, making it very nice to drink.
We decided to share a few different appetizers, so that we would all be able to try a variety of different items on the menu. We opted for the Ginger Beef, Ahi Tuna Twists, and very randomly, Nachos, as we wanted some sort of “larger item” that would help fill out the rest of the meal.
The Ginger Beef was quite different from the Ginger Beef I am used to getting from Chinese food restaurants in Edmonton. Instead of the usual tiny strips of “beef” that become unrecognisable due to the large amount of batter on them, the Ginger Beef at XIX was actual large chunks of beef, deep-fried and then doused in sauce. I really enjoyed the fact that the beef was so meaty, for lack of a better term, but I just found there to be something a little off-putting about the sauce. I am not the biggest Ginger Beef fan, so it might just have been that, but I still don’t think it would be something I would order again.
We HAD to order the Ahi Tuna Twists as I they seem to be the one thing everyone mentions when they talk about XIX. I was really looking forward to them, but to be honest, I was a little underwhelmed. I found that the sauce on the noodles really over powered the delicate taste of the Ahi Tuna. I really fell in love with Ahi while I was in Maui, but I just felt like the lovely, delicate flavour got completely lost in this dish. The Ahi Tuna Twists still tasted good, I just didn’t think it showcased the Ahi as well as it could have.
The last thing we decided to share were the Nachos, which I know aren’t really anything special, but we wanted something that would be fairly substantial and easy to share. The Nachos were really good, but at the end of the day were just Nachos. I wouldn’t say they were far superior to Nachos from somewhere like Original Joe’s either, where you get about 3 times as much.
I really enjoyed my drink and meal at XIX, although I think that had a lot more to do with the company than the food. Unfortunately, for the prices that XIX charges I was expecting better, more interesting food. I really feel like XIX has been a little bit over-hyped. I mean I enjoyed the Nachos and all, but I was a little surprised to even see them on the menu at a place like that.
With so many other great, new restaurants popping up all over Edmonton I don’t think I will be heading back to XIX any time soon. It’s not that it was bad, it just didn’t blow my socks off. I think if I just wanted some wine and appies I would be just as happy heading to Earls or Original Joe’s, and it would probably be a little cheaper too.