A couple of weeks ago we headed to Canteen, a new restaurant on 124th street. Canteen is owned by the same people who own the Red Ox Inn, which is probably one of the best restaurants in Edmonton. As soon as I heard that the Red Ox would be getting a “little sister,” I knew that Edmonton would be receiving a new culinary jewel. I was very pleased when we decided to visit Canteen to celebrate my dad’s birthday.
As soon as we arrived at Canteen I knew that we were in for a special evening. When we were led to our table the hostess asked to take our coats and took them to the back to hang up. Little touches like that just made the service at Canteen so much more than what you get at most restaurants in Edmonton these days.
When we sat down we were provided the drink and wine menus and given some time to look them over. The ladies at the table ended sharing a bottle Ram’s Leap Shiraz from New Zealand, while my dad and brother both opted for a bottle of craft beer. The wine was a delicious, full, fruity red wine that went well with everything that I had. I also thought that the label on the bottle was pretty cute. 🙂
After the drinks arrived we were given the food menu to mull over. Everything on the menu looked amazing so it was really difficult to make a decision. My mom and I decided to share the salad of radicchio, spinach, warm goat cheese, bacon vinaigrette, dried cherries and spiced walnuts, as well as some ricotta fritters with smokey maple syrup, to start.
The salad was amazing. The greens were dressed perfectly with the delicious bacon vinaigrette and the spiced walnuts added a great crunch. The star of the salad, however, was the warm, fried, breaded goat cheese. No surprise there. Mmmmm fried goat cheese… what could be bad about that?
I chose the sausage stuffed chicken with roast tomato vinaigrette, fennel salad and olive oil potatoes. The chicken was very moist and the skin was deliciously crispy. The sausage wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping it would be, it tasted fine, but for some reason the texture just seemed a little off to me. The olive oil potatoes were also excellent, very crispy and perfect for mopping up the roasted tomato vinaigrette.
Lauren chose the almond crusted Arctic Char with pork belly, carrot orange butter sauce, green beans and grilled escarole. She said that she really enjoy the fish and that the pork belly was a nice contrasting taste and texture to the char, which was cooked perfectly.
Nick opted for the Moroccan lamb chops on eggplant caponata with hazelnut celeriac lentil salad and minted raita. Nick said that the lamb chops were cooked to a perfect medium, and compared quite favorably to some other fantastic lamb dishes he’s had in the past. He really loved the lentils served with the lamb, but thought the eggplant was kind of soggy and seemed a little unnecessary.
My dad chose the Irvings pork chop, braised winter greens, cider glaze, and cassoulet skillet. He said that the pork chop was very moist and flavourful, but that he would probably try something else next time he goes to Canteen.
Both my grandma and my mom opted for the Steamboat beef shortribs on corn gnudi with glazed root vegetables, and braised reduction. My mom said that the beef short ribs were very tender and had an excellent beefy taste and weren’t greasy at all. The gnudi were delicious and the deeply roasted parsnips and carrots added a sweet, intense flavor to the dish. She said that the sauce was very good, but that she would have liked a little more of it.
Overall everyone seemed very happy with the food and service at Canteen. The food was all so good and the prices were really very reasonable ($20-something range for entrees) especially considering the high quality of the food. The service was excellent; great attention to detail and very friendly. And there was just something really “cool” and urban about the restaurant, I loved the vibe. It was maybe a little loud for a party of 6, making it a little difficult to always hear each other, but personally, I thought the “loudness” added to the great atmosphere. I can’t wait to go back to Canteen; what a wonderful addition to the Edmonton food scene!
Happy Family Day!