I first visited Nineteen (XIX) in January and I wasn’t overly impressed. At the time, I suggested that it probably had a lot to do with the items that we chose to eat. We were sitting in the lounge and ended up ordering appetizers off of the lounge menu.
This time, however, I was visiting with my mom and although we were sitting in the lounge, we ordered dinner off of the dining room menu and because of this, my dining experience was very different.
First, we looked over the drink menu at XIX and each ordered a refreshing, summery cocktail. I chose the Tropical Twist cocktail which had a nice tartness thanks to the raspberry vodka and lime juice. My mom opted for the Sun Kissed cocktail which she said she quite enjoyed and that it reminded her of a high-end Singapore Sling.
After looking over the menu we decided to start with an appetizer to share and then each order our own entrée. Almost everything on the appetizer list looked delicious to me, but as my mom isn’t the biggest seafood fan we decided on a land roaming animal. I love beef tataki and the Alberta Beef Tataki on XIX’s menu sounded outstanding. It was thinly sliced Alberta beef with a wasabi aioli, sliced shallot, arugula, Turkish olive oil, sea salt, and crispy potato. Our wonderfully, friendly server ensured us that we were making a great decision by ordering the beef tataki.
The dish showcased the beautiful texture and flavour of the Alberta beef. At the same time, all of the other ingredients added so many wonderful layers of flavours and textures to the dish. The spiciness of the wasabi, the crunch of the potatoes, the acidity of the ponzu sauce; it all just worked so wonderfully together. I would order this dish again in a heartbeat and next time… I wouldn’t want to share it! 🙂
For my entree I ordered the Duo of Alberta Lamb, which was a grilled rack of lamb and loin chop, herb potato gnocchi, sautéed wild mushroom and mint pesto. I am a really big lamb fan and I really enjoyed this dish. The lamb was cooked perfectly medium-rare and the mint pesto was a really interesting way to add mint, which is traditionally served with lamb, to the dish.
My mom chose the Hoisin Glazed Alberta Short Ribs, which were served with seasonal vegetables, jumbo crispy onion rings and béarnaise sauce. My mom really enjoyed this dish, she said the beef was very tender and she especially like the onions rings. She mentioned that although she always really likes béarnaise sauce, she wasn’t sure that it really added a lot to the dish. I had a bite of my mom’s entrée and it was really tasty, but I found the sauce maybe just a tiny bit sweeter than I would have liked.
For dessert we decided on an apple crumble tart, which was quite good for an apple crumble, but still not as good as the one that my mom makes. We must have liked it though, because the plate was practically licked clean. 🙂
I was very pleased with this experience at XIX. I am glad that I had the opportunity to visit again and try some of the items off of the dining room menu. The Beef Tataki especially stood out for me. I think for my palate, I still don’t see the necessity of having items like nachos on the lounge menu at somewhere as innovative as XIX, I prefer more interesting items. However, after giving the issue a little more thought, I can see how a restaurant the size of XIX, located out in the burbs, might need to include a few “crowd pleasers.”
I would be remiss not to mention that not only was the food great, but the service was absolutely outstanding. Everyone we encountered was very friendly and incredibly helpful in answering any questions we had about the menu. Now I just need to figure out how to recreate that delicious beef tataki at home… yum!