Saturday, September 1, 2012

Calgary: Redwater Rustic Grille

I’d driven by Redwater Grille many times, located across the street from Foothills Hospital, but truthfully never had the desire to eat there. It might be the location, as it is somewhat hidden near an odd little strip mall, behind The Keg and Wendy’s. Or it might be the fact that, for a pricier meal, higher-priced chains are rarely the best offering (Redwater has four Calgary locations).  Nevertheless, we headed there at my sister’s suggestion.

The menu seemed quite standard for a chain, offering flatbreads, pastas, steak, and some other mains (in the high $20s to mid-$30s range). My sister ordered the chicken papardelle and my brother the lamb risotto, while I opted for the cremini mushroom flatbread.

Though we’d made the reservation for 8:15, the server was a bit slow to take our drink orders, bring our drinks, and take our meal orders. It was well after 9:00 by the time our entrees came.

The chicken papardelle ($18.95) came with a variety of vegetables – spinach, mushrooms, peppers, peas, and asparagus. The chicken was flavorful, but the rest of the dish was entirely forgettable – too many ingredients in a generic cream sauce with slightly overcooked noodles.  Nothing too impressive.

The lamb risotto ($21.95) had a nice flavor, though my brother felt that the strong, gamy flavor of the lamb compromised the creaminess he was expecting from the risotto. The lamb would have been much better served as an entrée with sides, as it seemed to clash with the texture of the risotto.

The menu described the crimini flatbread ($12.95) as roasted garlic cream, arugula, shaved grana padano, truffle honey, and balsamic. Mostly, though, I could only taste arugula, mushroom, and balsamic. The balsamic reduction drizzled on the arugula was quite tasty, and I felt the flatbread could have used more of it. The flatbread was okay, again nothing too impressive.

The service at Redwater was also a bit lacking. Though the restaurant wasn’t overly busy, the server never checked on our food or asked about drink refills, and when it came time to pay the bill, we were left waiting for her to return while we watched her chatting by the bar.

Overall, I’d describe my experience at Redwater as very average. The service was disappointing, the menu standard, and the food forgettable. For the price, there are much better options – for a similar-priced chain, I’d recommend Cactus Club Cafe.  

Redwater Rustic Grille Stadium on Urbanspoon

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