So in August (I know – it’s already October but I did say I had a backlog of posts) I took off for a weekend in Calgary to visit my awesome friend Carmen (aka @FoodKarmaBlog) and what a weekend trip that was! Carmen essentially took A. (road trip driver extraordinaire) and I on a Calgary food tour of epic proportions (we still have a mile long list of places to hit) as I seriously could not look at food for days afterwards.
Stop one on the tour was the eating bar at Charcut Roast House. The eating bar overlooks the kitchen so you can see everything the chefs are doing and some of them will even stop and chat for a minute or two. I wish I had thought of taking a picture of the view from the eating bar but I was distracted by this potentially judgy piggy and forgot all about the view…
The menu at Charcut does change daily but there are certain items that always seem to be available and I had an idea of what I absolutely had to try based on all the tweets and blog posts from my foodie friends. But before we got ordered food, we started off with drinks and I had a very nice ‘Summer Fling’ which consists of Hendricks gin and St. Germaine elderflower liqueur mixed with roasted red peppers and chili’s served of crushed ice. As the night went on, I also tried the ‘Caramelized Dark n’Stormy’ which is Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum mixed with Charcut’s caramel, a pinch of salt and ginger beer – it tasted fine but spiced rum is not one of my favorites so I will probably not try that again. The drink of choice for A and Carmen was the Appalachian (sorry no photos), which basically tastes like liquid apple pie, so delicious.
As we pondered the menu after ordering our drinks, we received a lovely gift from the kitchen… They sent us pork kielbasa with pickled fennel and a trout rillette with house made crostinis. This was absolutely amazing! We were a little concerned that the trout rillette would be fishy but it was not fishy at all – it spread so beautifully on the crostinis and we ate every single morsel of that dish.
After this lovely gift, the one dish that everyone raves about arrived *drumroll* the Pig Head Mortadella. This is pork studded with pistachios and truffles and there is a reason everyone talks about this dish: it is just perfection. I can’t think of anything to say except you need to try this delectable dish. Don’t let the words “pig head” turn you off – if it wasn’t in the description, you would not be able to tell at all.
Another fan favorite is the warm raclette cheese with house made pan bread. I loved this but I almost never say no to fresh bread and melty cheese. The bread was great at scooping up some of the cheese – I also added a few bites of mortadella with the bread and cheese and it tasted so amazing.
At this point, we received another gift from the kitchen! They sent us the watermelon and cucumber salad with citrus marinated feta cheese and mint – this was a wonderfully refreshing dish. I don’t usually like feta but this was absolutely delicious and the combination of flavors served almost like a palate cleanser before our main course.
You would think we would be finished by now after all these dishes but no we still had our shared main entree and sides. We ordered the butcher steak with the duck fat poutine and smashed potatoes. The butcher steak of the day was a petite tender which according to wikipedia is a “cut of beef from the shoulder” and it was beautifully cooked to medium and was so good. The butcher steak came with matchstick potatoes, arugula and chimichurri sauce and the chimichurri added a nice element of flavor to the beef.
I loved the duck fat poutine with cheese curds and truffle gravy, the duck fat really gives the poutine much more flavor. The smashed potatoes with sour cream, rosemary and house cured bacon were probably my least favorite item but that was mainly due to the sour cream because I personally dislike sour cream (a lot). The sour cream free pieces that I did have were quite tasty but if I had to order a potato/starch-y dish, I would just go with more duck fat poutine.
By now we’re all pretty stuffed but there is still dessert… I’ve already committed to a huge “roll me out of here” dinner, what’s one more item right? Plus the dessert is super tiny and there were three of us… we went with the cherry cheesecake in a jar and the kitchen had one last gift for us – chocolate chip cookies! The cherry cheesecake was yummy as the cherries added a little bit of tartness in between the bites vanilla bean cheesecake mousse and toasted graham crumbs. We did have to admit defeat and take our cookies back to Carmen’s for breakfast – it was a great start to the next day though!
Charcut Roast House
101, 899 Centre Street SW
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
Our dinner bill came out to $140 before tax and tip but a huge portion of the bill was due to drinks ($67) so if you don’t drink, the food costs are not what I would consider unreasonable. Our bill breakdown was:
- Appalachian – $30 (3 x $10 each)
- Strawberry Julep – $12
- Summer Fling – $12
- Dark N’ Stormy – $13
- Pig Head Mortadella – $9
- Raclette Cheese and Pan Bread – $16
- Butcher Steak – $24
- Duck Fat Poutine – $8
- Smashed Potatoes – $8
- Cherry Cheesecake – $8
So if we chose not to drink with our meal, our bill would have only been $73 + tax and tip and between 3 people, that is not unreasonable at all. We were super stuffed when we left and that was partly due to the generous gifts from the kitchen but even if they didn’t send us anything, I think we would have been satisfied with the amount of the food we ordered. Because of the gifts from the kitchen, we certainly paid less than what we received and that’s always a nice bonus.
In the end, our total including tax and tip was $175 or so, which works out to $58.33 per person. The experience and quality of food was stellar, so I definitely feel this was worth the price. However, if you’re on a budget and you want to try Charcut, consider going in at lunch where they have the Charcut Lunch All at Once for $15 or $25. The $15 lunch special includes a soup, sandwich, and cookies, while the $25 lunch has a salad, the daily rotisserie, parmesan fries, cookies and coffee to go.