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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Madison's Grill a hidden gem BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015

Madison’s Grill Union Bank Inn, 10053 Jasper Avenue 780-401-2222 unionbankinn.com Weekdays: breakfast, lunch and dinner to 10 p.m. Weekends: brunch, dinner Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (just food): basic, $75; loaded, $110 Madison’s Grill deserves more respect. Here’s this gem of a fine dining restaurant in the heart of the downtown, in the beautiful and historic Union Bank Inn boutique hotel on Jasper Avenue. The waiter pulls out your chair for you, the linen is crisp, the cutlery lined up Downton Abbey style. And yet when Edmontonians think of downtown fine-dining elegance, they default to the Hotel Macdonald’s Harvest Room, The Hardware Grill, Characters and La Ronde in the Chateau Lacombe. They just don’t think of Madison’s. This could be about marketing or the lack thereof. Madison’s seems quite content out of the limelight. Since chef Blair Lebsack left five years ago to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Bothy's fare won't disappoint BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015

The Bothy (Downtown) Wine & Whisky Bar 10124 124 St. 780 760 8060 thebothy.ca Open 3 p.m. Closings: Sun.-Mon 9 pm; Tues 10 pm; Wed 11 pm; Thurs 12 midnight; Fri-Sat 2 am Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns The Bothy Wine & Whisky Bars have been around too long to be seen as a new phenomenon. The original on the south side was one of first pubs in town to introduce seriously good food along with an extensive selection of wines and whiskys. Today, dozens of establishments do the same thing, among them The Glass Monkey, the Fionn MacCool chain, the venerable Rose & Crown and, for wine and light eats, the Wine Room on Jasper Avenue. Bothy proprietor Doug Townshend was happy enough with the original Bothy south side to expand into the The Bothy Downtown in the heart of Edmonton’s latest dining precinct, 124 Street from Jasper Avenue to 108 Avenue. No doubt Townshend fell in love with the space just around the corner where Jas ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: It's Downtown Dining Week BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2015

Welcome to Downtown Dining Week and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the best dining deals in town through this coming Sunday, March 22 - $15 for top-notch lunches, $28 for “normal” three-course dinners, $48 for three-course “executive” dinners that would normally cost $65 or more at restaurants the Weekly Dish routinely awards four Suns or more out of five. Restaurateurs are usually as co-operative as wolverines, given the intense competition for the dining dollar. This is a town with some 2,500 restaurants. At the high end, not that many folks can afford to routinely dine out at the $200-per-couple level. Last time I looked, most of us were middle-class, struggling with mortgage and car payments, raising kids. By the time the house was paid off, we’re saving for retirement. Somehow the Edmonton Downtown Association’s executive director Jim Taylor persuaded 33 of the downtown’s better eateries to love each other, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Taylor ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Evil Dave's food heavenly BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 03, 2015

Evil Dave’s Grill 622 Patricia Avenue Jasper, Alberta 780-852-3323 evildavesgrill.com 5 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. weekends Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns The name and the theme are a bit wacko, but the food is really, really good. Good thing we’d made a reservation at Evil Dave’s Grill on a Saturday evening in Jasper. The cheerful restaurant was packed, the ambience having much to do with the glow that skiers give off after a beautiful day at the nearby Marmot Basin ski resort. Amusingly, given the mildly adult tongue-in-cheek ‘hellish’ theme, the eatery was full of kids. The ski hill had been alive with munchkins, thanks to the Jasper Junior Olympics. Good food for the parents, kid-friendly staff and a kids’ menu bodes well for a loyal family clientele. It’s Jasper. There’s magic in the air at the best of times and Evil Dave’s had a great buzz on. Jasper has more than its share of excellent c ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: It' Dog is doggone good BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2015

It’ Dog 8621 109 St. 780-438-4083 www.facebook.com/itdogsandchicken Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – $14, loaded $25 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., later on weekends. Wondrous though it may be for convenience, cost and simple preparation, the hot dog sits close to the bottom of the food chain. It’s also alarmingly predictable in its toppings — ketchup, mustard, relish, sometimes onions and sauerkraut. Even a Fat Franks upgrade — best quality sausage and roll, double the usual size — is conventional in the condiment department. Which is why, as you dig into an It’ Dog with a knife and fork because it’s too messy and too big to fit directly into your mouth, you wonder … why hasn’t anybody thought of this before? The It’ Dog Korean-fusion hot dog starts with a beautiful big top-quality sausage in a yummy, hot, soft pretzel bun. That’s just the start. On to ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Fine dining at Fort Edmonton Park BY GRAHAM HICKS , EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014

It still remains a culinary secret, even though Johnson’s Café has been open for over 10 years in the Hotel Selkirk at Fort Edmonton Park.

Why would this very good dining room, in the height of summer, only have a few tables occupied on a lovely Thursday evening?

Location, location, location.

It’s the café’s biggest strength and weakness. The historic Hotel Selkirk is in Fort Edmonton Park, accessible by a side road after the park closes. The site is so beautiful, it’s Jasper without the three-hour drive.

But destination diners don’t think of Johnson’s Café. And if they did, they’d be unsure how to get there and uncertain of its hours.

This will change. Fort Edmonton Park soon plans to be open year-round with upgraded services. Leading the changes is new food services supervisor and master chef Jasmin Kobajica, who’s already raised the bar on park food.
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Hicks' Weekly Dish: It's all about the Meat BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 08, 2014

Meat, recently opened in Edmonton's Old Strathcona district in Alberta, Canada,  is one of the best, fully thought-through restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of entering.
It’s full of contradictions. Yet, from the initial impression, to décor, to food and menu, it’s one delicious whole.
Whoever has heard of a BBQ smokehouse parading as a tea room!
This slightly dainty, new-age establishment is serving up mounds of mouth-watering beef brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken! It’s the opposite to the stereotypic “y’all chow down now, y’hear?” smokehouse. In fact, there’s not a smokehouse cliché to be seen.

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tasty Tomato is all about classic comfort food BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JULY 01, 2014

Tasty Tomato Italian Eatery 14233 Stony Plain Road 780-452-3594 www.tastytomato.ca Open evenings, with lunch Thursday and Friday. Closed Sundays Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 stars If it ain’t broke, why fix it? I can’t bear witness, as last week was my first visit to the Tasty Tomato Italian Eatery. But by all reports, not much has changed in 20 years, other than Angelo and Mirella Amendola are older, and son Joe is now a full partner in the family-run restaurant. To which Angelo would shrug his shoulders and say, why change? The restaurant is full on weekends and obviously has a loyal clientele that spans generations. Tasty Tomato has a comfy ‘80s feel. It’s not the least bit trendy, but is in no need of a makeover. Which also describes the menu — as classic Canadian-Italian as you’ll find, with 18 pasta selections, veal and chicken entrees, starter tomato salads, calamari, eggplant, escargot and brusc ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks’ Weekly Dish: How not to run a restaurant BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN POSTED: TUESDAY, JUNE 03, 2014

The Weekly Dish talks about some of the basics in providing a satisfying dining experience ... and how many small restaurants are lacking in many departments! 

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Parlour offers quality for everyone BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2014

The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar 10334 Capital Blvd. (108 St.) 780-990-0404 Centuryhospitality.com/parlour Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: Basic, $35; loaded, $80 Edmonton’s Century Hospitality restaurant group (Century Grill, Lux Steakhouse, Hundred, MRK and two Delux Burger Bars) knows the secret to its undeniable success. It’s so smart. It deliberately stays about 30% behind the culinary sophistication of high-end bistros like The Red Ox Inn or the Three Boars, knowing those outlets attract a very small market of high-end discerning foodies. But the Century group venture far beyond the predictable conventions of the big-box chain restaurants. It presents, and presents well, something for everybody at the table — from the I-know-what-I-like crowd to the adventurous foodie out with friends and family. Even the tried ‘n’ true — pizza, steak, hambur ... Read the rest of entry »
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