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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pe mitso! Let's eat! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 19, 2020

By GRAHAM HICKS It was the simplest of ideas, taking much work. Mackenzie Brown — a young Cree artist/musician/activist who describes herself as having a “moccasin in both worlds,” was chatting with food entrepreneur Brad Lazarenko in his Culina To Go within the lovely, fully re-invented Oliver Exchange retail/hospitality centre. Why not, she suggested, an evening of First Nations food, culture and stories here in Edmonton, introducing the wider community to a rich culture that has always been here, but usually presented within a political context rather than pure cultural enjoyment. Lazarenko, being Metis himself, thought this a splendid idea. Planning for Pe Mitso — Cree for “let’s eat” — began in earnest.  Two other indigenous chefs happily joined in, the renowned Shane Chartrand of the River Cree Resort’s SC Restaurant, and a newcomer to the Edmonton culinary scene, Scott Iserhoff of Pei Pei Chei Ow Catering. He ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: My word, Ma chef offers tasty food By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 11, 2020

Ma chef Korean Restaurant's "Rocky Mountain" bulgogi is a sight to behold! Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Ma chef Korean Restaurant 5818 111 St. NW (Lendrum Place Shopping Centre) 780-757-8889 Mon. to Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Fri + Sat to 9:30 p.m., Sun to 8:30 p.m.) Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30, loaded, $60 Food: 5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns No, that is not a typo. The Weekly Dish’s food rating for Ma chef Korean Restaurant is a perfect five Suns out of five. STORY CONTINUES BELOW From this clean, cheerful Korean restaurant,  in the Lendrum Place strip mall just up 111 Street from Southgate,  you’d expect comfort food for sharing with family and friends. Ma chef is that … and waaaaaay more. All six diners in our party were flabbergasted at the superb quality of the dishes coming out of chef/owner Jung Ho (Jacky) Lee’s open kitchen. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: May Bistro Praha go on forever By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 4, 2020

The best steak tartare in Edmonton, at Bistro Praha. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Bistro Praha 10117-101 St. 780-424-4218 bistropraha.com No delivery service listed Parking in Scotia Place Parkade Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sat. noon to 1 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30, loaded, $100 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Many restaurants in this town have been around since the 1970s. There’s a list below. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But none wear the years so well as the downtown’s Bistro Praha – 32 years in its original location in Rice-Howard Way until the Kelly Ramsay Building burned in 2009, re-opening two years later in the Empire Building, on 101 Street north of Jasper. When Bistro Praha re-opened, it was an exact copy of the original with better washrooms: The same sturdy wooden tables and chairs, the same giant European count ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Back to basics at Century Mile’s Derby Restaurant By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 28, 2020

One delicious plate of liver 'n' onions, smothered in gravy at the Century Mile Casino's Derby Restaurant. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Derby Restaurant, Century Mile Racetrack and Casino 4711 Airport Road, Nisku 587-416-6453 cnty.com No delivery service listed Restricted to 18 years or older Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., closed only on Christmas Day Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $28, loaded, $40 STORY CONTINUES BELOW Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns When the super-friendly waitress plopped her elbows down on the (raised booth) table to tell us about the specials of the day, the flashback happened. When I was a kid, on any special occasion, the family would pile into the station wagon to head to the local mom ‘n’ pop restaurant. The middle-aged waitress (we didn’t know what a server was) was boisterous and welcoming. She always had a pencil tucked behind her ear. She’d been t ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The best ribeyes (for the price) in Edmonton By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 21, 2020

The LUX Steakhouse much-publicized "dry-aged" ribeye steak is not the best value proposition in the market. GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS The trendy gang so looks down its nose at the classic steak dinner – a 10 to 16-ounce sirloin/ribeye/T-bone  with mashed or French fries, a carrot or two and broccoli on the side. But reality pushes its way through the anti-steak/anti-Conservative/vegan-loving minority so much louder in the media than its numbers warrant. The majority of Canadians love their meat!  And they especially love steaks, if only they could afford them! Eight specialty steakhouses in Edmonton compete for the silent meat-loving majority. STORY CONTINUES BELOW A steak dinner out has to be a special occasion. The average price for a rib-eye on a per-ounce basis at the steakhouses compared for this column, was $3.75 an ounce. The immediate experience that inspired this column was not great. LUX Steakhouse & Bar is the most enduring s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Calle Mexico predictable but good By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN January 14, 2020

Calle Mexico's tostadas, dressed with the usual ingredients. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Calle Mexico South Side 7704 104 St. NW 825-512-5932 Callemexico.ca Delivery: Skipthedishes.com Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30, loaded, $60 Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS If a restaurant’s food is good, but thoroughly conventional, is it to be praised or criticized? STORY CONTINUES BELOW Visiting the latest and third location of Calle Mexico, I found myself in this very quandary. The menu at this most recent edition of Calle Mexico – in the former Atlantic Trap & Grill on 104 Street a few blocks south of Whyte Avenue – is as stereotypically American-Mexican as every other Mexican fast food joint in town. You have eaten all this stuff since you were a kid. Tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, quesadillas, chips, salsas, nachos, guacamole, shredded por ... Read the rest of entry »

Smokey Bear’s non-stop surprises By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 7, 2020

Smokey Bear head chef and owner Riley Aitken prepared a dish of Gruger Family oyster mushrooms in a yeast sauce on the fire at the restaurant at 8223 104 Street NW in Edmonton, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Ian Kucerak/PostmediaIan Kucerak / Postmedia Smokey Bear 8223 104 St. NW 780-722-7398 Smokeybearyeg.com (Reservations) No listed take-out service Hours: Tues. to Fri. 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun. 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Monday Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $60, loaded, $160 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Never has any other Weekly Dish  Edmonton restaurant experience started with bewildered, moved on to puzzled and ended up at delighted. STORY CONTINUES BELOW On first hearing the name Smokey Bear, I envisioned Montana’s style smoked BBQ, picnic tables and sticky ribs. The clever logo — a silhouette of a b ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Tastes of Edmonton 2019 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 26, 2019

Braven's prime rib will make meat-lovers think they have died and gone to heaven. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN The best of meals, you remember for a long, long time. The very thought arouses the memory’s tastebuds, accompanied by a sweet sigh of taste recollections. The longer the memory lasts, the better the original must have been. Here are my Weekly Dish highlights from 2019. From Cyrille Koppert’s new Partake, for example, way back last January, I have total recall of the ever-changing complimentary snack given to all guests before dinners are ordered. Not silly old popcorn or peanuts, but, that night, mushroom and melted brie combo on toast. How to start right! Imaginative and complimentary starters set the tone at Partake restaurant. At the Gui Lin Noodle House on 97 Street was the lightest, most fragrant beef noodle soup I can remember, thanks to orange zest and the addition of an exceptional fruit never before tasted, especially in a soup. STORY CONTINUES BELO ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Dorinku Osaka — Casual, stylish & delicious By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 17, 2019

Dorinku Osaka's pork katsu, from the restaurant's noon menu, is presented with a variety of smaller dishes. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Dorinku Osaka 10328 Jasper Avenue 780-761-9990 Osaka.dorinku.ca No listed delivery or reservation service Hours:  11 a.m. to late, six days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30; loaded, $70 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Restaurateur Isaac Choi has a magic wand. This past decade, Choi has opened Japonais Bistro, Dorinku Tokyo and DOSC (Drunken Ox Sober Cat). All have been unique and popular. All have boasted consistently excellent food quality. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Dorinku Osaka on Jasper Avenue is no exception. If anything, the latest offering from Isaac Choi is even more interesting food-wise than its predecessors, offering separate lunch and dinner menus, a fresh fish bar and, at the back of the stylish yet casu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Braven lives up to expectations By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, December 10, 2019

Braven's prime rib will make meat-lovers think they have died and gone to heaven. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Braven JW Marriott Hotel, Edmonton ICE District 10344-102 St. 780-784-8580 bravenrestaurant.com Reservations: opentable.ca No listed delivery Hours:  Mon. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 pm., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $60; loaded, $150 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Braven, to our great relief, is all it’s cracked up to be. The more formal of the lobby-level restaurants in the new, exciting JW Marriott Hotel, Braven is doing an extraordinarily good job of having something for everybody, of offering top-notch quality and dining satisfaction within the “something”. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its traditional steakhouse selections – the five-to-14-ounce steaks, roast beef, lamb, 14 oz. pork chop, salmon a ... Read the rest of entry »
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