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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Return to RGE RD a delectable treat By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, February 13, 2018

RGE RD 10643 123 St. 780-447-4577 rgerd.ca Monday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight Closed Sundays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $60; loaded, $120 Food – 5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service- 4.5 of 5 Suns In 2013, when RGE RD was just three months old, The Weekly Dish awarded the restaurant an extremely rare 5 out of a possible of 5 Suns for its food. I am delighted, ecstatic in fact, that a return visit almost five years later has earned Blair Lebsack’s restaurant yet another perfect, 5 of 5 Sun rating for its food. Everything was as good, if not better than that impressive showing in 2013 — one of the only differences being the need these days to make a prime-time reservation many weeks ahead. Chef Lebsack, who left a comfortable job teaching at the NAIT culinary school to launch what was then a bold experiment, has stuck clearly and calmly to the same food philosophy that has guided RGE RD since conception. He sticks as clo ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Cibo Bistro offers consistently tasty Italian cuisine By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, February 6, 2018

Cibo Bistro 11244 104 Ave. (Oliver Square) 780-757-2426 Cibobistro.com Tues. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sun. and Mon. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $80; loaded, $170 Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Question of the day: After six years under executive chef and partner Rosario Caputo, should Cibo Bistro (in Oliver Square, just off the downtown) be considered one of the Top 10 restaurants in Edmonton? I hate to say ‘on the one hand’, or ‘yes but’, or ‘it depends’. But … it depends! If the criteria is primarily top quality, visual presentation and consistently excellent food, yes. But if inventiveness and innovation are high on your list, no. Chef Caputo is not in the business of being daring. He sticks to his knitting, being high-end Italian dining. The most exciting he gets is ox or pork cheeks. But that which emerges from ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: El Fogon Latino offering tasty, authentic Venezuelan fare By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 30, 2018

El Fogon Latino 8026 118 Ave. 780-756-8388 el-fogon-latino.com Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Mon. to Sat. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages and tip: basic, $16; loaded, $40. This reviewer has a soft spot for mom ‘n’ pop restaurants, where there’s been no million-dollar redesign, no swishy menu, no college-aged servers in black skirts and high heels who know nothing about the food they are serving. Just mom and dad, with the kids (grown-up or teenagers) helping out. The food is authentic, simple and, if you’re lucky, incredibly tasty. So it is with the second new Venezuelan/Latino restaurant in town. El Fogon Latino is on 118 Avenue, where many family-run ethnic eateries are born. Kevin Goncalves and his poppa Antonio Marcelino run the front and back of El Fogon, which in Spanish means the family hearth, as in an old-fashioned, outdoor, wood-burning oven. I’m sure there’s a momma somew ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Hot time for hot dogs! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 23, 2018

Montreal Hot Dogs 10503 104 Ave. (Quest Condo Tower) 780-909-4878 montrealhotdogs.ca Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $15; loaded, $30 Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns *** Mayday Dogs 10359B 104 St. (Mercer Building) 587-989-5456 maydaydogs.com Tues. to Sat. noon to 8 p.m. (closed Sun. and Mon.) Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $15; loaded, $40 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Two new hot dog shops, but still no great hot dog wieners! Within weeks of each other, two hot dog emporiums have opened, one block from each other, within spitting distance of Rogers Place. Both start with a traditional wiener in a bun. Surprisingly, both have only one standard wiener. That’s where the similarity ends. Their toppings are from different planets. Montreal Hot ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Salz Bratwurst Co. is big taste in a small package By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 16, 2018

SALZ BRATWURST CO. 10556 115 ST. 780-599-7259 EATSALZ.CA Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sun/Mon Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: $20; loaded, $30 Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Let there be no denial.  Small is beautiful. Salz Bratwurst Co is the cutest miniature beer hall/sausage house you have ever seen, a hole-in-the-wall on 115 Street south of 107 Avenue, with two long tables to sit at and a TV to watch the Oilers.On the chalkboard menu were three choices of made-in-house bratwurst sausage (with or without the piggy-in-a-blanket bun), goulash, currywurst, three salads, cheesy spätzle and Butcher’s Cake, described as charcuterie within a bread pudding mix. The meat dishes are constant. The sides – such as pretzels, dumplings and perogies – take their turns in the daily line-up. Behind the simple bar are two draft-beer taps, through which are rotated made-in-Alberta, German-style craft beers.  The Fah ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pip offers solid entrees, but falters on dessert By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 10, 2018

Pip 10403 83 Ave 780-760-4747 pipyeg.com 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week Brunch, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food:  3.75 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns| Service: 4 of 5 Suns Chefs take note: The last dish, the dessert, can cut the deepest. Following a most pleasant dinner at Pip, a dessert was sent to our table that ought never to have left the kitchen. Pip’s pineapple upside-down cake sounded tasty.  Our server, who had proved quite reliable in her suggestionsto that point, had described it in glowing terms. Alas, said cake tasted as if it had been languishing in a cooler for a day or two – cold, thick, chewy, the rum caramel sauce slightly leaden, the entire concoction unredeemed by a mighty dollop of whipped cream. Instead of leaving the new, mini-sized Old Strathcona eatery on a culinary high, happily reliving the evening’s highlights, we walked out feeling deflated, disappointed, the taste o ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Rebel Food & Drink a great neighbourhood fit BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, January 2, 2018

REBEL FOOD & DRINK 9112 142 STREET 780-752-7325 CENTURYHOSPITALITY.COM/REBEL Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $30; loaded, $60 Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 3.5 of 5 Suns Rebel Food & Drink takes the old – the idea of a neighbourhood-based eatery/bar – shines it up, modernizes and makes it trendy.   But it’s still the place to meet your pals for a drink, or bring the family if nobody wants to cook. And if you’re over .05 thanks to half-price wine Wednesdays, you can walk (cab/UBER) home without breaking the bank, then come back in the morning to get your car. It may have been partially circumstantial, but the latest concept from Chris Lachance’s Century Hospitality Group (Lux, Delux, MKT, Hart’s, Parlour) hits all the right buttons. Piccolino’s had been an old-style village Italian eatery, an inner-west end fixture ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Edmonton's food future all about the chefs BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 19, 2017

Matilda, the kudos coming Edmonton’s way for its restaurant renaissance are for real. The facts speak for themselves: City restaurants earned three of Canada’s Top 10 new restaurants in enRoute Magazine, five of Open Table’s 100 Best Canadian Restaurants for 2017, five of Canada’s 100 best restaurants as chosen by Canada100Best.com. Edmonton came out of nowhere to jump onto Resonance Consultancy’s Top 100 World Cities annual rating for this year – at number 60. Our culinary smorgasbord was a “quality of life” factor. The Toronto Sun ran a culinary travel story under the headline “Why your next foodie trip should be Edmonton.” When Air Canada announced non-stop Edmonton-to-San Francisco service (in the spring), the EnRoute Top 10 awards were cited by an Air Canada executive as an example of our city’s “considerable, young, entrepreneurial demographic.” By my count, some 50 young (or young-at-heart) exciting chefs hav ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: LOFT Thai Eatery elevates its food BY GRAHAM HICKS originally published Edmonton Sun: December 12, 2017

LOFT Thai Eatery 5324 75 St. 780-466-5638 Loftthaieatery.com Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday Dinner for two, excluding tip and beverages: basic, $30; loaded, $50 Food:  4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns The food is beautiful. The space is not. LOFT Thai Eatery chef Shon Vichitvorakul is producing the best Thai “fusion” dishes this city has seen since The King & I Thai Restaurant was one of Edmonton’s Top 10 restaurants. The young Thai, trained in Australia and five-star hotels in Thailand, is producing green curry and pesto pastas, duck leg with fragrant Thai curries and cooked fruit, delicious home-made coconut-infused peanut sauces and dozens of other original Thai-based creations. The LOFT’s rama salad is a mix of soft and crunch. Plus, it should be added, conventional dishes for the meat ‘n’ potatoes crowd. Sadly, the venue does not do the food jus ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Sorrentino’s Staff Lunch by GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, December 5, 2017

A wonderful tradition, entirely unknown outside the restaurant kitchen … and probably not much practiced in North America in any case, is the impromptu staff lunch. After the noon rush at Sorrentino’s Downtown,  executive chef Alberto Alboreggia gathers up food in the kitchen that is  surplus to the customers’ needs: Fish skeletons from which the filets have been cut, what’s left of a primal beef detached of its sirloins and prime rib, vegetable peelings and so on. Every day, Alberto converts them into a delicious, quick staff lunch.   A 22 pound, never-frozen fresh salmon has already been stripped of its salmon steaks and filets.  But left over is the head, the fins, all the meat buried alongside the spine. There are pounds of edible fish here, but it’s of little interest to the front-of-house guest. A few pieces of chicken might be left from the night before. Roasted potatoes – quartered, peeled, sprinkled with olive oil and herbs – remain i ... Read the rest of entry »
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