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Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Halley's Club at West Edmonton Mall ushers in the return of dining 'n' dancing By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 31, 2018

Halley's Club hostess Liz Obonebinja brings a Roaring '20s look to the dine 'n' dance establishment. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Halley’s Club Starlight Casino, West Edmonton Mall Entrance 9 (second floor), 8882-170 St. 587-460-2428 Halleysclub.com Thurs. to Sat. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two: basic, $50; loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS Who would have foreseen the return of the “classic” dine ‘n’ dance club to Edmonton? In an era of clatter, small plates and bar-counter informal dining, Halley’s Club stands out like a sore thumb. A beautiful sore thumb! The massive ballroom-sized club in West Edmonton Mall is strangely beautiful, windowless with the highest of ceilings, all curtains and booths, polished wood and brass, some 270 seats. Halley’s Club is part of the massive conversion of the mighty mall’s former Palace Casino/Jubilations Dinner Theatre/Rum Jungle ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Reviewing a Taste of Edmonton BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 24, 2018

At Taste of Edmonton, Kevin Kao prepares the Loma House sweet potato balls dessert. (GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN)Edmonton The big news at this year’s Taste of Edmonton Festival, running through Sunday, isn’t about the food but about the venue. When the city temporarily converted Churchill Square into a staging depot for LRT construction, festivals using the square had to seek out new digs. With a little arm-twisting from Edmonton cabinet minister Brian Mason, the provincial bureaucrats reluctantly turned over the new, beautiful Capital Plaza just north of the Legislative Grounds to the food-eating, wine and beer consuming unwashed masses … who happen to own the space. It worked! On the “Taste Piazza” (Capital Plaza itself), festivalgoers can move around with alcoholic beverages, ice cream and summer drinks in hand —  no more do-not-leave beer gardens. The space has been discovered, with what’s likely to be record attendance by Sunday. Just off Ca ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Volcano — there's reason for lack of recognition By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 17, 2018

Dragon's Eye maki roll. Volcano Japanese-Vietnamese Restaurant 4226 Gateway Blvd. 780-756-2218 Volcanoedmonton.com Delivery: SkipTheDishes.com Sun. to Thurs. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Food:  2.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 2.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding drinks and tip: basic, $20; loaded $40 By GRAHAM HICKS Oh dear. As a restaurant reviewer, I read social media restaurant reports, check with friends in the hospitality business, monitor dining-out blogs such as Sharon Yeo’s OnlyHereForTheFood.com. Because noteworthy new restaurants in this town are quickly recognized.  Conversely, hundreds of restaurants initially aspiring to high culinary standards are ignored. They don’t live up to their hype. Last week, we took younger friends out to dinner. I was looking for a south-side eatery that was quasi-trendy, had visual and culinary style, and a menu with something for everybody. The pickings were thin. The Weekly Dish ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Captain's Boil is a big, happy surprise By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN July 10, 2018

Hello there, Mr. Crayfish! Crayfish from The Captain's Boil at South Edmonton Common. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN The Captain’s Boil Edmonton South Edmonton Common 2051 98 St. 780-485-8756 thecaptainsboil.com No delivery service,  online ordering with store pick-up Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sun. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two: basic, $30; loaded $60 By GRAHAM HICKS The Captain’s Boil is a big, happy surprise. I am never one to trust franchise-restaurant operations. There’s no chef in the kitchen, no creativity at the table, usually just a franchise owner taking all orders from head office. But this Captain’s Boil – a rapidly growing Canadian franchise with some 30 restaurants across the country — is different. It’s fun, it’s shockingly different, the seafood is quite delicious, and very, very well-priced. The overall ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Imagine Okuda fundraiser a chance for chef to wow diners By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun July 3, 2018

Imagine Okuda Fundraising Dinner June 27, 2018 Holy Roller Restaurant By GRAHAM HICKS The Weekly Dish usually avoids special-event dinners, given the idea is to review a restaurant in its every-day mode, to review anonymously, and to report on menu offerings that are always available. But this six-course fund-raiser on June 27, was different. It was created to raise funds for a six-story mural in Old Strathcona by globally recognized Spanish street painter Okuda San Miguel. San Miguel’s geometric works are packed with colour and vibrancy. The mural — to be painted on the north-facing side of the Crawford Block in a little-known plaza east of Gateway and south of 83rdAvenue – will offset the unrelenting white (snow) and green (evergreen trees) of an Edmonton winter. Imagine Okuda was also a chance to support Michael Maxxis, a culinary entrepreneur (Holy Roller, Have Mercy, and El Cortez restaurants) and a filmmaker. The interiors of his Old Strathcona restaurants are works of a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Silk Bar Kitchen, a bar with good food, not a restaurant By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 26, 2018

The seared basa filet on cous cous was a highlight of Silk's bar dining. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Silk Bar Kitchen 10344 105 Street (beside the Quest condo tower) 780-264-1444 Silkbarkitchen.com Tues. to Fri. 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sat. noon to 12 a.m. Sun. noon to 2 a.m. Closed Monday Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 2.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, just food – basic $35, loaded $65 By GRAHAM HICKS The food experience in Edmonton is being blended into the bar/lounge experience. It is not a particularly pleasant picture. Full evenings of casual but elegant dining — inspired by RGE RD and Corso 32, in turn inspired by the likes of the Hardware Grill – are being replaced by lounges offering more complex bar food than in the past. When you walk into Silk Bar Kitchen, you are not walking into a bustling restaurant for a 6:30 p.m. dinner. You are walking into a near-empty bar, that two hours later is still nearly empty, and likely won’ ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Ampersand 27 By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 19, 2018

Who would have thought, besides chef Fan Zhang, that pureed popcorn would go so well with scallops? Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Ampersand 27 10612 82 (Whyte) Ave. 780-757-2727 ampersand27.com Delivery: Skipthedishes.com Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4 p.m. to late, seven days a week 10 a.m. opening Saturdays and Sundays Dinner for two, just food – basic $34, loaded $65 By GRAHAM HICKS The good news is Ampersand 27 continues to be one of Old Strathcona’s best restaurants. The bad news is that the restaurant has lost the culinary edge it once had, years ago, under its initial chef Nathin Bye. It’s a handsome space that has needed little renovation since the 200-seat space originally opened more than a decade ago. In the dining room, the ceilings are high, it is spacious with acres of natural lighting. An informal classic decor is based on elegant wood. There is – like every restaurant these da ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish — Kanto 98 St. Eatery a culinary adventure By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun June 12, 2018

Kanto's take on Liempo - sweet, silky BBQ'd pork belly slices. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Kanto 98 St. Eatery 10636 98 St. 780-244-7388 Kanto98st.com 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week Delivery: Skipthedishes.com and UberEATS Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $22, loaded $45 By GRAHAM HICKS It’s not that Chef Edgar Gutierrez hasn’t enough to do. As the executive chef and partner in Tres Carnales and Rostizado, he oversees two highly successful kitchens. The downtown Tres Carnales has been packed since it opened seven years ago. Rostizado, with its unique take on Mexican, Latino and South American cuisine, is fast becoming one of Edmonton’s top restaurants. But within the success, Gutierrez always had a hankering to open a restaurant paying tribute to his Filipino heritage (he came to Canada from the Philippines in his pre-teens), at the same time applying his own style and in ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Manor Bistro offers quality, atmosphere By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 29 2018

Daily specials, such as this goat-cheese crusted salmon filet, are a highlight of the Manor Bistro's offerings. GRAHAM HICKS/PostmediaEdmonton Manor Bistro 10109-125 St. 780-482-2577 Themanorbistro.com No advertised delivery Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Mondays Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two (excluding beverages and tip): Basic, $45; loaded, $80 By GRAHAM HICKS If you are a fan of Old World ambience — of finishing carpentry from a bygone age, plank floors built to last for centuries rather than decades, of solid, ornate wood-carved tables, of big  heavy windows that slide up and down — you will adore the Manor Bistro. Built at the turn of the 20th century in what was then Edmonton’s far west end, one block beyond the curve of Jasper Avenue into 124 Street,  the lovely old home that is the Manor Bistro somehow survived the wrecker’s ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: JOEY Bell Tower continues tradition of great, upscale-casual cuisine By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 22, 2018

JOEY's signature lettuce wrap is a delicious, nutritious starter. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN JOEY Bell Tower 10310 101 St. 780-990-5639 Joeyrestaurants.com 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week (Sundays, 11 a.m. to midnight) No advertised delivery Food:  3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $80 By GRAHAM HICKS They remain the best of breed. Nobody does casual, up-scale and comfortable like the four JOEY restaurants in town. Of the four, the downtown JOEY Bell Tower gets extra marks as the latest and most chic. Nobody else … other than Earls (six locations in town, the flagship being Earls Tin Palace) and Cactus Club (two locations): They may have different “brands” and slightly differing ownership, but all three chains have more-or-less the same menus and the same commitment to quality.  The three restaurant groups are intertwined, owned or influenced as they are by th ... Read the rest of entry »
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