HicksBiz Blog

Category: Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Weekly Dish columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Bodega adds to flavour on 124 Street By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 15, 2018

The paella at Bodega 124th Street is packed with the freshest of seafood. Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar on 124th Street 12417 Stony Plain Rd. 780-250-6066 bodegayeg.ca/124 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week (1 a.m. Friday and Saturday) Food:  4 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 There’s always room for another (good) restaurant. Ten years ago, on or close to 124 Street, from Jasper Avenue to 108 Avenue, perhaps three restaurants were around of any quality. Today, there’s 20 or more. Yet good new restaurants in the area still quickly fill. The Bodega/Sabor/Urbano Pizza restaurant group, headed by executive chef Lino Oliveira and operations man Christian Mena,  has opened its third Bodega tapas bar, Bodega 124th Street. Bodega 124th Street is every bit as interesting, tasty and unusual as Bodega Downtown (sharing space with the seafood-specialty Sabor) and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Corso 32 continues to offer some of Edmonton's best food By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: May 8, 2018

Corso 32's chicken skin is both crisp and balsamic in a pomegranate sauce. GRAHAM HICKS/ EDMONTON SUNEdmonton Corso 32 10305 Jasper Ave. 780-421-4622 corso32.com 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) No advertised delivery service Food:  5 of 5 Suns Ambience:  3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $60, loaded $120 By GRAHAM HICKS This is Corso 32’s third Weekly Dish review in the Edmonton Sun, both the restaurant and this column having debuted in 2011. In a remarkable tribute to hands-on executive chef and owner Daniel Costa, for the third time the Weekly Dish has awarded Corso 32 with an unprecedented five out of five Suns for its food.  Believe me, there has been no special treatment. Reservations are made through regular channels months in advance, under a different name. The bill is presented and paid in full.  I barely know Costa. He barely knows me. Yet, after another perfect re ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Koutouki lacks quality of past By Graham Hicks, first published Edmonton Sun: May 1, 2018

Koutouki's sliced lamb needed more flavour and juices. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTONSUN Koutouki 10719  124 St. 780-452-5383 koutouki.ca 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m., Sunday 9 p.m.) Closed Monday Delivery: doordash.com Food:  3 of 5 Suns Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $50, loaded $90 By GRAHAM HICKS Have you ever had a restaurant meal that was just a meal? As the dishes arrived, they were okay, okay, okay, not bad, chewy: When you left, you had a hard time remembering just what you ate. So it is with the current Koutouki Greek Taverna on 124 Street. It’s not-bad, generic Greek cooking in a cheerful Greek atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun. But the food, as far as Greek cooking goes, is ultimately bland, certainly nothing to write home about. And the fact is it is still called Koutouki. The larger-than-life Yanni Psalios made his Koutouki Taverns (he opened and closed them at the d ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Huge potential but Rooster Cafe has its problems by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 17, 2018

Nobody makes a better bagel board in Edmonton than the Rooster Cafe & Kitchen. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rooster Café & Kitchen 10732 – 82 Ave. 780-413-8045 roosterkitchen.ca Full service: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Partial service: Fri. and Sat. 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food: 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service (not the servers): 2 of 5 Suns Breakfast/Lunch for two, excluding beverage and tip: Basic $20, loaded $40 Once the food gets to your table at the Rooster Café & Kitchen, for the most part it’s very good. It’s getting the food to the table that’s the big problem with this breakfast/lunch deli-restaurant specializing in Jewish-deli style bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese and blintzes. And its not the servers’ fault. There are supposed to be at least four bagel varieties. My first solo visit was last Friday at noon: Server: “Sorry, we only have sesame bagels today.&rdq ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Rostizado moves from good to excellent by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN: April 10, 2018

Lobster and prawns in a creamy salsa with corn: Delicious! GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Rostizado (by Tres Carnales) #102, 10359-104 St. (Mercer Building) 780-761-0911 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  (10 p.m. Friday) Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $40; loaded, $80 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Rostizado has changed in the four years since  last reviewed in this column. It has gone from very good to excellent. The “modern Mexican” restaurant — started by the Tres Carnales trio of Dani Braun, Edgar Gutierrez and Chris Sills — should now be considered as one of the city’s top-10 restaurants. As only a confident, independent restaurant can do, Rostizado has gone beyond its former signature dishes, its Cuban-style pork shoulder and chicken cooked Mexican-street style on giant rotisseries. The rotis ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Buco Pizzeria and Vino Bars offer excellent wide-ranging fare By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN April 3, 2018

Buco-style crispy-skinned seabass , served with a light mayo sauce. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Buco Pizzeria and Vino Bars bucopizzera.com Buco EPCOR Tower, 10423-101 St., main floor 780-250-2826 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (1 a.m. Friday) Sat. 4 p.m.  to 1 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 11 a.m. Buco Windermere, 1155 Windermere Way S.W. 780-540-2826 Tues. to Sat. 11 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. Friday/Saturday) Sun. and Mon. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Buco St. Albert, 130 Bellerose Dr., St. Albert 780-569-2826 Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Friday) Sat. 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sun. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $30; loaded, $80 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service –  4 of 5 Suns Graham Hicks 780-707-6379 graham.hicks@hicksbiz.com Hicksbiz.com @hicksonsix Even Carmelo Rago, top dog of the family-run Sorrentino/Buco restaurant group, is surprised at the welcome the city has ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Wildflower Grill good, but too conventional By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN March 27, 2018

Not much happening within the Wildflower pork chop. Wildflower Grill 10009 107 St. 780-990-1938 Wildfloweredmonton.com 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays, 11 p.m.) Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $70; loaded, $130 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 3.5 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns By GRAHAM HICKS Expectations, you are banished. Go sulk under the kitchen table. You’ve let me down again. Off the Weekly Dish reviewing team went last week – three of us – on a mid-week expedition to the Wildflower Grill. Wildflower has been around for many years – originally the flagship of Richard Lim’s now-defunct Lazia Hospitality Group –  in the same building as the downtown Matrix Hotel but with a separate entrance and address. It was sold sometime in the past year, with a reported re-commitment to quality by the new owners, and the hiring of a young Calgary chef, J.P. Dublado. I had high ho ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Vietnamese contrast – An Chay, Miss Saigon, Saigon Garden by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 20, 2018

An Chay's vegetarian vermicelli special at $13 is excellent value. An Chay 11203 Jasper Ave. Facebook 780-752-2203 Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Weekends, noon to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $50 Food – 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4.5 of 5 Suns Service- 4 of 5 Suns Miss Saigon 10375 78 Ave. misssaigonyeg.com 780-249-2220 Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded, $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 3.5 of 5 Suns Service – 3.5 of 5 Suns *** Saigon Garden 9711 107 Ave. 780-428-8833 saigongarden.ca Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, basic $30; loaded $45 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 2.5 of 5 Suns Service – 4 of 5 Suns Three Vietnamese eateries today, each worthy, but certainly illustrating the breadth and ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Downtown Dining Week offers a taste of Edmonton's core By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN March 13, 2018

Despite downtown parking regulations more complex than a Rubik’s Cube, I still recommend lunch or dinner this week at just about all (decent) downtown restaurants through Sunday, March 18. It’s the 15th annual Downtown Dining Week, produced by the Downtown Business Association. Cheap eats! Champagne at beer prices! At the very least, you’ll save 10% to 20% over regular a-la-carte prices, often more. After 15 years, most of the bugs have been worked out on this special offer. It’s designed to entice you back to the downtown to experience Edmonton’s terrific restaurant renaissance, a renaissance that is being recognized across Canada. Too bad downtown parking is so expensive and so sparse – see below. Each of the 37 participating restaurants can mix and match from three categories — $18 mostly two-course lunches, $30 for mostly-three course dinners, or $45 “executive dinners” on offer at the top-end eateries such as The Harvest Room, Hardware ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Wishbone is good, not quite a wish come true By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, February 27, 2018

The fried chicken sandwich is a Wishbone lunch highlight. By GRAHAM HICKS Wishbone 10542 Jasper Avenue 780-757-6758 Eatwishbone.ca Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (1 a.m. Fridays) Saturday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Closed Sunday (Reservations at eatwishbone.ca) Dinner for two, not including tip, tax or beverage:  Basic, $25; loaded, $70 Food – 3.5 of 5 Suns Ambience – 4 of 5 Suns Service – 4 of 5 Suns Not that there was any fatal flaw, but two visits to the downtown Wishbone Restaurant and Oyster Bar left me disappointed. Open since July of last year, Wishbone is the downtown incarnation of the South-Side’s Three Boars on 109 St. south of the High Level Bridge, with the same ownership and same partner/executive chef Brayden Kozak. Three Boars was one of the first chef-owned bistros in town. When opened in 2013 it was a wildly inventive place. Chef Kozak would take whatever came through the kitchen door from his suppliers and ch ... Read the rest of entry »