My family and I had dinner a couple of nights ago in downtown Calgary during its 11 day food festival. Countless restaurants participate in creating a set price dining menu for lunches, dinners and even gourmet. As an avid lover of all things seafood, it was no surprise that my parents chose to dine at The Oyster Bar – part of the renowned seafood restaurant Catch. For the price of $35 per person, we were able to enjoy a three course dinner that normally would have cost upward of $50.
For the appetizer we had the snow crab poutine. It was reminiscent of my days in Québec – it’s been so long that I have had a good poutine. Who would’ve thought that gravy and snow crab could go so well together (in my family, we usually eat crab with black vinegar)?
Next, we had the pan seared manitoba pickerel for the main course. It sat on a bed of beets, zucchini, and beluga lentils all drenched in just the right amount of butter. The mushroom and caper garnished fish was silky smooth and my sister who normally hates capers couldn’t get enough of them! That’s when you know the food is really good.
Finally, for dessert we had a lemon curd tart with meringue and lime drizzle. When the waitress brought it out for us, I must say I was a little disappointed. It looked as if they had bought the crust at the store and had simply filled it with lemon curd. We couldn’t taste the lime as the lemon flavour covered it up completely. I think raspberry or cranberry would have added a better contrast against the lemon in both flavour and in colour. Nevertheless, it was quite tasty and for the price of the meal, we couldn’t really complain. It was just a bit of a let down after its two predecessors.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal very much. The service was friendly and efficient and the decor added to the oyster bar’s casual and urban vibe. We also loved the back of servers’ t-shirts which read: “frankly scallop, I don’t give a clam!” (Wordplay in restaurants – you can never go wrong!) I certainly wouldn’t mind revisiting even after the festival is over. I just hope they will still have the poutine!