Arriving a bit early for our 7:30 reservation, we were surprised to find the place fairly empty. We were immediately seated in a lovely quiet corner next to the window, with a great view of their garden/patio and plenty of crayons to keep us occupied.
We were both glad to find that the Fork Fest menu was simply their regular menu, which meant we were getting what we would on any evening. After some deliberation, Charles decided on an appetizer of the Heritage Greens Salad and an entree of the Chicken Supreme. I went for the Hearts of Romaine salad and surprisingly, the 'Spring Creek' Beef Tenderloin (that Saskatoon infused veal reduction sounded too good to pass up).
Our server was excellent, (and is very excited for Van Morrison on the 4th) and ended up suggesting a great bottle of wine that went well with all our plates, and was easily drinkable in between. As with our visit to Parkallen a couple weeks ago, we didn't end up finishing our bottle and the remainder was bagged for us to tote home.
Appetizers arrived in no time as we enjoyed our first pour of wine and a slice of bread. Charles enjoyed his salad - I think it was mostly the sharp red onion that won him over. I suppose in the end, my salad was sort of a twist on a caesar, with a creamy green peppercorn dressing, romaine and crispy pancetta. But whatever its label, I really enjoyed the combo of the slightly spiced dressing, crispy romaine and warm, house cured, pancetta.
Heritage Greens Salad with aged white cheddar, red onion, pan fried croutons, and sherry vinaigrette
Hearts of Romaine salad with arugula, house cured pancetta, and creamy green peppercorn sauce
Mains arrived in good time once our appetizer plates were cleared. Charles chicken looked great, with what seemed to be a great crispy skin. He was also happy to see that his accompanying vegetables were Brussels sprouts, one of his favourites. The report was excellent - the chicken had a lovely crisp exterior with a moist, tender interior, and the spiced sauce was great. I also enjoyed my plate, and the Saskatoons didn't let me down, providing a welcome sweet/tart combo. The tenderloin was nicely done to my requested medium rare, however I found some parts of it far better than others. With the tenderloin was a tidy pile of crispy green beans, and a blue cheese potato pave that was creamy and rich throughout, with a nice crispy layer on the bottom.
Chicken supreme rubbed with sweet paprika paired to parmesan, herb polenta with natural pan jus
Grilled filet of 'Spring Creek' beef tenderloin with Stilton blue cheese potato pave and Saskatoon berry infused veal reduction
The dessert menu
Charles thought his chocolate tart was alright, but the hit of the plate was definitely the Jack Daniels chocolate ice cream and the flavourful caramel lining the plate. Sadly my tart was not all that successful - the pears were sort of lack lustre, while the goat cheese was missing the recognizable tang. The vanilla ice cream though was fantastic - creamy and rich, with lovely specks of vanilla throughout.
We were both glad we took some time off to check out Jack's Grill - tonight, the quiet relaxed space was exactly what was in order, along with a menu of familiar, comfortable classics. The Fork Fest deal at Jack's was pretty amazing, with the three courses priced at $45. Although the dessert portion of our meal was not so successful, as we wandered home through Garneau, we both agreed we would likely return to try again.
5842 111 Street
Hours: M-Sa (5-11:45pm)
Fork Fest: July 18-22 and 25-29, 2010