Celebrating the season - the 'done school for three weeks' season of course - Charles and I met up with friends a couple Fridays ago for dinner at d'Lish.
After an unfortunate ETS experience (where the driver changed the bus to 'Not in Service' without letting anyone on the bus know, dropping us off north of Grant MacEwan with no other bus in sight), we arrived at d'Lish half an hour late for our 7pm reservation. Luckily our two dining companions had arrived promptly for the reservation time, and were able to enjoy a drink while waiting for our arrival.
The Friday before Christmas, I'm guessing diners were off at holiday celebrations elsewhere, for as we arrived we saw only our table plus one other table of four beside, and a table of two behind us. The space itself is beautiful - sparkling, sleek and perfect for the season. We settled into our table in front of the bar gazing a little longingly at the banquette along the north side of the room, which had several tables along it but all set for two.
Our server came to inquire about drinks, and we all quickly decided to share a bottle of Prosecco ($40) to celebrate. Arriving back with four glasses and the beautiful sound of the popping cork, we had already decided to try the 'Faith tasting' - $35 for seven 'selections'. There was one snag - one of our dining companions was vegetarian. I had called earlier in the week to make sure vegetarian options would be available and was told she would have lots to choose from. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but with our server informing us that the tasting plates wouldn't be an option, she ended up going with the tagliatelle with pesto (~$17) while we stuck with our original decision, also adding the wine pairing ($15 for three, 2oz glasses).
Everything came out fairly quickly, with the seven 'selections' turning into three small courses. First up was a shooter of parsnip soup. Creamy and warm, the soup was an excellent way to take the chill off. The soup was served alongside a root vegetable, apple and kale salad (which we were asked to share amongst ourselves), served with rillette crostini and fig jelly. All three of us enjoyed the rillette, but the hit was by far the salad, tossed with sticky, sweet maple dressing.
Next up was smoked applewood tenderloin, served on top of polenta along with a scallop. We picked up one of the applewood tenderloins from O Sol' Meatos during the summer and really enjoyed it, so this part of the tasting plate was already a hit, especially atop the piece of silky polenta. The scallop was nicely cooked - soft and tender - but the smokiness of the meat quickly over took any of its sweetness. The tagliatelle also came out at this point, and our dining companion said she thoroughly enjoyed the carby goodness.
Our final course was dessert - banana-chocolate bread pudding served with maple-apple compote. I think we all enjoyed this one, and the banana bread was particularly nice with the compote.
As our plates were cleared, we quickly realized the tasting had not been enough, and a couple more options were certainly in order. In the end it would be pulled pork sliders with mango chutney and 'Mona' mushrooms served with focaccia to end the evening. The pulled pork sliders were alright, but not quite as rich and moist as we had hoped. The mushrooms were great - flavourful, rich, buttery and comforting. Our only complaint was the amount of bread the mushrooms came with - with three of us indulging, a couple more slices of bread than the one we were given would have been preferred, and we were left to awkwardly split the single slice.
In the end, we had an enjoyable evening at d'Lish. Service was friendly, although sitting in front of the bar with only a few people in the place, it was difficult not to notice the three servers constantly chatting when more water, or menus after the tasting portion of the evening, were needed. I don't think the wine pairings were big winners with any of us, especially the red served with the tenderloin that clashed immediately with the smoky meat. But overall the food was enjoyed, the season celebrated, and we left happy and content, and I think Charles and I will certainly head back as warm weather approaches and the menu changes.
d'Lish Urban Kitchen and Wine Bar
10418 124 Street