Friday, October 29, 2010

The Next Act and La Bohème

After a great experience at Opera al Fresco this past summer, Charles and I waffled, then finally decided to take in Edmonton Opera's 2010/11 season. Kicking off the first of three with La Bohème this evening, we decided to meet up with a couple friends for dinner/drinks prior, and thought The Next Act would fit the bill.

The space itself has certainly been re-vamped, and both Charles and I loved the blend of new and old - warm hardwood flooring, clean white and grey walls, and elegant lighting somehow combine beautifully with the old bar and green furniture, and the space remains as comfy and casual as ever. And although I didn't check out the bathroom, my friend said it was clean and sparkly, versus the "interesting" state of the old one.

Pumpkin Pie spiced ale

Beer wise, Charles went with with a Steam Whistle (pint, $6), while the rest of us went for the Alley Kat seasonal brew - Pumpkin Pie spiced ale (pint, $6). I'm glad to see that Alley Kat brought back their Pumpkin Pie Ale (and that Next Act is carrying it on tap) - it has a caramel richness and pleasant spiciness that goes so perfectly with fall weather. For food we decided on a shared appetizer of crab cakes ($11 for 3), with entrees of fish and chips ($13), a halibut burger for me ($13) and a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with tobacco onions for Charles ($12).

Our crab cakes came out quickly, and we happily dove in. There were good reports on the crab cakes all around - they were light and flaky, and the red and green peppers studding them were an excellent addition... and we all fought over the last bit of dill aioli served along side. I was fine being the only one to enjoy the coleslaw - it wasn't the prettiest thing to look at, but the cabbage and carrots were fresh and crunchy, and the capers provided a welcome salty-acidic bite.

Crab Cakes

Mains were also enjoyed by all. Charles' pulled pork sandwich was rich, flavourful and moist, with bits of well caramelized pork providing a lovely sweetness. Our friend, who was desperately craving fish and chips, found two pieces of fish with a light, crunchy batter on the outside, and moist, flaky fish on the inside. After reading a rave review of the halibut sandwich by Allan Kellogg, I was happy to find it lived up to expectations. A flaky, meaty piece of lightly battered halibut came out on a soft bun, topped with coleslaw (which I was happy about... again the capers were welcome to contrast the richness here) and house tartar sauce, making an incredibly comforting, slightly messy sandwich that went perfectly with the Pumpkin Ale.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Fish and Chips

Fish Burger

All this turned out to be perfectly satisfying pre-Opera food - a little greasy, incredibly comforting, and perfect with beer. With friendly, casual and prompt service, a cozy atmosphere, and solid 'comfort' food that goes well with a good beer, we certainly hope to be heading to The Next Act a little more often.

*I should also note that we enjoyed our first opera, with Act II definitely turning out to be the highlight of La Bohème for us - lots of comedy, a dazzling set design, and streamers at the end that almost made Charles jump out of his seat.

The Next Act
8224 104 Street
Hours: Su - Th (11am - 1am), F - Sa (11am - 2am); Weekend and holiday brunch from 11am - 2pm
The Next Act on Urbanspoon

No comments: