It was a last-minute decision. Where to eat on a Thursday night in my home town where I have not lived for decades? We were in the North, coming out of Market Mall and I had to give some directions for driving, fast.
Somewhere from the depths of my memory, I came up with “Open Range“, where I had eaten once about 8 years ago. With all the restaurants that I eat in, some would question how I could possibly remember a detail like that? But good meals have a way of sticking with me.
Our trio was a native of Toronto and another all the way from Oslo. Both men, I had chosen a steak house wisely. And we were in Alberta. The question came from Norway, “why is beef so famous here?”
According to the Alberta Beef Industry website: A major reason is the way we finish our beef with grain. Alberta beef is famous for its flavour, texture and quality, and grain is certainly part of the equation. Research has shown that consumers prefer tender, juicy beef with the firm, white fat cover of grain fed cattle.
We started with a classic Calgary drink taken to new level. A Steakhouse Caesar. This had a smoky paprika mixed into the spice around the rim and a lovely piece of beef jerky on a skewer. That got us to talking about our favourite types of jerky and another Alberta landmark – Longview jerky shop. (I just checked and you can order online!)
While beef is a major offering in a steakhouse, the special of the night was bison. This dish was heavenly:
- large disc of mashed potatoes
- bison flat-iron steak, so tender you could cut it with a butter knife
- beef au juice spooned over
- large crostini with sautéed mushrooms and fresh mozzarella melted on top
We paired this with a wine from British Columbia. Sandhill Cabernet Merlot 2009.
Deep garnet colour with a rich bouquet of black currant accented by notes of oak, chocolate, spice and black pepper. A dry, medium to full-bodied wine with firm tannins, good structure and moderate acidity. Flavours of rich, almost sweet, black currants, and spice fill the mouth. A dry, lingering finish of currant, blackberry and spice. Enjoy with rare to medium-rare grilled steaks and game meats.
The evening was really nice. Good food always is, but I think the company is the most important “secret” ingredient.