A Charcut above the rest?- Charcut Calgary
Recently we had a friend, Shana, come to visit us and Canada for the first time. Being ever self conscious hosers, we wondered how on earth we were going to plan activities and meals that would not disappoint a native New Yorker who has a world of top shelf options on her doorstep.
I got it! We’ll battle top shelf with Top Chef! (Canada).
So after a beautiful overnighter in Banff, and a spectacular trio of pizza’s at The Bear Street Tavern, we set off to Calgary.
The rumours are all true, Charcut is indeed f’ing great. Top Chef Canada 3rd place finisher Connie DeSouza was on holidays, but her partner chef John Jackson was kicking enough ass in the kitchen for 2.
We arrived on a rainy monday for lunch and upon being seated, we began to let go of the stress of parking in downtown Calgary at noon.
We started with Slow Roasted Heirloom Beets, House-made soft goats cheese, mint, and basil. Three thumbs up from our table of 3. Nice tender beets, and fantastic house made goat cheese. Great start.
Shana ordered the Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich, with pancetta, arugula, and DeSousa family piri piri aioli. Another 3 thumbs up around the table. Creamy, tasty, and paired perfectly with house made foccocia bread.
My wife Robyn went for the house cured ham and cheese sandwich, on the same fantastic fococcia bread. How can a simple ham and cheese sandwich be the most delicious thing at the table? Seriously, Robyn has been talking about it for over a week since we left. I guess you’ll have to go to Charcut yourself and find out.
The lunch special also came with an organic turkey and barley soup. Since Robyn is not a barley fan, I played good samaritan and helped her out by eating it. Seasoned perfectly, it was a nice light compliment to the heavier components of the lunch. I’m pretty sure I’m due the Order of Canada for helping her with that one.
I went for the Country Sausage with slow cooked Broxburn Farm’s peppers and caramelized onions. It was a good sized portion of nicely spiced sausage, served atop a warm roll (which I found a bit strange and un-needed). As with all of our dishes, mine was served with the most amazing parmesan french fries. The very thinly shaved fresh parmesan was a perfectly salty, rich addition to the perfectly cooked fries.
I was really impressed with the start of our meal and tweeted about it from the table (follow me @baconhound). Chef John saw my tweet and decided to be an all around fantastic guy and send a complimentary Pork Rillttes with crostini and arugula.
I had never eaten a Rillettes before, but I knew it was kind of like a chunky pork pate, served cold. I was a little skeptical of the texture and temperature, but in the end we were all really impressed with the flavour, and savagely emptied the jar of creamy pork-y-ness onto the crostini’s. It was one of my favourite things at the table.
I did get the chance before we left to wander over to the kitchen and introduce myself to John. Seems like a pretty good guy. We chatted mostly about their new Alley Burger Truck, and how overwhelmingly popular it’s proved to be in their first couple weeks. I suggested that we may be packing a couple cars full of hungry Edmontonians and coming down to sample Calgary’s bevy of new food trucks one weekend soon.
Of course we couldn’t visit Charcut without getting a bag of warm cookies to go, after our post-gorging/ pre-heading out into the miserable rain, coffee. The chocolate chip cookies were to die for. What is it about warm chocolate chip cookies that turns normal, law abiding people into savage, cookie- thieving monsters?
Often hyped restaurants fail to live up to the expectations, so the fact Charcut managed to over-deliver on our expectations is very impressive. Especially considering we didn’t even get to sample anything from the Rotisserie. Heck, even our New Yorker was impressed.
I can’t wait to return and try out the dinner menu.
Posted on August 24, 2011, in Restaurant Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.
Count me in on the road trip to Calgary to gorge!
I’m going to hold you to that Tamy!
Parking in Calgary was stressful? It seemed pretty smooth to me. But maybe my perspective is skewed.
I agree…the restaurant was fantastic. And Robyn’s sandwich was the best thing at the table. So smokey that you could taste the flavor before you even took the first bite. (She told me to make sure I said that.)
And I don’t know what you guys were worried about…every single thing we ate was fantastic.
Well maybe the parking wasn’t that stressful… but paying for it was.
Robyn and I did a lot of difficult “research” on places to eat so we could avoid any possible faulty meals… In fact, I may have to “research” some more places in case you plan to come again next year!
Too bad its downtown – I keep forgetting that downtown actually exists….its sooooo over there uuuugh!!!! I have company coming for labor long I guess I will have to make reservation and since I’m more a “let’s do lunch” kinda gal I will def order the ham sandwich — I’m getting exited just thinking about it. All I have to do now is actually remember where I wanted to go.
Thanks for stopping by the blog.
I’m a big lunch guy especially when trying a more expensive restaurant for the first time. It’s a little cheaper, and gives you an idea if it would be somewhere you’d spend the extra dinner cash at.
You will not be disappointed with that ham sandwich.
Great post and great photos! Paying for parking in Cgy is stressful! $28.75 per day – eeks but that Ham Sandwich looks ridiculously good and I can see it being worth the parking $. I’ve never made it to Charcut for lunch and that pic makes me regret it.
But I do love their Pork Rillette and Beet salad (mmm goat cheese)… and the Raclette Cheese, AND the Pig Head Mortadella, AND the Duck Poutine, AND… Heck, after being reminded of Charcut’s yumminess I just might move back to YYC.
We really need to get back for the duck fat poutine. I’m sad we didn’t get to try it.
Gorgeous pictures and just YUMMERS!
Oh my! I just saw this post. This place sounds truly fantastic! It’s good to see that they more than lived up to the hype. That’s always a great thing! Keep blogging your amazing food stories! Awesome pics.
Thanks for the words of encouragement Addie.
If you keep reading it, I’ll keep writing it!
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