Just had dinner at the Reader Rock Garden Restaurant. It's newly open and still suffering from some growing pains. It's located south of the Stampede grounds near the cemetary on Macleod. Like Rouge and The Ranche, it's a historical type building with some nice garden around it.
They have no air conditioning, credit cards or a wine list at the moment - so be wary. I think everything but the AC is going to change however.
You can definitely trace the Dwayne Ennest in the food - lots of comfort elements like garlic mashed potatos, sweet potato rosti and so forth. I was with two other diners, and we all ordered appetizer salads - one asparagus and beet, and a couple tomato salad with a chevre pannacotta. They were pretty good.
We ordered a couple of sparkling wines, two as cocktails - not cold, unadorned and rather sad in less then polished glasses. Once bitten, twice shy - however water was not terribly forth coming despite the indoor, no air conditioned heat.
Our main courses trickled out - A striploin, a salmon and a trout. The salmon was a 4oz, which is a bit wee for a dinner menu, but nicely done I'm told - oddly enough, it came with the same side dish as the striploin, garlic mashed potatos in a big rammiken (the plating isn't terribly dialed in as of yet). The trout was nicely done - though I love a bit more texture in the skin. The striploin was atrocious however - hotel buffet reheated to a medium. If you have one beef entree on your menu, you ought to do it right, and you ought to be able to serve it at a temperature of your guests choosing. It was a sadder version of the veal meatloaf from diner deluxe, with a broken pan sauce that looked like dish water.
Our momentum waning, we went for dessert. Two Lemon Tarts with blueberries and one Chocolate Walnut cake with sour cherries. The tarts were alright but looked fairly canned and pressed. The "Chocolate Walnut cake" was a brownie with some whip cream. I understood it to be a sort of TV Dinner deconstructed Black Forest Cake. However, none of it's components really hit the mark, and we left on an underwhelmed, overheated note.
Hopefully with some time and energy Reader Rock Garden will step up to the mark - it's setting and location certainly earn their keep (with the exception of the AC). Hopefully enough of the Big Fish influence will fade away, and the dinner portions will scale up. Nice but I doubt I will return without seeing some changes to the menu.
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