So last night a friend and I attended the Calgary Flames fan forum at Flames central. In terms of food on offer it was rolls, pasta salad, spring greens and tomatoes, and roast beef with a jus. The food was fine especially for the environment. However after we were still peckish so after discussing Taste’s new wine list which features one red and one white from each of their suppliers along with a supporting reason for being chosen we decided on exploring Calgary’s downtown small plates options. Plan was Rush, Milk Tiger, Giuseppe’s, and finishing off at Taste as they are open till midnight.
First stop Rush, I can not think of a better small plates deal. $5 gets your any one of a number of small plates, all are made to order. We had the Maitake Tempura, which is Hen of the Woods mushrooms cooked tempura style. It was very tasty. Next plate was tuna tartare, followed by crab cakes done in a tempura casing. We also had the spring creek beef shortribs, the meat was incased in a flatbread with kimchi on top which really tied it all together. The octopus dish consisted of a herb puree, hazelnuts, some kind of sausage (chicken I think), with small tomatoes. While I appreciated the presentation the octopus did not impart much flavor, then again you don’t want it to taste fishy so not a complaint. Our last dish was the smoked salmon on bread, I know that the salmon was sourced from somewhere as it was highlighted on the menu but I can not recall who it was.
We enjoyed everything and due to Rush being downtown it was not busy so we received good service, something sorely lacking in this town. We also learned that Rush offers complimentary valet, so for those of you out of downtown it is easy enough to drive down and not worry about parking.
Upon leaving we stopped in to see a friend but her restaurant had a private party buyout. So we moved on, our next stop was to be Milk Tiger somewhere my friend had not only never been but had also never heard of. Milk Tiger has a neat small plate concept, which fit well with our intended small plate tour. The place had about 10 people or less and so we took a seat along the wall. Having come from the Flames Forum my friend was wearing his Flames Jersey, along with a suit and dress shoes. The server quickly explained that Milk Tiger has “house rules” which include no sports apparel. She did also explain that everyone there loves the flames, but could he kindly remove his jersey. Which he considered doing until our server explained she actually likes the canucks, along with some of their other house rules, which included no one under 21 years of age, nor hats. Well a quick scan of the room confirmed that it was unlikely that everyone was 21 or over on top of which one person was wearing a hat. Needless to say we left having felt a little outside of the scene they were trying to cultivate.
My friend remarked to me that having just eaten at what is Calgary nicest dining room Rush and not once being asked to change our dress why would a business prejudice itself by turning away customers. We also noted that there are a great many restaurants and bars that have dress codes etc… in Calgary but they all accommodate the home town team. Some may agree with the stance Milk Tiger took and we were willing to comply until we noticed we were being singled out. So my two cents is head down to rush and take advantage of the wonderful $5 small plates menu, park for free, get great service and eat well for cheap.