Restaurants & Bars

Vancouver, Banff, Jasper: Part III

Mr Grub | Jun 18, 200211:58 AM     2

The 3rd & final part of the Grubs' Great Canadian Adventure:

For dining in Jasper, Les Grubs recommend the Fiddle Creek Seafood. Very fresh fish prepared with great care. Have not mentioned service in any reports yet, because service everywhere in Canada was unrelentingly friendly & leisurely vacation paced. This may not be true in high season when the area apparently becomes choked with people, RVs, & tour buses. At the end of May, days were clear & almost balmy & roads, restaurants, hotels, & attractions only sparsely populated. Snow on mts, rivers & falls full, trees green – excellent time to see the Rockies. But I digress.

Fiddle’s arctic char strongly charred (no word play intended), yet still juicy – excellent. Mussels in red wine sauce less successful, perhaps a poor choice on our part -- too much conflict btwn the intense red wine & mussel flavors. Terrific baked nut-crusted chevre salad to accompany & a chilly bottle of French riesling.

Other Jasper meal of some note, lunch at Caruso’s consisting of a buffalo burger & smoked salmon sandwich. Very pleasant, particularly at the A table looking out again to those spectacular mts. Of course, since we were their ONLY customers, we could have had any B, C, or D table as well. Timing, timing, timing.

Lake Louise village pretty much has but 2 houndly restaurants not within the Chateau LL: the Station & the Post Hotel. The Station is an admirable adaptive reuse of the original Canadian Pacific Railway Station. Two fairly large rooms, including the former ticket lobby, have become informal rooms, used for lunch. A third is the more formal dining room, used only for dinner. The Grubs lunched in the main room, very woody, looking through leaded glass windows to, again, those ever-present Rocky Mountains. We scarf an Alberta beef steak sandwich & an admirable fish chowder. Very nice all around.

Then there’s the Post Hotel. At Canadian hounds’ suggestions, we had reserved a table months in advance & were rewarded again with the A table. This night the room is almost, but not quite, full, & our window table enables us to again enjoy the view – throughout the whole meal, even tho we start eating at about 9. Love those long northern nights.

What can I say? We’ve promiscuously grubbed around the world for, say, 40 years & this meal ranks with the best ever – anywhere. It is of French Laundry & Michelin star quality. & in LL for no apparent reason. Mme has the C$90 tasting menu. With the friendly discount for US$, at $60 this is one of the great food bargains.

Each & every course was a culinary & visual delight. Trying not to get lost in the details: 3 fish tartares – tuna, scallop, salmon – each decidedly & deliciously discrete; foie gras on an apple phyllo pastry; Chilean sea bass grilled, with a savory cream sauce; medallion of veal with spinach pasta & a drizzle of gorgonzola sauce; cold berry soup with a scoop of lemon ice. Breathtakingly delicious with nary a slip anywhere. Perfectly balanced tastes, textures, colors, temperatures. Cirque de cuisine.

The Grubman did pretty well, too. While salivating at the tasting menu (& annoyingly negotiating for more than a taste), reveled in a quail spring roll rec. by thoroughly professional & knowledgeable server, a portobello/spinach “tower,” & absolutely killer & cooked-to-perfection rack of lamb. My, my, my.

Worst part of meal was attempting to decide on a wine from their list of, oh, maybe a thousand choices from their cellar of more than 25,000 bottles. Ended up with a humble, yet still complex, Bordeaux. Chef Wolfgang Vogt may not be a household name outside of LL, let alone Canada. Wrong. His work is impeccable & should be recognized globally.

Thanks, Canadian friends, for making a great trip an indelibly memorable trip. Without exception, every Canadian we met understood the meaning of hospitality, whether they were in the hospitality business or not. Never before have the Grubs been treated with such unabashed friendliness, heartfelt willingness to accommodate, & fierce national pride exhibited only by a genuine eagerness to share your country’s enormous riches with total strangers. Oh, Canada, may God keep your land glorious.

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