…Downtown Food (Calgary)

Overall - 9/10
Food - 9.5/10
Service - 9/10
Ambiance - 9/10
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Cheddar cheese ice cream- say what?!
Downtown Food is one of those restaurants we've been meaning to try for a long time.  It's definitely a foodie haven, confirmed by the ubiquitous picture taking by neighbouring tables.  We were thoroughly impressed by the unique but balanced flavours, high quality ingredients and refined presentation.  Sometimes trendy restaurants try to be too precious with their portion sizes and presentation but this was not the case.  We kept waiting for the next dish to be less than perfect but each dish came out just as delicious and in some cases, even better than the last.  I still can't get over the perfection that is the sablefish (apparently a dish they brought back due to it's popularity).  Downtown Food did a great job of Asian/European fusion, showcasing French technique.

We started with the market soup, which was a lobster croquette placed on a dollop of spicy red pepper mayo and flower petals, in a lobster broth that was served table side by our friendly waiter.  This soup had a clear lobster flavour without being overly salty or creamy.  The croquette itself had a citrus tang- orange, we think.  So. Good.
I had the braised wagyu beef and chanterelle ravioli with foie gras, miso, dashi, parmesan and black truffle that was shaved table side.  The pasta was very fresh, thin and delicate and almost reminded me of a wonton wrapper.  The meat itself was flavourful and tender.
Darrin had the chicken liver mousse served with a compressed pear compote and crostini drizzled with honey.  The mousse was very smooth, light and would be good for someone who wanted to try liver without the overpowering in-your-face liver flavour.
Before our mains arrived we were served the bread and butter while we waited.  I wondered why they weren't served with our appetizers so I could use the bread to soak up some of the remaining soup and sauces left in our dishes.  Bread and butter was as the kids say "dece".
For my main, I had the miso cured sablefish that sat on a bed of shitake mushrooms, french lentils and bok choy.  On top was a micro green salad with refreshing green apple and a sake ginger sabayon sauce.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this dish.  The skin was perfectly crisp and the fish itself buttery and cooked to just the right doneness.  It has been a long time since I've had fish done this well in a Calgary restaurant.
Darrin chose the wild boar chop that was sous-vide, with char siu jus, parsnip puree, king oyster mushrooms and greens.  Darrin also thinks there was also eggplant in it.  The flavour was almost exactly the same as mui choy (preserved mustard greens), popular in traditional Chinese pork dishes.  The boar chop was medium rare throughout but very tender. If the sight of pink in pork freaks you out this may not be the dish for you but we think it's worth trying.  The fat melts in your mouth and the meat very flavourful.
Finally for dessert, we tried what our server called a "foodie" dessert.  It was an apple terrine with freshly made beignets, bacon crisps, green apple, cheddar ice cream and what we thought was caramel sauce.  Not overly sweet, this dessert definitely was unique, especially the surprisingly tasty cheddar ice cream. The freshly fried beignets were equally as delicious as the ones I'd had in France.
The one and only thing we were not so keen on was the beer battered "chocolate truffles" that came with our bill.  The batter was a tad on the doughy side and the chocolate itself was a resounding "meh".  However, since it's not an actual menu item we are choosing to overlook this minor flaw. 
Overall we had a fantastic experience at Downtown Food and are looking forward to going back soon.

On an unrelated note, we finally joined Twitter- @dcfortheloveof.  Tweet us!


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