...Diner Deluxe (Aspen Woods) Calgary

Overall - 7.5/10
Food - 7/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 7.5/10
Diner Deluxe on Urbanspoon

I've always thought this, but I figure now I'll put it into writing. Brunch is for suckers. Having had a handful of mediocre brunch experiences and waiting over an hour to sit down at a table for what is essentially breakfast that can be made at home, boggles my mind.  Perhaps I have been spoiled by the instant gratification of hot steaming bowls of pho or Chinese dim sum which offers a wide variety of dishes. Whatever the case may be, I can't bring myself to go for brunch at one of those trendy establishments on Edmonton Trail, specifically Diner Deluxe.  When a branch of Diner Deluxe opened in Aspen we initially weren't too interested but after browsing through their dinner menu we figured we would give it a try. Having dined there on a couple of occasions I have to say dinner is the way to go. Not only is the food satisfying but the service and wait times benefit from not being associated with the ridiculousness that is brunch.

The Chef's Salad seems to embody everything that Diner Deluxe is trying to say with their food; simple flavours, great value and unpretentious presentation. This salad of mixed greens, grilled chicken, avocado, eggs, bacon, and tomatoes all topped with an herb vinaigrette was one of the best salads we've had in a while. The greens were perfectly dressed and the portion was large enough for a meal in itself.
This is what happens when you leave your iPhone camera on chrome setting
The highlight of the fish tacos definitely was the homemade hot sauce which had just the right balance of spicy, sweet and sour. The fish this evening was grilled mahi mahi which we found a tad dry and a slaw that was somewhat under seasoned.
The tomato bisque was bursting with roasted tomato flavour. The garnish of basil oil and grated grans padano cheese added a nice flair to the dish. 
The wild halibut was served with spetzle, and seasonal veggies which this evening included some roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts. The fish was moist and flakey but the dish overall was under seasoned and needed a sprinkling of the proffered table salt. 
A special offering on our first visit was a braised lamb shank served with a mustard sauce. The shank was one of the best pieces of braised meat we have ever encountered dining out. It was tender, moist and permeated with flavour. The tendons and connective tissue (sounds gross but that is what it is) melted in your mouth which is the best indicator that the meat has been braised just long enough.
Fried chicken can be pretty personal. I found the fried chicken in the "picnic plate" here to be quite good. Each piece was crusty and crisp but the coating may be a bit too hard/thick for some. The drizzle of honey was a great finishing touch to the dish.
The burger was good but was overshadowed by the amazing poutine upgrade. Not only were the fries crisp and of the perfect dimensions but the gravy was thick, rich and meaty. 
Granted there are a few misses amongst the hits when it comes to the food, we like the fact that Diner Deluxe is extremely family friendly.  That in itself will bring us back for more in the near future.


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