Downtown

Menu Revamp: LUX Steakhouse + Bar 94

July 16, 2017

Downtown Edmonton is full of dining hot spots. These days it feels like there's a new restaurant popping up on every street corner and it's hard to keep up, but it's also equally important to remember to support the established restaurants.

LUX Steakhouse + Bar 94 - 10150 101 Street NW - Edmonton AB

The Century Hospitality Group has always been a prominent player in the Edmonton culinary scene. The group runs multiple restaurants throughout the city (MKT, Delux Burger Bar, etc.), and even has further expansion plans this Fall. There has been a lot of movement in the Century Hospitality Group over the past few years, with chefs moving around and concepts being changed, so I was looking forward to trying out some of the fresh new dishes on the menu at LUX.


Baked sourdough, Truffle butter, Fresh herbs

Chef Tony Le has been with the Century Hospitality Group since 2006 and took on the role as Executive Chef for the group over the last few years. Out of all the restaurants, LUX has always been a staple for people working in the downtown business core. Located within Commerce Place, it's easy to walk to and caters to both the lunch and dinner crowd. The dining room has more of an upscale feel, while the lounge is more relaxed.

Our night started off with a selection of small bites and shareable appetizers, and first to the table was the Kale Salad ($9/$13). Kale tends to be a love it or hate it ingredient, but I found that this salad with honey lemon vinaigrette, shaved Sylvan Star Gouda, ground pancetta, and walnuts to be well balanced, light, and really fresh with the citrus notes.

Pork Belly fans at the table were happy to see the next dish come to the table. The 24 Hour Bacon ($14) features a slab of bacon that is braised for 24 hours before being cut and seared. Each piece was fatty and seared crispy, pairing well with the acidity from the mustard and pesto served on top.

The Lobster Croquettes ($19) were crisp, decadent morsels perfect for sharing between two or three people. With a combination of Atlantic Lobster, mascarpone cheese, and Yukon Gold potatoes, the croquettes were rich but not overly dense. The exterior was fried golden and topped with crisp herbs and truffle aioli, adding an additional dimension of flavour.

Next up came the Spicy PEI Mussels ($17) cooked in a sauce of Sriracha pesto, leeks, white wine, parsley and shallots, and served with a side of grilled bread. The mussels were plump and fresh, and the sauce was seasoned well so as not to overpower the natural flavour of the mussels.

Last but not least was the Bone Marrow Stk Tartare ($17) with it's unique presentation right in the bone itself. Unfortunately, unconventional presentation made the tartare difficult to mix as the bone below didn't have the marrow roasted out of it. Using AAA Alberta beef, dijon mustard, capers, herbs, roasted garlic, and crispy shallots, the tartare was fragrant but could have used a bit more salt for seasoning.

Main courses served family style is new to LUX, but Chef Tony wanted to incorporate some dishes that encouraged sharing amongst the table. One of the boards is a classic Surf + Turf ($115) featuring a 24oz lollipop ribeye topped with sautéed langoustine, a generous side of lobster mac & cheese, grilled rapini, roasted fingerling potatoes, and classic bernaise sauce. The ribeye was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the mac & cheese was rich and creamy, as expected. The potatoes may look like a filler, but well seasoned fingerlings are a great accompaniment to any steak, if you ask me. Based solely on the price point you may be looking for more food, but don't be fooled as this surf + turf can easily fill 2-3 bellies.

You could hear everyone's amazement when the Crispy Corn Meal Snapper ($69) made it to the table. I never expected to see a whole deep fried fish staring at me outside of a Chinese restaurant, so I was excited for this one! This whole Pacific Snapper was served on a bed of crispy chickpeas and cabbage and accompanied by a board of iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, grilled avocado, cilantro, and salsa verde. The hands-on eating was fun and interactive as we worked on building our own crispy 'fish tacos'. Now if you're not a fan of looking your food in the eye, the kitchen is happy to serve the snapper with the head off.

It's been a few years since my last visit to LUX and I was pleasantly surprised by our meal that evening. While LUX is branded as a steakhouse I like that there are modern twists and unexpected surprises on the menu. There are some premium prices that would prevent it from being your go-to restaurant, but it's a great spot downtown for your next special occasion or celebratory meal.

*Disclosure: I was invited to a menu launch for LUX Steakhouse. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

LUX Steakhouse and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Edmonton food

An #Unforgettabowl Party with Edo Japan [Recap & Giveaway]

June 19, 2017

If you've followed my blog for long enough you'll know that there is one type of food I love more than anything else. Morning, night, and any time in between I'm always on board to enjoy a bowl of noodles.

Meals in a bowl are picking up in popularity - they're quick to prepare, delicious, and usually nutritionally complete. Last month, Edo Japan rolled out some new bowl-centric menu items as their interpretation of the trend and they asked if I would be willing to host a party to learn about and taste some of the new items. One of the items was a noodle bowl, so of course I couldn't say no.


Shrimp Tempura Chop Chop Bowl

I gathered a bunch of friends together for a fun evening at Edo Japan's Windermere location. We've all had Edo Japan at some point or another (hello post-secondary years!), so we were all curious to see what the bowls would be like. Edo's two new items include the Noodlefull Bowl and Chop Chop Bowl. The Noodlefull bowls feature a bed of thin ramen-style noodles topped with a stir fry of fresh snow peas, broccoli, carrots, and red peppers. Each bowl is made to order with Edo's signature Teriyaki sauce and served with your choice of grilled chicken, beef, shrimp, or additional vegetables for a vegetarian option. The bowls were generously portioned, and the chewy egg noodles were a nice change from the usual yakisoba noodles Edo Japan is known for.


Beef Chop Chop Bowl

The Chop Chop Bowls on the other hand offer a choice of beef, chicken, or tempura shrimp layered on top white or brown rice and fresh raw vegetables. Each bowl is finished with their new savoury bulgogi sauce and garnished with green onions and sesame seeds. We all agreed that the name was a bit misleading as we all imagined seeing raw scallops in a rice bowl, but the Chop Chop Bowl was a great fresh option with the raw cucumber, carrots, and red peppers. The Chop Chop bowl is only around for a limited time, but I would actually love if it became a permanent menu item - it's healthy and the raw vegetables make the bowl feel light and fresh.


Beef Noodlefull Bowl

Of the two bowls we tried there was no real consensus of whether we enjoyed one bowl more than the other, but I personally feel that the Chop Chop bowl is a fresh, tasty option for when you don't feel like eating anything heavy on hot summer days. This is probably the only time I'll prefer rice over noodles, so you'll want to try the Chop Chop Bowl while it's still around! A big thank you to Edo Japan for helping me host an #Unforgettabowl party!

But of course I didn't forget about my readers - Edo Japan has kindly offered a $40 gift card to one of my readers to have an #unforgettabowl meal of their own with a friend (or two!). Head on over to my Instagram for all the giveaway details. Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was asked to host a social media party in conjunction with Edo Japan's new menu items. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Downtown

Oh Yes, Ono: 'Ono Poke Co.

June 02, 2017

Edmonton has been waiting a long time for Hawaiian poke. I've tried variations of the dish on menus, but none of them have been true to the Hawaiian classic. Just weeks after the opening of Edmonton's first poke spot comes 'Ono Poke Co., promising to bring authentic poke to the prairies.

'Ono Poke Co. - 10142 104 Street - Edmonton AB

In the Hawaiian language, "ono" means fish and "'ono" means delicious. It's a play on words, and either would be quite the fitting name for Edmonton's newest poke place if you ask me. 'Ono Poke Co. is slated to officially open to the public tomorrow (June 3rd), but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek earlier this week with a group of friends.


Sous Chef Matt Lafleur, Executive Chef Lawrence Hui

In early May Chef Hui travelled to Ka'anapali Beach in Maui, spending a week learning from some of Ka'anapali's top chefs and immersing himself in Hawaiian culture. It was important that he understood the roots of Hawaiian cuisine so that he could rightfully present the food and honour the ingredients back home in Edmonton. Each chef he spent time with shared their stories around Hawaiian culture and traditions and shared their versions of traditional and modern poke. Chef Hui had drafted a menu for 'Ono Poke Co. prior to his trip, only to completely change it upon his return to reflect what he learned while in Hawaii.

If you've ever been to Hawaii you'll know that you can find poke almost anywhere. Whether it's at the local grocer, Costco, or at the back of a liquor store, every place has it's own take on poke since Hawaiian cuisine draws it's influence from a multitude of cultures. It's like a melting pot of cuisines - you can find Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, and Japanese flavours in many dishes, and Chef Hui is reflecting some of that influence in his menu.

'Ono's chef-driven menu will offer six different poke bowls, featuring Ahi Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, Albacore Tuna, braised pork, and a vegan/gluten free bowl using a variety of beets. Bowls are available in regular (6-8 oz. | $11.95-$14.95) and large (14 oz. | $13.95-$16.95) sizes and have the option to be built on a bed of furikake seasoned rice, seasoned quinoa, or a spring mix salad. Two special poke bowls will be on rotation daily, and there is also the option to pick up marinated poke (at a market price) or a variety of sides to go like housemade kimchi, japchae noodles, and taro chips. The proteins, slaws, and garnishes are sourced locally whenever possible, so it's nice to know that the poke is sustainable!

The first bowl we tried was the 'Ono Poke, this shop's namesake dish. The 'Ono Poke features chunks of ruby red Ahi Tuna mixed with shoyu, sesame oil, ginger, seaweed, and white onion, and then is topped with macadamia nuts, a sprinkle of Hawaiian salt, sea asparagus, green onion, and Asian slaw (red cabbage, daikon, carrot, cilantro). It's poke in one of it's simplest forms and it really is delicious. The tuna is cut into large chunks, is well marinated, and is a fair portion size. The slaw and macadamia nuts offer some freshness and crunch, while the strands of sea asparagus bring a hit of briny flavour from the sea.

Next up we tried Uncle Tom's Surf Poke, named after Executive Chef Tom Muromoto of the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. Chef Muromoto used to be a pro-surfer and actually took Chef Hui out to surf one morning during his trip, so this bowl is aptly named. This poke features Ahi tuna mixed in a spicy tobiko aioli with white onion and topped with cucumber, edamame beans, green onion microgreens, sea asparagus, and wasabi crab chips for crunch. Hawaiian's love their mayo, but I appreciated that the aioli wasn't heavy and didn't overpower the natural flavour of the tuna. The tobiko gave the dish some additional flavour with each pop, while the cucumber and beans brought freshness and texture. And those crab chips? So addicting I could eat a whole bag.

Last but not least was Chef Hui's modern take on poke with the Prairie Luau. If you like something with a bit of heat, this one is for you! Gochujang braised pork is shredded and paired with a gochujang vinaigrette and garnished with Chinese black fungus mushroom strands, cucumber, white onion, housemade kimchi, green onion, and cilantro before getting a drizzle of Evoolution's Harissa olive oil. While the bowl isn't overly spicy, it sure packs a punch in flavour. If you're a sweet and spicy fan ask for a scoop of 'Ono's pineapple mango salsa on top - it brings the bowl to a whole new level.

While 'Ono has yet to open it's doors officially, I can confidently say that Edmonton has a lot to look forward to. The fish is fresh and appropriately seasoned, and the bowls well portioned and balanced. I'm definitely looking forward to return to try the other bowls on the menu and see what kind of specials 'Ono will come out with. Hawaiian style shaved ice is also in the works, but it will be a few weeks until it makes its debut, so stay tuned! Chef Hui has worked hard to bring an authentic taste of Hawaii to the prairies, and 'Ono Poke Co. will surely make his mentors in Ka'anapali proud.

'Ono Poke Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*Disclosure: I was invited to a casual sneak peek at 'Ono Poke Co.. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

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