Friday, April 24, 2015

Love the Dove: Dovetail Delicatessen

If you're familiar with the Edmonton food truck scene, you'll know that Drift Food Truck makes a mean pork belly sandwich. I would actually say it's my favourite item served up by a food truck, so yes, it's pretty delicious. When I heard that Nevin and Kara Fenske, the minds behind Drift Food Truck, had secured a brick and mortar location last year I was absolutely ecstatic - pork belly sandwiches all the time for everyone!

Dovetail Delicatessen - 10721 124 Street - Edmonton AB

It's been months in the making, but the new Dovetail Delicatessen on vibrant 124 Street is finally open! Although it isn't the Drift Food Truck menu served out of a restaurant, fans of the truck will be happy to know that sandwiches are still the main offering on the menu. A daily roast is served in sandwich form, while a variety of salads, samosas, and dips are also available.

Dovetail is open Monday through Friday from 1030 AM - 630 PM, allowing for those working downtown to grab lunch and residents in the area to stop by for a casual dinner. The space is bright, the decor is simple, and I love the vintage accents placed around the restaurant. Whether you want to stay for your meal or grab something to go, you simply place your order up at the counter and you can watch your food be prepared in the open kitchen.

On the day of my visit the feature sandwich was a roast pork shoulder with garlic aioli and pickled jalapenos on a German bun ($8). The sandwich itself wasn't much to look at, but the combination was fantastic. The pork shoulder was moist and well-seasoned, while the tang from the aioli and jalapenos added a nice punch of flavour. I do wish the portion was a bit bigger, as the sandwich disappeared in no time and I was left wanting more - you definitely need something on the side for a substantial meal.

For a side I opted for the salad made with roasted butternut squash, corn, black bean, and arugula in an ancho chili and lime vinaigrette ($5). The salad was fresh and I enjoyed the contrast in textures and flavours between all the components. However, I was hoping to get more of a citrus tang from the vinaigrette as I couldn't quite find it.

Sandwich shops are gaining in popularity and I'm sure Dovetail Deli is being welcomed to 124 Street with open arms. The casual, laid-back vibe is inviting and makes it an easy choice to stop at and grab a bite to eat throughout the day. Drift Food Truck is known for their great sandwich combinations and use of local ingredients, and Dovetail Delicatessen will be no different. Drift Food Truck won't be disappearing off the streets of Edmonton this year, but it's nice to know there is a place to go and grab a tasty sandwich during the colder months!

Dovetail Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 20, 2015

From the Sea: Black Pearl Seafood Bar

Over the past couple months I've been waiting for The Black Pearl to open up - the signage taunted me everytime I made a visit down to 104 Street. Promises of a new restaurant dedicated to fresh seafood were too enticing, so I stopped by on opening day this past Friday.

The Black Pearl Seafood Bar - 10132 104 Street - Edmonton AB

The Black Pearl is owned by the Crudo family behind Cafe Amore Bistro, a casual Italian restaurant located downtown that is known for their large portions and tasty pasta creations. By opening The Black Pearl the Crudo's are hoping to marry the casual atmosphere of Cafe Amore with traditionally upscale seafood dining.

The Black Pearl has taken over the space previously occupied by Lit and the interior has been completely transformed. The lighting is dim with nautical accents, including wooden crabbing cages and fishing nets, which make it feel like you're dining in a pirate ship and sets the tone for a fun evening. A long bar with seating takes up about half the space in the restaurant, which makes the restaurant appear pretty small. However, the second floor of the restaurant allows guests to host private dinners for 10+ people.

To start off our meal we were offered a basket of bread accompanied by a garlic & herb butter. The bread was soft and slightly warm, but the star of the basket was the butter. Fragrant herbs and a hint of tangy lemon was mixed into the butter and it was delicious.

The plates at The Black Pearl are meant to be shared family style, so prepare to get your hands dirty and dig into your dining companions' plates! Our first dish of the evening was the Red Argentinian Shrimp & EC Scallop Tacos with Wasabi Cream ($20). Served as a set of three on a soft tortilla, the deep fried shrimp and scallops brought a crisp crunch to the dish to contrast the crispy slaw. The sprinkling of green onion over top wasn't overpowering, but I found the wasabi cream to be the predominant flavour in the dish. The wasabi was particularly pungent in the last two bites, so much that I could feel it clearing my sinuses. The tacos were great, but I would definitely prefer for the cream to be lighter on the wasabi.

Our second plate was the King & Dungeness Crab in a Crown Royal, chili, scallion, and ginger cream sauce ($36). It was a fair sized portion with King crab legs and Dungeness crab legs, claws and lump meat. The cream sauce was flavourful, coating every piece with a spicy kick. Our server brought along nutcrackers, a bucket for shells, and various tools to help extract the crab meat - one of which you get to take home as a souvenir. It's a neat little touch and part of making your visit memorable.

Our last dish of the evening was the BC Side Stripe Shrimp with heads on, sauteed with pimento, scallions, and shallots in garlic oil ($24). Side Stripe Shrimp are generally quite small, where the bodies are about pinky size, so it was nice to see 9 of them on the plate. This dish was incredibly flavourful and spicy, making me reach for my water in between each shrimp. Eating with the heads on can be intimidating, but you get the full flavour and all the rich tomalley. Our shrimp were also full of roe, which was another exciting find in the dish.

Dining on opening night at a restaurant can be hit or miss, but dinner on Friday night at The Black Pearl was great. The seafood was fresh, hospitality was excellent and it was great to be able to enjoy seafood in a casual atmosphere. Due to the commitment to serving fresh seafood, the menu will change seasonally to reflect availability. An assortment of east and west coast oysters are also available to order by the half dozen ($18) and seafood platters featuring lobster, oysters, Dungeness crab, and Snow crab can be found on the menu as well. Despite being a casual restaurant, the prices are on par with other seafood restaurants and you can expect to be paying around $40-50 per person for a filling meal. Given the quality of the seafood and the fun atmosphere, it’s a great casual spot for seafood lovers to unwind and dine at!

Black Pearl Seafood Bar on Urbanspoon