New Chef, New Direction: Murrieta's Bar & Grill

July 19, 2012

Two weeks ago, I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend the Summer Menu Media Launch at Murrieta's Bar & Grill on Whyte Avenue here in Edmonton. Before I continue on with this post, I'd like to thank you all for your continued support & readership! Without you, I wouldn't have the opportunity to attend events like these, and I'm so thankful to have you all on this journey with me!

Murrieta's Bar & Grill - 10612 82 Avenue - Edmonton AB

Before this particular dinner, I had never stepped foot inside Murrieta's. Of course, I've walked by multiple times, and even attempted to peek inside before like a creeper, but never had the chance to sit down and try the menu. So when I heard Chef Shane Chartrand (awesome article on him here!) took the reigns and revamped the menu, I was more than excited to try some dishes out for myself.

On this night, buckets of rain were pouring from the clouds up in the sky - literally. With my trench coat and umbrella in hand, I made my way to the restaurant, and was greeted the friendly hostess with a big smile on her face. Taking in the surroundings, the restaurant was elegant, and upscale without being pretentious. The environment was warm and welcoming, and perfect for any type of celebration.

It's the first time a chef has been given complete control over the menu at Murrieta's, and it's important to note what Chef Chartrand believes to be most important: Sustainability. While it's important to source locally, it's not always feasible given that we live in Edmonton. In addition, it can be difficult for diners to justify the higher cost per plate, so Chartrand tries his best to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.

Having the experience of running L2 Grill, Murrieta's runs at a much smaller scale than L2 Grill, which can allow for a personalized dining experience. For special occasions you may opt for a meal off the menu, chef chosen and catered to you. Bigger dinner parties? No problem, as there are private rooms to accomodate to any occasion.

Enough background. Let's talk food. For the evening, I was lucky enough to be dining with Susan of Molly's Eats, and Tiffany of In Search of Yumminess, both of which love to share food so I got to try lots of dishes. Oh, and I must mention that I'm really young.. so I had no idea that I was chatting and dining with former Oiler Craig Simpson at my table. Crazy I tell ya.

To start off, we were given bread baked by ACE Bakery served with anchovy & roast garlic infused butter. The moment you twist that lid off the jar of butter, the aroma is amazing and tastes even better on the bread. It was so good that I had.. many pieces.

Deep Fried Goat Cheese: Pancetta, Green Apple Sticks, Orange Brandy Sauce, Local Crackers

Look at the presentation of this dish.. and it's only an appetizer! The goat cheese was warm and rich, but maintained it's usual texture despite being deep fried. The crackers were salty, but easily balanced out with the apple sticks.

Watermelon & Boursin Salad: Beech Brown Mushrooms, Nutmeg Cinnamon Gastrique, Red Grape Dressing

A very refreshing salad to have before the meal. I loved the juicy, sweet watermelon chunks mixed with the dressing, but the greens on their own were a little bitter for my liking - best eaten together with the watermelon.

Trio of Dips: Lime Pico De Gallo, Cream Cheese & Crab, Herbed Garlic Mushroom Duxelle, Baked Flatbread

With the flatbread baked in house, the three dips were nice, they weren't memorable enough for me to jump and order the next time I visit, but I'd have to say the duxelle was my favourite. This dish by itself is quite heavy as an appetizer thanks to the carbs, and is best shared amongst 2-3 people to avoid being too full for the mains.

Seafood Boil: Snow Crab Leg, Mussels, Scallops, Prawns, Fish, Julienne Vegetables, Kielbasa Corn, New Potatoes

Do not wear white when you order this dish! You'll definitely get a little messy attempting to devour the seafood. I'm not really a seafood person per se, but the seafood was definitely fresh! I expected the broth to be strong, but it was lighter than expected, allowing for the natural sweetness of the seafood to come out.

Lamb Duo: Roasted Half Rack, Merguez Sausage, Black Pearl Medley, Wild Blackberry Chutney

Mm, lamb. I had debated on ordering this dish, until Tiffany beat me to it. The presentation was beautiful. Lamb was tender, and perfectly cooked. The black pearl medley had a nice bite to it, and the chutney tied it altogether. Next visit, this dish is mine!

"Ash Crusted" Tuna: Mushroom Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Fried Leeks, Lime Salsa

So, I have a secret. I was completely out of my mind, and out of my element on this night.. and I blame it on the crazy weather. First of all, I'm not a big seafood fan. Second, I really never eat raw fish. So when my seared ahi tuna arrived infront of me, I took a big gulp and wondered why on earth I was being such an idiot! I also pondered how I could make it look like I was enjoying the fish but really wasn't. But maybe this was a really great mistake because I enjoyed the dish and felt like a rebel or something. The ahi tuna was really fresh, and quite firm compared to what I've tried before. My first bite actually made me think I was eating an amazing, tender steak. The lime salsa was really good too. Congratulations, Shane. You've made me like ahi tuna!

So, you may be wondering how I still had room in my ready-to-explode stomach for more food.. but here's another secret: I have a second stomach for dessert, so technically I'm like half a cow cause I have two stomachs instead of four :). Naturally I had to try the creme brule, which is different every day. I almost feel like I need to visit multiple times to try them all. The creme brule of the day was white chocolate, and so decadent. Of course having the flame done table side makes everything better too.

Chocolate Lava Cake: Grand Marnier Raspberry Coulis, Butterscotch Gelato

Yet another delicious dessert was the lava cake served in a little mason jar. Such a cute way to present the dessert and ensure you dig deep to get a little of everything in each bite. And with that, my food baby was about ready for delivery.

A big thank you again to the crew at Murrieta's for all their hard work and the opportunity to check out the new summer menu! I do look forward to trying out more dishes (ahem, lots of creme brulee), as I know I'm in good hands when Chef Chartrand is in the kitchen.

Disclaimer: as this was a media launch event, views expressed in this post are solely mine. I was not expected to feature this restaurant on my blog, nor obligated to do so. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Murrieta's on Urbanspoon

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  1. Everything looks so good! I guess a trip to Murrieta's is needed now...

  2. I think this review is BIAS as you were invited to try Murrieta's food for free. The chiefs @ Murrieta's expect you to write something nice about the restaurant and to "ADVERTISE" for the restaurant. I love to read your restaurants' reviews in Edmonton, but I was disappointed to see this type of "bias" restaurant review in your blog.

    1. Sorry that you're disappointed in this entry, I've added an additional disclaimer at the end of the post to make things a little clearer. I think it is absolutely important that I had pointed out this was an event and that I did get to try out the dishes free of charge, because like you said, it can make a difference to readers and what they think of my review. However, before I agreed to attend the event, I ensured there was no expectation to write a review, and that I would have the freedom to state my own opinion. I personally chose to write this myself because I had a great experience, and Chef Chartrand wanted honest feedback on the new menu. It has always been my policy that I write how I truly feel on this blog, and it has not changed, nor will it change in the future. This review is simply that. My opinion 100%, because my priority is to give honest reviews to those that read this blog.

      If I had not added that I was invited to try out the food, this would just be another review for you to read and there would be no issues. I always state when I receive any form of compensation, because I want all readers to know that what I am writing is my honest opinion, and compensation never influences the content written on this blog, as stated in my disclaimer. I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Murrieta's - especially the tuna when I didn't expect to like it at all. I wouldn't hesitate to visit again, and I hope this review doesn't deter you from visiting in the future. If you have any issues, feel free to contact me. Thanks again for your support and readership!

  3. idk if it's because you're a very good photographer or this place looks amazing.... the atmosphere is just sooo.... sexy! lol.

  4. Wow! Seems like a wonderful place. Amazing pictures! xx

  5. Oh my gosh...that place looks so classy. And the food...the presentation...I'm drooling! :P
    That seafood boil looks absolutely scrumptious, probably since I'm especially partial to seafood. ^^ and that creme brulee...!!
    ♥ xixia |

  6. you are so beautiful :)
    blogwalking here and found you nice blog, dear.
    lets follow each others! :D


  7. Humm all those food make me hungry, it look delicious.

  8. Beautiful blog and great review dear!! Would you like to follow each other?

  9. wow! everything looks so delicious.
    i love goat cheese. i wonder how delicious it would be since it is even fried! lolz

  10. Hays! This entry proves I do learn more than about how to dress fashionably --I now know that cows have 4 stomachs! No wonder why they are always grazing!

    Everything looks so delicious! And contrary to the ticked off anonymous comment above, I found this review and your insights informative & enjoyable --especially since you ordered seafood dishes. I'm not crazy about fish so to me, I'm more inclined to trust someone who isn't a seafood person either!

    1. Uh, I meant 'HA' & not 'hays'. Stupid auto correct.... LOL

    2. Haha, technically cows only have one stomach, but it is segregated into four compartments so people always say they have four :) & thanks for the kind words, girl! Means a lot!

  11. Wow! Everything looks so delicious!

  12. The food looks absolutely wonderful.

  13. oh wow, the food looks delicious!!! i want to reach in and grab each dish, haha! ;)

    <3, Mimi

  14. oh wow andrea! murietta's is FABULOUS! i like that its upscale without being pretentious. so many places are not like that. plus their presentation of the food is amazing. and it tastes good! so glad you enjoyed the tuna. you're always making me funny with the foodie pics. hahaha i'm holding a butter of london contest giveaway. its open to Canadian residents also. just wanted to let you know!

  15. oOo fancy. too bad i get really sick when i eat goat cheese.

  16. Lovely review! Shane is absolutely divinely gifted when it comes to seafood, I mentioned in my write up that my husband has only ever enjoyed what Shane makes seafood wise. (not my cooking, let's note). It was a fabulous night and he's certainly one of the most talented chefs in Edmonton.

    Sadly we didn't get to chat enough! See you at Tutti Frutti!

    1. I think I will be a seafood convert when he's in the kitchen! See you at TF, Karlynn!

  17. i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee your foodie posts!! it's been such a struggle for me from living in san francisco.. to moving to a much smaller town in germany.. we don't have this types of restaurants here.. and in sf we use to eat out like this once a week.. so i have to live vicariously through your delicious pictures haha!


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