Farm to Table: RGE RD

August 30, 2013

Given the vast stretch of prairies we find ourselves in, and the numerous farmers markets in the city, it's no surprise that farm to fork dining is a growing trend here in Edmonton. RGE RD is another addition to the culinary scene that does just that - offers sustainable dining and supports local producers in and around the Edmonton area.

RGE RD - 10643 123 Street - Edmonton AB

At the intersection of farm, food and friends, we find Chef Blair Lebsack, a talented chef, local food advocate, and once culinary instructor at NAIT. I remember many times reading about his RGE RD dinners held at the Nature's Green Acres farmland, wishing I had the time (and money!) to attend the summertime meals. So luckily, Chef Lebsack decided to bring the concept into the city, opening up a 40 seat restaurant for all to enjoy.

Arriving to the restaurant, it doesn't seem to special when looking from the outside. But once you walk in through the doors, the dim lighting and wooden decor gives it a homey feel. The rustic environment is cozy, and with the many tables in the dining room, it makes the dining experience more intimate.

As the menu is dictated by what is available seasonally, it will be changing constantly. To start off the meal, I ordered the Front Porch Iced Tea for the day, described to be made with whatever was picked from the garden for the day. That night, it happened to be a Maple & Saskatoon Berry Spritzer, made with maple soaked saskatoon berries. The maple flavour was evident, and the berries were quite sweet, making it a tasty drink to accompany my meal.

To start the meal, we chose the Alberta Whitefish with BC Side Stripe Prawns ($12): liquid chilies, marinated cucumber, urban greens. First off, the presentation of the dish was beautiful. A giant piece of whitefish, accompanied by 3 smaller prawns was served up with a medicine dropper-esque contraption, filled with liquified chilies - which I believe was a mix of Habanero chilies and cayenne pepper. The fish was tender and flaked beautifully with each bite, and the small but meaty prawns in the tangy sauce were a great accompaniment. The liquid chilies were quite hot, and added a nice kick to the dish.

As my main, I ordered the Nature's Green Acres Whole Hog served in two courses ($29). First up was hog belly served with spicy coleslaw, and I was actually a little shocked as to how small the piece of pork belly was. Size aside, the belly was tender and fatty, and seasoned in such a way that it reminded me of Chinese BBQ pork. The slaw itself was crunchy, quite spicy and tangy, cutting the fattiness of the pork belly.

The second course with the hog was written as the loin served with hock and beans - but what arrived infront of me was better. I got a large portion of loin served on top of their summer cassoulet with seasonal vegetables and white bean puree. On the side was also a piece of what appeared to be small ribs, seasoned with a thick tomato paste. The loin was tender and juicy, seasoned lightly to allow the natural flavours of the pork to shine through. I found the cassoulet to be quite salty though, and was only able to eat it paired with the pork - not on its own.

The second entree we ordered was the Pilatus Farms Bison ($29): barley, kohlrabi, pickled walnut, pork jowl, onion. The medium rare bison sat atop a bed of barley mixed with kohlrabi, while small slivers of onion and the pickled walnuts accented the plate. In comparison to my hog, this dish was bland. However, eaten on its own, I really enjoyed the subdued flavours, and was able to appreciate each component on its own. The combination of different textures on the plate kept things interesting, although I can't say I'm a big fan of the pickled walnuts. For something that typically has some bite and crunch to it, the walnuts were soft, and didn't have the resistance a regular walnut would have. My boyfriend enjoyed them though - so to each their own.

To finish off the evening, all the desserts on the menu sounded delectable, but we ultimately chose the Chocolate S'more ($9): chocolate sable, graham wafer, chocolate truffle, vanilla marshmallow, ice cream. When it arrived, it just looked so cute and was the perfect size to share between two. It wasn't too sweet, and wasn't messy, making it the perfect s'more for me - only thing is that it was a tad cold and the graham wafer was pretty tough to break. I loved the toasted marshmallow, and even the vanilla ice cream had a slight smokiness to it, bringing the campfire to the table.

Leaving RGE RD with my belly full, the meal service was lovely and the food was delicious. Given the pricing on the menu, I will say that this isn't going to be your everyday choice for dinner, but I would definitely recommend it for special occasions and dinner dates. One thing I noticed on the menu was the RGE RD Trip, a six course tasting menu available for $70+, with no advance notice necessary. Wine pairings are available as well for $50, but if you know tasting menus, $70 per person is a steal! I'm sure I'll be back in the future to check it out, given that the food was excellent.

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  1. OMG everything looks sooo good and since it's within walking distance from me I absolutely have to go!

  2. Andrea, this place was better than some ritzy restaurants! HAHAHA Each dish was absolutely impeccable and tasted great! That is so good to hear. I love the idea of farm to fork restaurants. I think we'll see more of these in the near future. Excellent review!

  3. It looks fantastic - especially the spritzer!

  4. The food looks fantastic..
    Dont forget to enter my giveaway.
    Keep in touch,

  5. amazing food! so niceeee

  6. Wow, sounds like an amazing restaurant! Looks very nice too!


  7. you are really good at food photography andrea, the portions are little and nicely put together like in those top chef shows :D it must taste really good :D


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