A New Gem: Chef Jonathan Ruby @ The Makk on 124

November 02, 2013

Gosh, I love puns. Gem, Ruby, heehee. Ok. So about a two months ago, The Makk on 124 revealed that they had brought in their new Executive Chef, Jonathan Ruby, from the West Coast. I was contacted by Matt, the owner, to stop by for a preview and taste of the menu, and I couldn't be more excited. It's one thing when a restaurant gets a new local chef, but to bring in someone brand new into the culinary scene always gets me curious.

The Makk on 124 - 10418 124 Street - Edmonton AB

My first visit to the Makk was last year when celebrating my birthday with friends, and it was a nice evening filled with good food and company. Since then I've had two separate visits, and unfortunately I have to say I wasn't always impressed. The presentation of food has always been great, but some inconsistencies in dishes and pricing kept me from returning more frequently. With Jonathan Ruby as a new addition to the team, the menu has been completely redesigned and many traditional dishes have been updated to capture some of his "Mediterranean-French" flair.

Giving the restaurant another try, my boyfriend and I arrived at 6pm on a Sunday night and were greeted and seated quickly by Matt himself. Our server introduced us to the new menu, and there were lots of intriguing dishes available. After ordering our dishes our server presented us with the amuse bouche of the night. A chili and mint infused hot chocolate in a little cup was perfect to warm me up and whet my appetite. It had a nice kick of heat at the end of each sip, and the mint didn't overwhelm the cocoa.

As we waited for our appetizers to come out we were surprised to have bread brought to the table. We munched on the two slices of a baguette with truffle butter, which was lovely. Airy, whipped butter with a trace of truffle flavour over the fresh bread kept our stomachs happy and left us room for the rest of the meal.

Our first appetizer for the night was the Beef & Potatoes ($15): crispy veal breast, hay roasted potato, ermite cheesecake, beef glace, and salt beef. The dish had a great presentation, and it tasted as good as it looked. The veal was cooked and flavoured nicely, retaining moisture from the glace. The salt beef strands were great for decoration but also provided flavour and contrasting texture to the soft potatoes.

For my appetizer I chose to go with the Rye Crusted Trout ($14): spicy pickled lettuce, Fairwinds Farm Yogurt and granola. This was another dish with an interesting presentation, but what was on the dish was even better. The trout had been cured so as to give it a soft, flaky texture, while the rye-crusted top was savoury and crisp for a contrast in texture. The seasonings didn't overwhelm the fish, allowing for its natural flavours to come through. The granola was also savoury and the yogurt on the dish ensured it wouldn't be dry while being eaten. As you can see in the picture above, the fish was served atop of pickled lettuce. It was spicy and almost like a psuedo-kimchi. This threw me off a little bit as the flavours didn't work too well with the yogurt, but when paired with the trout it wasn't a problem.

For my entree I chose to go with the Smoked Tenderloin ($42): foie gras butter, potato galette, red wine braised onion and roasted carrot. The tenderloin was cooked beautifully juicy to medium rare with a nice smokiness. The butter atop the meat, however, was quite salty and I honestly would've wanted less (despite it being foie!). The vegetables on the dish I could care less about, because the tenderloin was the real star here. The braised onion had slight sweetness and acidity to balance all the flavours in the dish, but the potato galette was rather oily for my liking.

The other entree at the table was the Alberta Lamb Cannon ($35): Colcannon mash, lamb tart, kale, wheat berry, gras pista and whisky. Yet another protein cooked beautifully for our dinner. The lamb on the dish was presented two ways: as the "cannon" and in tart form. The lamb cannon was cooked medium rare, allowing it to retain some juices and remain tender with each bite. The bed of potatoes it sat upon were quite salty, so it needed to be eaten together with the lamb in order for the flavours to balance out. The contents of the tart were amazing - sweet onions, tender chunks of lamb, and tender wheat berry with a slight chew. However, the tart shell itself was quite dense and difficult to break through, unlike the typical flaky tart we had expected. Everything was perfection with exception to the tart shell.

To finish off the night we chose to go with the Chocolate ($8): dark chocolate torte, white chocolate mousse, frozen foam. The presentation was so pretty - it reminded me of a sled, and of course I started to think of Christmas! Anyway, the torte was dense but not overly sweet, while the sweetness of the white chocolate mousse was contrasted by the dark chocolate. The frozen foam was something different, I loved the coarse texture it had against the smooth torte. With the addition of some chili threads, fleur de sel, and the curved cookie, it really was an awesome dessert. It very much reminded me of the torta served at Corso 32, with this one just being a little stiffer!

So how did the evening go? I was pretty impressed with the menu change and the obvious effort that was put into cooking each dish. There were little things that I felt hindered perfect execution, but overall it was a lovely evening and the food was great. At the end of dinner we were told that The Makk is now trying to start up a "Sunday Supper" each week, so that families are able to come out and enjoy a family style meal for a set price. The Makk on 124 remains committed to serving diners with quality food while supporting as many local producers as possible. Looking at the pricing on the regular menu, the Makk isn't really going to be the go-to restaurant that you visit once a week. Reserve it for special occasions to celebrate with the significant people in your life and enjoy the meal!

Disclaimer: as I was invited to try the restaurant, 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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6 comments

  1. Oh wow, everything just looks so scrumptious here. Ah, foie gras butter sounds amazing!

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  2. woww looks so yumyyy

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  3. Looks so yummmy.

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  4. Glad you gave it a second chance. Seems like they have to work on some things, but are getting better :) The presentation looked lovely.
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  5. all the food photos make me hungry like really really hungry lol

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