It’s so good and so cool that I get all excited and my chinese accent comes out!
Recently I had the opportunity to have dinner at Charcut Roast House, located on 899 Centre Street SW (in the shadow of the Calgary Tower). Being the final weekend of Dineout Calgary, we opted to partake in the dinner menu, in addition to sampling a couple of things off the menu.
Charcut has been described as having “urban rustic” cuisine. While I generally dislike restaurants being described with these generic amalgamating words (like “pan-asian cuisine”), it really describes Charcut’s style quite well. The restaurant is sleek, stylish and very contemporary, with lots of dark grey with rich wood tables. However, your eye is drawn to the almost-glowing red panels that highlight the open kitchen where you can see the chefs spitting whole chickens to be roasted in an open rotisserie, slicing house cured charcuterie, or bottling house-made preserves and condiments. They even have a mason jar chandelier, and what “urban rustic” restaurant would be complete without a mirroring portrait of two pigs? (or was it bovine?) As mentioned, they make practically everything in house, and source very local, high-quality ingredients from surrounding like-minded farms and producers. Do you like house cured pork, lamb, sausage and other charcuterie? Do you like crispy chicken skin with your salad? Do you like poutine? Do you like duck fat poutine? If you answered yes to all of those questions, then this is the restaurant for you.
We started off with the Albacore Crudo or Shaved Country-Style Lamb Ham. Luckily, I was able to try both. The Tuna was supple and soft, beautifully dressed with citrusy olive oil, accompanied with crunchy sliced fennel, and finished with truffle salt – a perfectly executed and a very palate engaging dish. The lamb had great texture with nice thinness that gave away for each bite. It was also finished with cave-aged gruyere. The portions on these dishes were quite substantial, with the lamb served on a decent sized wooden board, and the Tuna contaning ~6 pieces.
Next we ordered two extra dishes off the menu. The first was a gloriously rich duck fat poutine with thick-cut, meaty fries slathered in duck fat gravy with beautiful, stringy curds. Needless to say, I moved several steps (slow, fat, plodding ones) closer to obesity after this dish, but it was so good. The best part was the end, where the curds began to stick together as I mopped up some remaining gravy.
Next we tried the roasted bone-marrow au gratin. While many of you may find it horrendously disgusting to eat bone marrow, I really hope you muster up and try it sometime. Again, there is no way this is good for you in any shape or form, but the bone marrow (roasted to order, I believe) was so incredibly creamy, buttery, and almost nutty (with that distinct bone marrow taste – it’s hard to describe). The server called it “meat butter” which isn’t a term I’d use to get first timers to try it but I totally agree and it’s perfectly accurate. This was served with some crisp brioche crostini, with parsley salad and salt to finish.
The main course was a perfectly crusted smoked, rotisserie Spring Creek prime rib, served with roasted lemon, an entire half bulb of roasted garlic, brassica mustard and arugula. I had no reservations in slathering on the roasted garlic, and as result I feared for the lives of anyone who had the misfortune of talking to me the next day.
To finish off I had a delicious BC cherry cheesecake served in a miniature mason jar. Not only were the ladies swooning over how cute this jar was, but the velvety texture of the cheesecake (no crumbly consistency here) with the deep sweetness of the cherry was the perfect way to end this feast.
Charcut is going to thrive in Calgary not only because we have an insatiable appetite for meat, but because people are starting to look beyond chain restaurants or their usual spots for something a little more unique, honest, decadent and absolutely delicious. Charcut Roast house was rearry, rearry, dericious.