10522 124 Street NW, Edmonton
Edited Post Below
Canteen is a small restaurant, seating around 50 people. It is the sister restaurant of the Red Ox Inn. I’ve heard great places about Red Ox Inn and Canteen, and I finally made my way there last week with Lequyen. We had just finished our dinner, and was still feeling a little bit peckish, and wanted to go for some appetizers or dessert. We live downtown, and Canteen has been on my list for a while so we finally decided to go just to try a few things. It was around 9:00PM on a Tuesday, so there was pretty much nobody there, and we were seated immediately.
It’s a nice small restaurant, and the interior is very simple and clean. It’s fairly small, and it has relatively low ceilings as well so it makes you feel really cozy inside. The recent reviews suggest that the service there can really be hit and miss, but since we went so late, I found ours relatively good. We briefly looked at the menu, and immediately ordered an appetizer, and a couple of their smaller dishes. Sorry for the blurry pictures, the lighting in there is really bad!
We started off with their share plate. It comes with three different things:
1. Soppressata, goat cheese, fig, and hibiscus cotto
2. Rosemary financier, and bacon marmalade
3. Toast, chicken liver, and pickled onion
It seems like a common theme in most of the dishes we ordered was savoury with some sweet elements, which is a combination that I usually really like, but some of the flavours tonight just weren’t working for well together. The soppressata and goat cheese were really good. There was a lot of smokiness and it was quite spicy. The fig and hibiscus cotto, and the sauce just didn’t do well with the soppressata.
The rosemary financier was quite dry, and it didn’t really go well with the bacon jam. Individually, they were pretty tasty. The bacon jam here was nice and thick pieces of bacon, and was actually very good. The bacon marmalade here was really good and I wish I could have gotten more of it. I like it better here than on the burger that I had at The Next Act.
The chicken liver and pickled onion on toast was probably my favourite out of the three. I generally like the taste of liver, and I actually thought everything on this item of the share plate really worked well together. The pickled onion and the chicken liver went well together and gave a good contrast of flavours, and the toast was a good medium for the two.
The next thing we got was the stuffed dates, fennel sausage, and double smoked bacon in an arrabiata sauce. I opted to go for this because it sounded similar to the Devils on Horseback from Three Boars Eatery, which were amazing. Again though, I found that the flavours didn’t really go together. The difference between the dates here are the ones at Three boars is that here, they are stuffed with a fennel sausage, whereas at Three Boars, they are stuffed with a blue cheese. The fennel sausage was really good and spicy, but it didn’t really go with the date. Overall, this was relatively good, but I just personally enjoyed the similar dish I’ve eaten at Three Boars. Still worth a try though!
Our last dish was the Veal Meatball, which comes in a bay leaf cream, charred onion vinaigrette, and toast. This was my sister’s favourite dish of the night. The veal meatball was amazing. Cooked perfectly, and incredibly tender. It really melted in my mouth because it was so tender. The bay leaf cream is very rich and went well with the toast and the mealball. This is one of the dishes I’d definitely recommend you getting if you come.
Finally, we opted to get dessert, which we seldomly do. We decided to go with the chocolate ganache. It comes with candied almonds, caramel corn, and miso butter scotch, and an apricot preserve-type jam. The chocolate ganache was very rich and pretty dense. It went well with the candied almonds and caramel corn. Just when you think things are getting a little bit too heavy and rich, you can have a little bit of the apricot preserve and it just kind of resets your palate and you’re ready for some more chocolate. It was a relatively good dessert, very rich and satisfying.
Overall, my experience at Canteen was decent. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible either. I’ll have to come back here some time and give their entrées a try at least. I really like how their dishes were relatively shareable. I kind of like the interior and I could see it being a nice and casual spot to hang out with some friends one evening. Maybe try not to go during their lunch or dinner rush, because it sounds like it can get a little bit crazy. Their kitchen is open relatively late so if you don’t mind going for a late snack or a late dinner, definitely try giving this place a try.
EDIT: August 2015
So a couple weeks ago near the end of August, I had the chance to go back here and try a couple of their Entrées. We went with the share plate, because I really enjoyed it last time, and for entrées, we went with the fried pork loin cutlet, and the turkey leg.
The pork cutlet was lightly battered and fried, and served on top of canelinni beans, french beans, chorizo, olive, and tomato piccata. The pork was really tender, and went well with the piccata. The chorizo was nice and a little bit spicy and was a nice addition to the dish. To be completely honest, I was a little bit underwhelmed by the dish… For 29 dollars, I expected a little bit more (quality-wise and quantity-wise).
The other dish we had was shredded turkey leg, golden spatzle, rapini, broccolini, peas, and crispy turkey skin. Overall, I enjoyed this dish a little bit more. There was a lot more elements to this dish, and everything went nicely together. The crispy turkey skin was really good, and the saltiness of it was balanced out nicely with the rest of the ingredients. Again though, for 28 dollars, I expected more quality-wise and quantity-wise. After spending 80 dollars on food and drink, I was left hungry and a bit disappointed.
So, overall, my second experience at Canteen was along the same lines as the first. It was decent, but not amazing. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to come here again, but if my friends suggested going here for an evening out, I’d probably still go and not protest too much, but maybe just offer a few other suggestions.