8534 109 Street NW, Edmonton, AB
Why Not is owned by locals Chef Levi Biddlecombe and Chef Tyson Wright. Together, they have over 25 years of experience in the industry. They’ve had appearances on Chopped Canada, and nominated in the 2017 Gold Metal Plates.
It is located on 109 street and 85 avenue, just a few blocks away from Whyte. For parking, there is some meter parking in front, and to the side streets. It is located upstairs of the building complex. When you enter the building, you’re greeted with lots of pieces of local artists.
Their menu changes frequently, so I’d recommend checking out their instagram for what’s being served, or even calling ahead. It is a pretty small space, so if you’re coming with a large group, I’d recommend making a reservation.
For their snacks, I opted to get the Nacho Average Wontons. This comes with kimchi shrimp, shaved cabbage, served on top of wonton chips, drizzled with garlic sesame aioli, gochujang vinaigrette, and herbs. Hands down, this was my favourite dish of the night. We also came for happy hour, so they were slightly discounted.
For food, we went with their 16-day whiskey cured ribeye, the salmon and salami, and the octopus.
The 16-day whiskey cured ribeye comes with brûléed cured ribeye, smoked sea scallop tartar, house made crackers, pickled shimeji mushrooms, shallots and microgreens. The ribeye was very tender and all the flavours worked well together. This dish was 23 dollars for 7 small cubes of ribeye, 4 crackers, and some microgreens. I’d probably opt to get two more orders of the wonton nachos even though it was pretty tasty.
Their Salmon and Salami dish is New Zealand King Salmon sashimi and dry salami served with roasted squash, brûléed plum, toasted pecans, served with a lemon vinaigrette and herb oil, with charred rosemary. Overall a pretty good dish. I found it a bit bland and could have used a little bit more lemon vinaigrette, or more plum.
The octopus was my favourite of the three share dishes. This comes with 3 year kimchi romesco sauce, confit octopus, herb radish salad, and black pepper fried walnut. The octopus was very tender, all two pieces of it. Again, all the flavours were fine, but $22 for two small pieces of octopus, and salad. I understand that it’s a business, and I don’t mind paying premium prices, but I expect to at least be full after getting one appetizer and three entreé dishes and paying $100+.
Lastly, for dessert, we had their vegan cheesecake and their semi freddo. Their vegan cheesecake is chocolate, and comes with vegan ice cream from Pinocchio’s. It’s made from cashews. A bit on the rich side for me, but pretty good. Their semifreddo was quite nice, and went really nicely with the mint and greens. Overall not a bad dessert.
Overall, I had just an okay time at Why Not Cafe and Bar. Full disclosure, I was given free dessert, but paid for my meal. After paying over $100 dollars for two people for a meal, I expect to be at least somewhat satiated. I came home and made additional food because I estimated macros and didn’t consume enough calories for the day. The flavours were good and the dishes were beautifully presented but the quantity didn’t warrant the price in my opinion, especially after ordering so many dishes. Their lunch menu is vastly different from their dinner, which looks a bit more agreeable, and plus, you can get their famous duck totes. I’d recommend giving lunch a try over their dinner.