First of all, a shout-out to our server, Christina! Hallo! I hope I’ve spelt your name right.
J, Mum, B and I all went to Brasserie a little back in the fall. I reserved a spot for us one weeknight for dinner via Open Table and had no problems with the reservation or seating process. Since it was a birthday night we all decided to be fancy-schmancy and order appetizers like normal people do.
UPDATE: I have since found out that Brasserie Kensington is no longer featured on Open Table. Oh bother.
The chicken pate (15) came after some deliberation and, while it looked quite pretty (and interesting, because this was my first time eating chicken pate at a restaurant) it wasn’t anything amazing. Everyone agreed the pate was fairly tasteless and while the warm crostinis were a nice touch, the amount served was inadequate and the dish wasn’t worth its 15$ of taste. Too bad. It looked so pretty on the plate even when we served ourselves. The pickles were good though.
NOTE: Their menu has changed since; apparently the pate now costs $14 and comes with grapes too! Sorry, but I still wouldn’t recommend it.
Slightly worried, we waited for the main dishes to arrive, and they did so soon enough. J ordered the “milk fed” Quebec veal burger (16.5) which included arugula aioli, Gruyère cheese, mushrooms and grainy mustard. After realizing that veal wasn’t lamb (haha) he still found himself delighted. The cheese was melty and the burger was juicy; overall it was well-seasoned and well-done. You’ll see a soup in the picture below but I’ll comment on that a bit later.
B on the other hand ordered the brass club (16.5), which consisted of grilled chicken, Gruyère cheese, avocado, tomato and bacon. That dish was piled hiiigh and smelled so delicious. If you don’t know my brother, well… let’s just say he can be a man of few words. He decided that the sandwich was “good” and that’s rather high praise coming from him, although he did also note that the chicken club sandwich wasn’t very French at all.
Mum decided to order the braised duck rillette (16.75) and that included brie, fried onions and arugula aioli. I really regretted not choosing that sandwich after she raved about the near-overwhelmingly moistness of the duck. Guah. Like a loving mum she shared pieces of her meal so we all eventually raved about the duck sandwich (and I’ve resolved to order that the next time I do go to Brasserie).
Now regarding the soup, both Mum and J ordered it as their side instead of fries. The soup of the day was lentil soup and, far from being the grainy sludge that I’ve encountered before, was thick and so very savoury without being overly salty. Accomplishing that alone requires talent; savoury does not necessarily equate to salt, and this soup proved that.
Finally, I ordered a croque-monsieur (14.75; because the duck was my first choice but mum’s choices come first) and didn’t expect anything much from the description on the menu: farm ham, arugula aioli, Gruyère cheese and mustard. Seriously. It was a ham and cheese sandwich with a spot of mustard, right?
Oh-I-was-so-wrong. Not only did I discover a new love of mustard (I thought I liked mustard before, but now I LIKE mustard), but the ham was sliced so thinly and cooked so nicely it turned out almost like bacon. What impressed me the most though was that, like all the other food at the table, nothing was too salty and the flavour was practically spot on.
Just looking at that mustard makes me want to go there again! Back on the issue of salt: I tend to enjoy less salt on my food than most people, so there is the chance that you, dear reader, may find that the food needs more seasoning. However, my fellow patrons (including my mum, who loves salty things) agreed that everything was indeed well-seasoned and tasty. I hope that helps.
1131 Kensington Road NW
Calgary AB T2N 4P4
Pros: Like I said, the food was well-seasoned. Service was decent and friendly and the washrooms were nice. I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned washrooms. Whee. But nice washrooms are important for any location.
Cons: The place started to get a little noisy as more people arrived for dinner and the atmosphere didn’t match the restaurant’s name. Like B said, not very French. The biggest complaints we had about the place was really the price. But hey, welcome to Kensington, where you eat food and food eats money.
I really want that mustard now. Maybe another day when I’m celebrating something and looking for a tummy-treat. Cheers (=