Big Taste Calgary Meal #3: Parkerhouse for dinner!
Parkerhouse is located in the Lougheed building (not to be confused with the Lougheed House) and shares it with Velvet at the Grand and Sociale. The decor is contemporary, with a lounge on one side and a fairly large restaurant on the other. The size of the banquettes made me feel like Alice is Wonderland - they are probably 9 feet tall.
We came in at 6 and the restaurant side was pretty empty, although by the time we left, it was fairly full. We each ordered a glass of red (Parkerhouse has a decent wine list) and settled in to enjoy the Big Taste menu. I quite like the atmosphere at Parkerhouse - not too dark, quiet background music - it's a good place to take an out-of-town colleague for a weekday dinner without it feeling awkwardly date-like.
We started with Parkerhouse rolls, which were nothing to write home about, but not bad, and lemon tarragon butter, which was actually pretty good. My starter was the greens with pear vinaigrette, walnuts and blue cheese. Walnuts, blue cheese and pears is of course a classic combination, and it was well executed. My other half ordered the soup of the day, which happened to be a tomato gin bisque. He seemed to enjoy it, as he even stole some of my roll to soak up the soup at the very end. So far, a good start.
My main was the steak with black currant sauce, smoked crushed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Let's deal with the seasonal vegetables first - they were broccolini, which were fine, and what looked to be either a sweet potato or butternut squash puree. How did I manage not to be able to tell? Well, they added so much anise to it, it was pretty much impossible. Seeing as my hatred for anise is all-encompassing I can't really fairly judge it. Next, steak with black currant sauce - it was well cooked, and I enjoyed the sauce. Lastly, the smoked crushed potatoes. Easily the best potatoes I've had in a long, long time. I would go back to Parkerhouse and order a bowl. Sooooo good. The other entree was salmon, and it was good, and my husband especially enjoyed the foam for some reason.
The dessert was orange crème brûlée, and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was very, very orange-y. It came with a delicious biscotti as well. As for cappuccino/tea selection, the cappuccino machine was broken (apparently they're waiting on a part from Italy) and the tea selection, while a very good brand (Revolution) of course had no black tea. I just have no luck with it lately.
Overall, as I mentioned, I would definitely recommend Parkerhouse for a nice work meal, or a weekday dinner. I liked it, but didn't quite love it, though I would come back, if only for those smoked crushed potatoes. Mmm!