Saturday, June 25

Sugo: **

I've been meaning to try Sugo, an Italian restaurant in Inglewood, for a while, but the timing just never seemed to work out. Finally I got a chance to have dinner there recently - and as much as I wanted to like it, the place just did not rise to the occasion.

One amazing thing I do have to mention is the affordability of Sugo's wine list. They actually had a bottle of prosecco for $20 cheaper than the exact same bottle at Catch. Impressive!

Another good thing was Sugo's antipasti - marinated olives, smoked duck, various Italian meats and cheeses - it was all delicious. Then again, most of it wasn't cooked, but bought.

Unfortunately, dishes cooked and conceptualized in-house failed to impress for the most part. The pear, prosciutto and blue cheese flatbread was completely dominated by the blue cheese, lacking a complexity of flavour. All of the mains seemed to come with roasted florette of cauliflower, asparagus and beets on the side - not that any of these are a bad thing, but 1) very reminiscent of a chain restaurant and 2) are the exact same flavours really appropriate to be on the side of a chicken dish, and a steak dish and a lamb dish? I didn't expect them to be, and they weren't.

I ordered the roasted chicken with parsnip and yellow carrots and basil aioli, half-expecting the heavenly chicken I got at FnB - so really, it's my own fault for having my expectations be so high. How can I describe it? Well, for one, herb overload. Roasted beets that came on the side were basically covered in thyme (why would you want to mask the roasted beet flavour, I do not know); the carrots and parsnips came in a sort of gratin (minus the cheese) wherein the thin slices of both vegetables were layered together with more herbs - and no carrot flavour to be found; and the chicken was smothered with what I'm assuming to be the basil aioli, which tasted less like an aioli and more like pure basil purée. The chicken itself was juicy enough, but not terribly flavourful on its own (even the skin!), as it was supposed to rely on the basil aioli I was trying to avoid. Yeah, not impressed.

Grilled hanger steak with boar prosciutto wrapped scallops and gorgonzola was equally underwhelming, and while the half lamb rack with grilled prawns drew no real complaints, the only thing on the table that was fought over was the fusilli with chicken and cherry tomatoes, a dish that cost half the price of the other entrées and had twice the flavour - probably because the chef did not overthink it.

For dessert, I chose chocolate brûlée - not to be confused with chocolate crème brûlée, as brûlée simply means the top of the dessert was torched. Underneath the crust was an extremely rich chocolaty cake - well somewhere between a mousse and a fondant - no complaints here.

I would probably come to Sugo for drinks and antipasti (and dessert!), but its location means that is highly, highly unlikely until someone convinces me their entrées have been significantly improved.

Sugo Caffe Italia on Urbanspoon


  1. Aaaand you've just summarized how I feel about MANY of Calgary's well liked restaurants. Very good review - I like how you are able to articulate what's wrong with a dish, and clearly point out elements that work and don't. Based on this I've downgraded my desire to go to Sugo.

  2. Interesting review! Thanks for the insight!! Even for drinks and desserts, I may as well try somewhere new or go somewhere I like!!