On a beautiful (26C heck= shorts and tank top weather holla!!) early Saturday evening, my folks and I decided to head to the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert. We had booked our reservation online through Open Table and on the Patio for Prairie Bistro. The Prairie Bistro takes pride in presenting fresh, local, and quality ingredients. When we arrived, we were actually surprised to find a quiet and over-staffed restaurant, in fact we were the only patrons in the restaurant. Our server gave us choice of were we wanted to sit so we chose a green high top overlooking Big Lake. She gave us our menus and said our server would be by soon. Our server came by and explained the specials for the night which included a poached rainbow trout and a pumpkin cheesecake.
I started the evening with a cocktail titled the The Prairie. It was delish. Made with Bisongrass Vodka, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, Apple Juice, and Lemon Juice. The drink was sweet and sharp served with a dried apple slice. The apple juice and vermouth overpowered the palette but was incredibly refreshing and tasty on a hot day.
As an appetizer, the folks each got a Grilled Romaine salad with sautéed sourdough croutons, a Duck Confit, and I ordered a Beef Tartar. The grilled romaine came quickly and smelling absolutely scrumptious. The romaine was served as a head topped with fresh parmesan, salt and pepper, and lemon. The caesar dressing was light and creamy while the sourdough croutons were done properly and tasty. Croutons can be hit and miss in restaurants whether they are too oily or too dry and I also hate, HATE, boxed croutons. A few minutes later my Beef Tartar arrived and I was consumed with its presence. Unfortunately, the Duck Confit came at the same time and I was unable to eat any of it.
My tartar came with beet chips, tortilla chips, a couple of diced beets served with sour cream and dill, and of course the tartar. The tartar was smooth, creamy, and had a perfect amount of heat provided by a grainy mustard. As for the chips, I found the beet chips quite odd actually. Naturally I assumed a crunch component to the chips but they were soft, delicate, and squishy. I found them not needed for the dish at all and enjoyed the diced beets more. As for the tortilla chips they were excellent for taking my tartar and spreading across. I loved that the tartar was smooth and the tortilla provided a nice contrasting texture.
For my main I went vegetarian, assuming it would be light and a smaller portion. Oh how wrong was I.
The Smoked Chickpea Panisse was an interesting surprise to say the least. Now a Panisse is a chickpea flour cake from Southern France that is usually fried or baked. It was served on top of a white wine broth with french lentils, green olives, fresh herbs, and sautéed greens. Now when I first bit into the cake it was gritty, soft, and pretty tasty. I enjoyed the fried sides of the cake the most because who doesn’t love fried anything? The cake was smoky and salty and quite good on its own. The broth was also very tasty with the lentils being cooked nicely and working well the olives, bitter greens, and red pepper which provided some sweetness to the dish. Although the individual components worked well separately, together I found the dish too salty and mushy. I felt like it needed something firmer and a larger array of flavours to balance it better. Lentils, olives, smoked chickpeas, and the greens presented were all too bitter and salty together. Although I was not disappointed at all with the entrée and very filled.
The last and final course of the evening was dessert. My mother had chosen to get the daily special of the pumpkin cheesecake, while pa and I opted for the Wild Rose & Cardamom infused Crème Brûlée.
The creme brulee was awesome and is also my weakness. I love being able to break that hard sugar outside and going into the sweet puddingy interior. It was sweet, creamy, and the right all around texture. On the side there was a piece of chocolate with sea salt and a white chocolate piece with cranberries. It was devoured immediately. The cheesecake that my mom received was a giant portion but looked light airy and thanksgivingly. Unfortunately as she started to enjoy it she hit a snag. She dug out a fairly sizable piece of eggshell. When our server returned he apologized immediately and told us that the cheesecake was made fresh that day. He told us that he would inform the baker and the rest of staff in case of any mishaps. When we received the bill he had taken the cheesecake off the bill which was incredibly sweet of him to do so. We honestly didn’t create a giant fuss we just thought it best to inform our server discreetly about the mishap.
Overall the dinner at Prairie Bistro was enjoyable. It was made so by good company, great weather, pretty good food, on a lovely patio playing an eclectic mix of folk happy tunes. I would recommend visiting the Prairie Bistro to anyone who is wanting to taste what Alberta can produce.