I’ve been spending more time lately in downtown Edmonton and a few weeks ago noticed that parking meters near the Ric’s Grill on 104 St and 102 Ave were almost always available. Seemed like the restaurant was closed for renovations? It wasn’t until I was on vacation in Vancouver with some friends when one of them mentioned the old Ric’s Grill steakhouse was re-opening as 104 St Grill… and there was a $30 gift certificate promotion if you signed up for their mailing list. Free $30? I was on it in a heartbeat. I’ve been to Ric’s Grill a few times and was curious to see what the name change would entail. I soon got my gift certificate in the mail and promptly made a reservation at 7 with Joe.
Starting September 6th, 104 St Grill introduced their new menu and new concept to the Edmonton public. Walking into the restaurant, we were quickly asked if we had been to the restaurant before. The hostess informed us that although it was still a part of the Ric’s Grill chain restaurants, David Bowie, the general manager and executive chef, was given free reign on the menu. The decor was almost the same as before from what I could remember but the booths were sparse for a Friday night. I could only attribute this to being the first week of opening and only wondered if all the steak-lovers were finding a new place to eat.
Seated further back in the booths, we did see some tables and delicious looking plates. Our server was prompt and introduced us to the new menu which consisted of smaller dishes meant to share and European-sized entrees. Categorized in one, two, or three bites, this made the size of the dishes easy to gauge. Both of us having just finished work, we were starving and decided we could probably polish off 7 bites between the two of us. It wasn’t until after we ordered that we forgot to factor in dessert… but let the food photos begin!
First course, smoked salmon canape with caramelized onions, goat cheese, fried capers, and dill. Perfectly sized dish and the caramelized onions was a nice touch of sweetness. This was my favorite dish of the night.
Pan-seared scallops with candied bacon vinaigrette, spinach and onion came out second. I thought it was odd that the scallops were cut already but perhaps that was to make them easier to eat. Scallops were very well cooked but the spinach mixture on the bottom felt really oily.
The charcuterie board came out next and looked decent. It consisted of sun-dried tomato focaccia, provolone cheese, Westphalian ham (German), capicola (Italian), venison salami, proscuitto, and pickled carrots. This being my first charcuterie board, I couldn’t really compare. I did wish there was another type of cheese and more slices of the focaccia, but overall, it was delicious!
The risotto with wild boar bacon, pear, and arugula came simultaneously. My preference for risotto is a bit softer than most, I believe. I found this a bit undercooked but that’s just a personal taste. I hardly tasted any pear and didn’t even realize there was pear until I took another look at the menu description. The arugula was dressed nicely to cut it’s usually bitter taste.
Joe’s course finally made it to the table. Venison tenderloin with juniper balsamic jus, fingerling potatoes, and layered vegetables. Presentation was beautiful and I let Joe take the photo, seeing as it was his dish. I thought the venison was very nicely done, a menu-set medium rare. Joe seemed to enjoy the sides more so than the tenderloin but it might be because he doesn’t eat a lot of vegetables.
What with 7 bites finished, I figured I could use a couple more bites. For dessert, Joe chose the fruit sorbet and I chose the cookies and cream. I would assume that the desserts change quite frequently as it wasn’t specified on the menu what flavor of sorbet or type of cookie was included. It ended up being a fairly big portion of mango sorbet with fresh raspberries. The raspberries looked a bit tired and one of them had what I thought was a bit of mold, but the sorbet was very refreshing and a good way to cut my cookies and cream plate. Tonight’s cookie was ginger snaps, baked fresh that morning. I’m not normally a fan of ginger snaps but this one was crisp, and very strong in ginger. The cream was a white chocolate cream which made the dessert very heavy. It was nice to have the sorbet in between bites because I don’t think I would have been able to finish it on it’s own.
Completely finished and utterly exhausted from all the good food, we received the bill. The prices of the dishes I thought were fair and would be expected from a steakhouse turned… what is it? Downtown grill? Whatever the category, I would certainly come back. As we left, I noticed the restaurant had gotten slightly busier and multiple tables had the one- or two-bite dishes. I had an excellent meal and wish David Bowie and his team great success in the future.104 St Grill www.104stgrill.com 10190 – 104 St (780) 429-3333
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