This location has closed since the writing of this post.
I hope everybody had a lovely Valentine’s Day if you celebrated! Mine turned out pretty well after all things considered, with a late dinner at 124 Street’s Cafe de Ville. It has always been one of my favourites to dine at and Joe managed to grab a reservation albeit it was on my second choice list. We (by we, I really mean I) had plans on going to either North 53, Rge Rd, or Corso 32 but they were solidly booked before we could even blink. We did manage to grab a spot at North 53 but decided a set Valentine’s Day dinner was not for us. I would much rather visit on a regular day where I can order a la carte! And so we settled in for a cozy night at Cafe de Ville. Our reservation was for 9:30pm, which for some, is an unthinkable time to start a dinner. Too true, so that’s why Joe and I actually had our first dinner at his parent’s house as a “snack”. Homemade Vietnamese food cannot, in any way, just be a “snack” so by the time we arrived at Cafe de Ville, my stomach was already half full!
Since our table was still being prepared, we started with drinks at the bar. Our standard fare: a beer for Joe, a Caesar for me. I didn’t watch our bartender prepare my Caesar, but boy was it spicy! A little heavy on the tabasco, to which even Joe agreed, and he has a higher tolerance for heat than I do! I still deem Kelly’s Pub on 104 St as being one of the top Caesar’s I’ve ever had.
Once seated, we decided to hit the menu with a timid approach, not wanting to over order after our stint earlier that night. As a complimentary start, Cafe de Ville have always served a savoury croissant. Best. Thing. Ever. I keep telling my parents to come here for dinner because nothing makes them happier than a good croissant. Served up warm, I could probably just keep eating this and still be satisfied with my meal.
We ordered the baked brie to share, wrapped in puff pastry, accompanied by a strawberry coulis. I swore that I would never use this term, but I’m going to have to make an exception just this one time. This dish was divine. I can hear the giggles and smirks from foodie haters, but you won’t be laughing once you try this dish. Absolutely the best thing I had all night. The brie was nice and gooey, similar to a mozzarella and the puff pastry replaced my desire for crostinis instantaneously. With the strawberry coulis to mimic what would normally be jam condiments, this dish was yummy all around. Even Joe agreed that the dish was better than what was my favourite at Tzin’s, and this coming from a guy who thinks everything is “okay”.
Joe was feeling pasta for the night and the Pescatore caught his eye. Given an option of penne or fettucine, he ordered the fettucine for direct comparison to our visit to Cafe Amore. A mishmash of seafood, including scallops, prawns, and mussels, all mixed in with a tomato zinfandel sauce, leeks, herbs, and capers. The couple of bites that I did have did not wow me per se, nor did it for Joe. He preferred Cafe Amore’s.
I ordered a second appetizer as my main entree: the Salt Spring Island mussels, mixed in with garlic, herb, leeks, tomatoes in a chardonnary cream and served with a basket of French bread. A chef once told me to never order mussels unless in the months of “-ber”, September, October, November, and December. Perhaps I should have listened. Not sure if it’s just the mussels from that area, or if they were older mussels, but I much prefer the taste of smaller mussels. Firmer, sweeter? The broth was well done though and I had plenty of bread to dip. I could barely finish my plate though and in hindsight, should have ordered the “petit” version of it. Joe wouldn’t even help me finish as he was all “mussel-ed out” from his dish.
As I wasn’t completely satisfied with the mussels, I wanted to order dessert. An in-house pastry chef makes ordering dessert a must. I had already eyed the dessert board when we were at the bar at the beginning of the night. They all looked exquisite! A different server brought the board to us. What bothered me the most was that she didn’t go through it as I had seen her do with the adjacent table. Just because I didn’t finish my main entree doesn’t mean I’m not interested in the desserts. As she stood there in silence, I had to ask her what a couple of the desserts were before she said anything. We ordered the creme brûlée to share, lavender flavored for the night. I was expecting another baked brie moment where as soon as I cracked the caramelized surface, happiness would overflow and redeem the night. Yea… that did not happen. Whoever brûléed the dish, really brûléed it. Literal translation is “burnt”, I get that, but this was well beyond the culinary terminology and was actually burnt. My spoon couldn’t get through it! Past the hardened barrier, which we scraped to the side to avoid the dreaded “stuck on your teeth” sensation, laid a lovely lavender cream, which by itself was delicious. Smooth, and perfectly creamy texture, and not overly sweetened. If only it was caramelized properly! As Joe said, “Less brûlée, more creme!” Despite our main course (perhaps our own fault) and the overly brûléed dessert, our night went without a hitch. Our main server was fantastic and attentive and food service was quick. I would come back for the croissants and baked brie, hands down and the last time I was there for brunch on Sunday or a regular lunch, everything was superb. See gallery below for more photos from past visits. Cafe de Ville still remains as one of my favorite places to dine in Edmonton and I was glad I spent Valentine’s Day 2014 there. Here’s to more romantic meals in the future, and more brie!
10137 124 Street