This location has closed since the writing of this post.
It’s a little devastating when Downtown Dining Week (DTDW) is going on and I don’t work in downtown. Such great food and if done well, at a good price! Especially when lunch is only $15! I had only one weekday off for Edmonton’s annual downtown food frenzy, so I quickly called up Kelvin for a long overdue lunch date. Narrowed down for me, I was given the choice between Normand, Fion MacCool, or Tavern 1903. Since it’s racked up so many good reviews, from Avenue Edmonton’s Best Restaurants 2014 to food bloggers and regular food go-ers, I sort of have to try Tavern 1903. Seeing that every year I’ve been going to Hardware Grill for DTDW, this was a good choice, as Chef Stewart has jumped on over! I’ve been denied at least three attempts now for their dinner, either booking too late or Edmonton’s sudden weather changes. And what do you know, it snowed yesterday. I will no longer let snow stop me from trying Tavern 1903!
The $15 two-course menu was simple, offering Soup of the Day or a small mixed salad to start. Kelvin got the soup, a good choice for a cold and windy day. Although I did not have a taste, he said it wasn’t as creamy as he expected. I’d take that as a good thing as I’d rather have more stock flavor and in this case, mushrooms, than the taste of cream!
I ordered the small mixed greens, (overly) dressed in a pomegranate vinaigrette. I actually don’t mind an overly dressed salad, better than underdressed! The vinaigrette was nice and light and the slices of watermelon radishes added a nice crunch to things. A simple salad otherwise.
The main lunch portion offered three choices: a Mac N Cheese, Alberta Pork Shoulder and Pork Belly, or a Short Rib Grilled Sandwich. Kelvin opted for the pork, which ended up being the better choice of the two. How can you go wrong with pork belly? The pork shoulder was well done, falling apart with the fork. The highlight of the dish for me was actually the side of smoky white bean ragout! Yummy!
The day prior to the lunch, I had dinner and didn’t follow my rule of “do not duplicate orders with your date”. Why not try a different dish, steal a bite or two of the other, and then you can try two dishes?! Alas, the dinner prior I broke the rule and got the same dish as Joe which wasn’t all too fantastic. Should have ordered another dish… so for lunch with Kelvin, I had to reinstate the rule. I usually see what other people are getting first before ordering, which left me with the tough decision of Mac N Cheese, or the Short Rib. Ahhh, Mac N Cheese, you win every time. And bonus, there was smoked hamhock as a protein. Hurray! Mixed in with green peas and a cheese sauce, pasta shells substituted for your traditional macaroni, which scooped up the cheese sauce a bit better. A great dish! And enough for a second lunch…
For $15, I really don’t know how you can go wrong! The meal was great, service was superb, and the atmosphere was fabulous. Tavern 1903 was at maximum capacity, which shows that Edmonton is always ready to handle a little bit of snow and wind. Our main dishes were served almost simultaneously as our starters, but our server quickly apologized and said that this was not their usual style of service. Downtown Dining Week gets hectic! Kitchens are going crazy and everything is go go go! I didn’t mind. You can’t find these dishes on their regular lunch menu, although similar items (Pork Shoulder Confit Style and Truffled Mac N Cheese) can be ordered. Have you tried anywhere for Downtown Dining Week 2014 #yeg? Let me know what I’ve missed in the comment section below!
Tavern 1903 at the Alberta Hotel
9802 Jasper Ave