Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wandering Further Afield to Century Grill

Executive Chef Hans Pinto and I meet at last
We ventured outside of our core area in downtown Edmonton (#yeg) to Century Grill located on the south side. The male human was turning 32 and wanted to try it out as he had never been. Chef Hans Pinto, Executive Chef of Century Grill, graciously offered to make something special for the occasion and was given the very difficult request of creating a chocolate souffle, a challenge which he enthusiastically accepted.

Chocolate souffle is a notriously tempermental dish to make and despite our research, there appeared to be only one restaurant in Edmonton that even had this item listed on their dessert menu. Other Edmonton restaurants utilized the word souffle incorrectly, likely to add pizzaz dessert titles, and used the world to refer to denser, more cake like items such as chocolate lava cakes.

Baked Potato Spring Rolls
Once seated at the restaurant, we got to meet the young and excited Chef Hans Pinto, who told us he had been practicing making chocolate souffles all week and even earlier that day (lucky staff who got to eat the results of his experiments!). He started us off with a bread basket which contained a variety of soft, warm breads. The smell wafted upwards as he placed it on the table and the accompanying butters (herbed and salmon), as well as fruity olive oil and balsamic vinegar combination made it impossible to resist. My entourage and I had to stop ourselves from filling up.

Hilariously large steak knife, tempting to use on the humans
We began with the baked potato spring rolls for our appetizer, consisting of a crispy shell on the outside, surrounding a creamy potato filling, and adorned with aged cheddar, boar bacon, chives and truffled sour cream. Although they were good, the potatoes could have benefited from a tad more seasoning and a touch more truffled sour cream. Had it been formed into a smaller spring roll, it would have the perfect ratio of crispy spring roll with every bite of creamy potato.

Rack of lamb
The rack of lamb with roasted new potatoes, grape tomato and fresh herb jus was a larger portion than I had expected. Although the smaller portion of the rack was a touch over cooked, the rest was cooked perfectly pink and medium rare. The potatoes were well seasoned and the tomatoes were plump and juicy.

The special that evening was an 8 oz ribeye stuffed with lobster, accompanied with season vegetables. Since it was the male humans birthday, I refrained from using the hilariously large steak knife that was provided to him for his meal, on him. He informed me that the steak was soft, tender, and worked well with the lobster filling. The accompanying mushrooms were moist and bursting with flavor.

After our entrees, a nervous Chef Hans Pinto came by our table to let us know he had put the souffles in the oven and set the timer for 11 minutes, so we should be prepared as he would be dashing out into the dining room with them as soon as they were done (out of the way kiddies!). Unfortunately, the souffle did not work out as the oven was out about 10 degrees and was ultimately punished by having a timer thrown into it (RIP Timer).

Cherry Cola Float and Key Lime Pie
Instead, he made us two desserts on the menu, both items we wouldn't have normally ordered for ourselves, but were delicious none the less. The key lime meringue pie had a thin and crispy crust, giving way to a creamy and citrusy custurd within. The moutainous Italian meringue was soft and light, and helped to temper the custurd. The cherry cola float brought back memories of childhood, as I sipped Coke and a hint of sour cherry syrup through layers of cold creamy ice cream.

The only downside to our dinner, other than the lack of souffle that we had been excitedly anticipating for weeks was the loud and rambunctious dining room that evening. Century Grill has a significantly different clientelle than we were use to at Lux Steakhouse and 100 Bar + Kitchen. Century's dining room that evening was filled with older couples, large groups, and families. Although the loudness might have had something to do with the Edmonton Indy taking place the weekend we went - which would also explain an inordinately large number of Lambourghini's and Escalades parked infront of their restaurant that evening.

Regardless, we would return to try other items on the menu and to finally get that chocolate souffle we know that Chef Hans Pinto can produce!

More photos on Flickr.

Century Grill
3975 Calgary Trail
Edmonton, Alberta  T6J 6S6
Twitter: @ChefHansPinto @CenturyHG

Century Grill on Urbanspoon

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