Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mediocre Madison's Grill

Madison's Grill is one of those places people in #yeg automatically list off when someone asks for a nice place to take someone on a special occasion, out of town guests, or if they are looking to impress someone. It had been a few years since my humans last dined here, back in the days my humans were still dating and trying to impress each other, and long before they started taking me places. So I had never been here and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Prosciutto wrapped salmon
We started with the prosciutto wrapped Atlantic salmon with foie gras butter, gooseberry and shallot chutney, petite greens and citrus vinaigrette. Although the description of the appetizer is quite a mouthful, in actuality it was overly complex for no particular reason. The prosciutto they used had no discernible flavor and didn't add anything to the salmon, which was dry and overcooked. The foie gras butter was undetectable and unnecessary, and I would have been happy with nothing but the salmon had it been cooked properly.

Spring Creek Ranch Feeb with Foie Gras
For the mains, the female human had a grill 7oz Spring Creek Ranch natural feeb tenderloin in a madeira demi glace, with foie gras torchon, black truffle pomme puree and market vegetables. She said that the feeb was perfectly cooked, soft and tender. Having met Kirstin of Spring Creek Ranch, it was good to know that their product had been handled properly. However, I found no hint of black truffle in the pomme puree and the foie gras was far from the melt in your mouth buttery texture I'd experienced in other restaurants in #yeg as well as in France, and left an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.

"Hog Wild" Boar Loin
The male human ordered the "Hog Wild" boar loin with squash puree, apple tarragon chutney, bacon and cumin croquette with market vegetables. Unfortunately, this main was as successful as everything that had come before it, meaning it was only partially so. One piece of the boar loin was overcooked, dry, and not very flavorful. Thankfully the other piece was moist and flavorful, and the accompanying apple chutney gave a tasty, light and bright acidity to the dish.

We hoped that dessert would end our meal right but the upside down blueberry cake with chocolate ganache and lavender whip cream was again half successful. Although the cake itself was wonderfully warm, light and fluffy, melting in your mouth, crowned with juicy blueberries. The lavender in the whip cream was overwhelming, completing overtaking and invading your taste buds, so you couldn't anything else.

Lemon Curd Tart
The lemon curd tart with Saskatoon berry coulis and candied lemon zest was good upon first bite, but it suffered the same problem that many lemon curd tarts do. The more you ate, the more the lemon overwhelmed your taste buds. As the lemon taste built up, it eventually annihilated my taste buds, making it impossible to continue eating. The thickness of the curd likely compounded the issue was it was extremely thick and coated my mouth and tongue. Now, I know lemon curd is suppose to thicken, like a cream, but it was so thick that when I picked some of it up with a fork, flipped it upside down and and flicked my fork around, it could have passed the DQ Upside Down Blizzard Challenge! My favorite part of any tart, the pie shell, was unfortunately doughy and chewy instead of being light and flaky.

Upside Down Blueberry Cake
Overall, the meal was neither a successful nor a failure. But for for such a hefty price tag, I was hoping for something better than mediocre, considering it's thought of by many as a place for an impressive meal and experience. However we were not impressed by either the food or service, having received dubious glances on our arrival and curt service by our server the entire night. Other restaurants in #yeg at this price range such as Ruth's Chris Steak House have significantly better service and food. Even those at a lower price point have better and more consistently cooked food. With the number of restaurants opening in downtown #yeg I believe Madison's Grill will have to stop riding on their reputation and go back to the basics in order to compete. In my opinion, the use of the foie gras and black truffles were unnecessary with the Spring Creek Ranch feeb, particularly since they didn't add anything to the dish. Instead they should focus on using quality ingredients, handling them properly, and cooking good food.

Although nothing was horrible, nothing was spectacular. At the price point, had the service been better, perhaps we would give it another try. However, considering we felt like we didn't belong the whole evening and we received much warmer service at many restaurants elsewhere, it's unlikely I would return on my own dime.

Update January 3, 2012 - I've been contacted by the sales manager of Union Bank Inn and offered an apology for the poor experience. Both Executive Chef, Robert Simpson, and Dining Room Manager, Kevin Rutowski were given my feedback. They've also offered some gift cards, which I have accepted but am not sure if and when I'll use yet.

Madison's Grill
10053 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB  T5J 1S5
Twitter: UnionBankInn

Madison's Grill on Urbanspoon


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