Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rebranding Pains at Select

Pan fried gnocchi fondue
We bought a Groupon for the newly rebranded and reworked Select, formerly known as Café Select. Now owned by the same group that owns Packrat Louie, another long standing institution in Edmonton, we were eager to see the changes they had made to Select, which the humans had not been to in years. The former Café Select was well known for their fondue and Coquille St. Jacques.
Fondue was THAT good

The manager, Dave, informed us that their current chef was fairly new and had only been with them for about a week. They also let us know that their current menu was an interim menu, and although they had made quite a few changes to the former restaurants menu, their final menu was still under development. 

Wild mushroom
We started with their wild mushroom appetizer, consisting of seasonal mushrooms, chickpea polenta, cream, and parmigiana. Although I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, this dish was very tasty, slightly earthy, with a very smooth and creamy polenta. They had opted to keep fondue around at Select  but try to transform it to something more modern and current than the traditional cheese fondue with bread for dipping. In this case, their fontina cheese and white wine fondue came paired with pan fried gnocchi, asparagus, and prosciutto wrapped apple. Unlike the Gruyere or emmental cheese fondues I’m used to, the fontina cheese had a distinctly strong taste, which came through, with just a hint of white wine flavor. When eaten with the asparagus, the fondue balances out the slight bitterness that asparagus can often have. The prosciutto wrapped apple when paired with the fondue started with a sharp cheese flavor, quickly replaced with the sweet apple taste, and had a salty finish. The highlight was the pan fried gnocchi, which was soft and light, and paired with the fondue was addictively good. I wound up finishing off all of the fondue even after I ran out of things to dip in it.

Having polished off two very moolicious appetizers, I was excited to try their entrees. We ordered their porchetta, which were slow roasted pork shoulder, red cabbage and mashed potato. As well as their lamb loin with butternut squash, roast shallot, caramelized shredded pork belly and bourbon demi. Unfortunately the entrees were no where near as good as the appetizers. The porchetta was fatty, yet the meat was dry. The seasoning on the porchetta did not seem to go well with it, we werent’ quite sure if it was cardamom or star anise, but it overwhelmed the meat. 

The lamb loin was cooked medium rare, yet tasted muddled and more like liver than lamb. The butternut squash were huge chunks that sat below an oversized portion of mashed potato, which might have tasted better if the potato and butternut squash were incorporated together instead of two distinct elements on the dish. The crispy fatty pork belly added little to the dish.

We hoped that dessert would be better and opted to share their cheesecake in a jar with strawberry preserves. Unfortunately it was nothing like we were expecting or hoping. Unlike the feather light cheesecake from The Pig’s Ear, this one was overly sweet and dense. When we put a spoon into it, it was difficult to get the spoon into the body of the cream cheese, and the spoonful came out with a sound reminiscent of two wet bodies slapping against one another.

Overall, we were disappointed that the entrees and dessert were no where near as good as their appetizers. Knowing that their chef had only been with them for a week, and that this is just an interim menu, I’d likely go back, but not until I knew that both their menu was fine tuned and their chef had found their groove. I would say give Select some time to get through their growing pains before you give it a whirl. However, if you opt to go now, make sure you get the fondue, you won't regret it.

10018 106 St NW
Edmonton, AB  T5J 1G1

Select on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note that all comments are moderated prior to posting.

Comments that are offensive and abusive in nature, contain profanity, or demean others will not be posted. You must provide a name in order to post a comment, anonymous comments will not be posted.

Comments that are controversial in nature or generate debate and dialog are welcome.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...