So this evening, I met up with two friends and we had a nice dinner at Hardware Grill. The atmosphere was comfortable and warm. We were probably the youngest party in the restaurant this evening, and I was probably the youngest person! We ordered a bottle of Riesling from Germany, and all of us agreed it held out quite well all night. But I was probably buzz halfway through the appetizer. I was happy when we could still order from the Early Grazing Menu even though it was one minute passed 6:30pm, and even happier when all three of us all ordered something different which means more pictures to be taken!!
My appetizer: Pepper Crusted Rare Ahi Tuna with Warm Provençale Tomato Tart, Wood Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette and Aged Balsamic.
I really like the ahi tuna, there were some non-crushed peppers on top which added a neat change of texture and a very strong pepper profile. The tuna was yummy and it was a good portion size and fun to share.
Ben's appetizer: Blue Crab Cakes with Chipotle-Lime Aioli & Corn Relish.
When Ben saw they had crab cakes, his appetizer was decided. I usually avoid crab cakes because of a bad experience before, but the ones Ben had ordered was a pleasant surprise. It was warm and smooth and creamy. HMM
Erika's appetizer: Feta-Terranean: Roasted Peppers & Portobello Mushroom with Chèvre Feta, Tomatoes, Rocket Pesto, Balsamic Syrup & Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
I loved how the colors came out on Erika's dish, even though how the dish was plated suggest something else... Anyways, she too enjoyed her dish, roasted vegetables with warm cheese inside.
My main: Truffled Mac ‘n Cheese with Baby Lobster & Shiitakes mushrooms.
I was surprised how big my bowl was, I was afraid I couldn't finish it either. It was very good but also very rich too, mainly because of the strong truffle flavor and the cheese. It was fun finding the baby lobster bites and the shiitake mushrooms which cuts the richness a little bit.
Ben's main: Hand Rolled Butternut Squash-Mascarpone Tortelloni with Truffle Butter Cream Sauce & Fresh Chanterelles.
Ben really like this dish, I would too from the bite I took. The squash was sweet and smooth and works well with the rich sauce.
Erika's main: Bison Carpaccio Chèvre Noir, Truffled-Potato Salad & Cold Pressed Organic Hemp Oil.
From the bite I took from Erika's plate, I must have tried hemp oil before because, I swear I tasted in some asian dish before. The carpaccio was quite thin and along with the crispy fries or chips it added the right amount of salt and texture.
My Dessert: Salted Caramel Crème Brûlée with Cinnamon Doughnuts.
This was some good crème brûlée, the custard was warm, creamy, and rich in caramel flavor and it was under a hard but "crackable" crunchy sugar barrier. I would lick the bowl clean if I didn't have company. hehe. The cinnamon doughnut was also quite good, warm and fresh, it was a "runaway" doughnut.
Ben's Desset: Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Cake with Raspberry Gelato and Pistachio Daquoise.
Another of Ben's favorite, chocolate. Though the cake had a very tough, unbreakable coating, the cake was very rich and soft. I guess that's why Ben had to ask for coffee to accompany his rich cake.
Erika's Dessert: Warm Prairie Gingerbread Cake with Rhubarb-Saskatoon Compote, Mango Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce.
When her dessert came out, we both knew there was no way she will be able to finish her plate. Her cake was really, really warm and was perfect with the warm caramel sauce. But I think her most favorite part and the only reason she got the dessert in the first place was the mango ice cream and it did not disappoint her.
I was really glad and happy to share a meal with friends, it nice to not work, enjoy good food and wine and have some laughs inside a cozy and nice restaurant on a freezing cold Edmonton evening.
9698 Jasper Avenue Northwest
Edmonton, AB T5H 3V5