Canteen – 124th St, Edmonton

L1070195

Canteen, Edmonton

The Canteen is consistently one of Edmonton’s best modern brunch place. Associated with the iconic Red Ox Inn, you can tell where it gets its roots.

Overview

The Canteen is a small  modern style restaurant in the middle of 124th street in Edmonton with a small concise menu open for brunch or dinner. From my experience brunch is a mix of sweet and savory satisfying options done to a consistently well executed level. I’d suggest getting the Huevos Canteenos if you want something more fresh and spicy in the morning or Chicken and Waffles for something heavier and more satisfying with sweet and savory aspects. Both options are really well done and would go well with a mimosa.

Dinner is more of an international affair with modern takes on using Asian, South American and Mediterranean components. Fries with Pecorino and lemon aioli, Korean glazed crispy cauliflower are definitely my appetizers of choice. There is something about Korean flavors with perfectly executed cauliflower florets that pairs so well. I’m not going to say ignore the large plates but the medium/sharing plates are were the Canteen shine, there are lots of creative and tasty options; mini éclair Bahn mi, pork shoulder tacos, Ancho grilled shrimp and the salad’s are good options too.

The menu changes over time but the consistency of every component being well done and combining into one amazing and creative dish stays consistent. Sometimes there are misses but the majority of the time it is amazing food, with good service. The Canteen is definitely one of my favorite Edmonton restaurants.


In Depth Review – May 2015

I’ve been here for brunch on a Sunday afternoon, hard to get a tables but I wasn’t too impressed with my food. The hand crafted espresso drinks here though are well crafted and feel premium. I had the pork belly with a fried egg and a few other things. the dish was pretty good, that being said I could probably have it every Sunday and be perfectly satisfied but it didn’t really set itself apart from any other restaurants.

For lunch this time, started with the seared tuna salad, the tuna was “seared” ? with a variety of heirloom cherry tomatoes and lettuce but the star was the smoky vinaigrette, It was really struck a good balance with the fresh vegetables meaty tuna, I’m not sure how they made it but it didn’t taste like the liquid smoke or smoked paprika, my best judgement would be that its some sort of hickory balsamic. As a whole salad was great, tuna was good could have been a lot better to push it over the top.

For the entrée, I went with the special, chicken wrapped in speck (can’t go wrong) with corn bread, Mexican style slaw and seasoned charred romaine. What makes this dish spectacular is each element on the plate is completely delicious on its own but combined it elevates the dish. The level here sets a high bar, the only criticism I can give is I’ve had better corn Bread but they deep fried it giving it so much texture to the dish and it soaks up all the other flavors. The romaine was probably my favorite thing on the plate, seasoned so well and with care, having consistent bites of flavor in something so naturally rigid. The chicken was cooked perfectly and crispy speck is always great. The slaw is so packed in flavor, nothing tame about it, a bit spicy with pockets of sweetness from the corn. There was some sort of green mayo/aioli dabbed on the sides, but I couldn’t pick up much of the flavor from it, but it adds coolness to the slaw if required. From the first bite, I could tell that after the high of Japan and arriving back home, this was clearly the dish that could bring me back from dysthymia.

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Dessert is always good. Todays dessert was chocolate ganache with crushed sponge toffee, popcorn and a miso caramel. Miso caramel is intriguing, the sweetness and caramel-led sweetness with a hint of salt and funk from the miso, it works. The ganache was light, though I’d prefer it on more of the darker side, everything was enjoyable. I assumed the caramel would just have a hint of miso, but I’d say it was 50/50 with the sugar. It was sour, salty, miso-y and sweet, really unusual but balanced and enhanced the caramel flavours. Oh, also had the espresso here, it’s really strong, and a little on the fruity/acidic side for me I had to add the spoon of sugar.

Overall a good meal, in a good central location to talk and catch up. I forgot to talk about the small variety of soda/drinks they have here but its a unique selection of items. Book a table if you’re planning on going, it looks empty for lunch but then all the downtown workers are out it gets packed. Food is generally consistent and playfully delicious but there are some one offs where one component might be underwhelming.

Canteen,

124th St, Edmonton
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