Wildflower Grill – Downtown Edmonton

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We were most excited to try Wildflower Grill because we had heard some amazing things about this restaurant. Our first impressions were good ones. The decor was inviting and warm. However, for a grill, it was a bit more formal than expected, but we were quite ok with that. With a higher price point and more of a formal environment, we were treated with service that passed our expectations. After ordering, we were given Amuse-Bouche to start, which consisted of grilled salmon, feta cheese, and roasted peppers. All I could really taste was the feta cheese and a heavy dose of cumin spice. We did not really enjoy it.

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Amuse-Bouche – Salmon, feta, roasted peppers

But, then came the fresh baked Brioche with a side of sea-salted butter. They could have done without the measuring cup, but we very quickly let that go because the brioche was amazing. It was fresh, hot, moist, fluffy, buttery, and just melt in your mouth – basically all of that good stuff that just makes brioche amazing. Hands down the best brioche we’ve ever had.

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Fresh Baked Brioche

We ordered 3 appetizers and 1 main to share, mostly because we were more interested in trying different dishes, but also because the mains did not really appeal to us as much as the appetizers. Our first appetizer was their famous braised beef short ribs. The two very large pieces of braised short rib were melt in your mouth good. They had a very strong beef flavour. You can tell they use very good quality Alberta beef. The reduction and celeriac puree together with the beef gives the beef a sweetness that brings out even more of that beefy goodness. A very delicious appetizer.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs – celeriac puree, port demi glace & white balsamic reduction

Our next dish was the Cioppino. After visiting San Francisco and having the Cioppino at Taddich Grill, I was craving for another one just as good. Surprisingly this one delivered, but in a different way. As opposed to Taddich Grill, which stuffed their Cioppino with loads of seafood, this one used a very conservative amount of seafood – only a few small pieces of salmon, 2 shrimp, and a few mussels. The flavour of the broth however, was absolutely amazing. The broth was a very rich tomato based broth that tasted like it took hours to prepare. Flavours like fennel, tomato, fish and italian spices realy made the broth very tasty. The seafood was very fresh, but again, lacked in quantity. But really, the star of this dish was that wholesome broth.

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Cioppino – salmon, prawn, clam, mussel, charred tomato sauce, fennel

Last to arrive was the mushroom ravioli. The dish comprised of ravioli stuffed with a puree of three mushrooms, on a bed of asparagus, topped with a creamy peppercorn truffle oil sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. On our first bite, the fragrant and rich truffle oil kicks in with the flavourful peppercorn sauce. The ravioli are loaded with mushroom but unfortunately, the mushroom flavour just wasn’t as prominent as we had expected. The sauce itself is very good, but that is all that you really taste. For a mushroom ravioli, we expected more of a mushroom taste. The dish was good, but could definitely be improved.

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Three Mushroom Ravioli – truffle, smoked applewood cheddar fonduta, asparagus, piave vecchio

Now onto our main course: The Bison Tenderloin. The bison was very tender and moist. The outside crust was not that noticeable so you don’t get that crunch with the softness that you get with a really well grilled steak. However, the bison was very tasty. The blackberry sage reduction and the butternut squash puree complemented the bison very nicely as the reduction was fruity ¬†and the puree was salty, making the dish sweet and savory. It was another very well prepared dish by Wildflower Grill.

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Peppercorn Herb Crusted Bison Tenderloin – fig & chanterelle bread pudding, butternut squash puree, blackberry sage reduction

Wildflower Grill is more than just a grill. They are a very refined and unique restaurant in Edmonton that puts out creative, top-quality, delicious dishes that really impressed us. Everything was intricate and detailed in their preparation and presentation. Their quality really justifies their high prices. It was a real treat dining here tonight.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 9.4/10
Atmosphere: Grill, Formal
Price: $40-60 per person

Wildflower Grill at the Matrix Hotel on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

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(San Fran Trip) Tadich Grill – Financial District

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After a long wait, we finally sat down, but only at the bar since the dining room would be an even longer wait. They do not take reservations and even though it was already 9pm, there were many people waiting for a seat. We had planned for this since many reviewers had mentioned Tadich’s popularity. Their setup is very peculiar but efficient. The long isle on the server side of the bar leads right to the kitchen so there is no need to criss cross between tables and makes it very easy for the servers to get your food and serve it to you. Everyone was extremely friendly and willing to have conversations with you if you are a traveler or just a regular customer. No body rushed us even though there were lots of customers waiting to be seated. The service was excellent.

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With San Francisco being famous for their clam chowders, we decide to order another one after having Boudin’s clam chowder, which was already decent. We were surprised by how much Tadich Grill spoiled us. This was one of the best clam chowders I have ever devoured. It was thicker and creamier than Boudin, which almost strays from soup territory. But, that consistency worked perfectly for the fully loaded soup. There is a generous amount of “stuff” they pack into this chowder and best of all, there is A LOT of clams. This chowder is so jam packed that the ingredients are sticking out of the top of the soup. It was rich, filling, and scrumptious.

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For our mains, I had the Seafood Cioppino and Karen had the Swordfish with Lobster claws. Cioppino is a fish stew that originates in San Francisco. In this dish, there was dungeness crab, clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, squid and fish. As with the clam chowder, this dish was fully loaded.

Presentation on this dish was lacking. Although it was a stew, they did not take the time to arrange the seafood nicely. Their bowl they used to serve the food was very plain and had their logo on it in green letters. Not the best looking stew I’ve ever had, but the taste made up plenty for it.

The tomato based fish broth had a rich seafood flavour with herbs and mild spice. It really brings out the sweetness and the freshness of the seafood. The broth was very flavourful and rich, but was a bit on the watery side. I like my stews thicker and it was just not the thickness I expected from a stew. Overall, this dish was amazing. The seafood was cooked to perfection and there was a generous portion. The broth was so tasty that I found myself spooning it even after all the seafood was done. Even the garlic bread was very good.

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Again, presentation can be improved, but Tadich Grill is a homely, casual restaurant. They specialize in their food and not so much concerned about its looks. We will let this one go.

Swordfish is very difficult to prepare. The timing with cooking swordfish must be perfect, otherwise you end up with extremely tough and chewy fish that is almost inedible. In addition, you have to be careful not to overly season swordfish as it can mask its mild taste. This swordfish was done and seasoned to perfection. There was not too much salt and pepper but enough to bring out the flavours of the fish. The fish was moist, tender, and just really good quality. Every bite made me want more. Imagine how happy I was when Karen said she couldn’t finish it. The lobster was not necessary because it did not go well with the fish together. However, it was nice to snack on the lobster claws on the side as we ate the delicious swordfish.

We were way too full for dessert. So we decided to call it a night and head back to our hotel in Union Square West. As we walked, we talked about how much we enjoyed the meal at Tadich. The presentation was not there, but every dish tasted beyond our expectations and more. The seafood was well portioned, fresh, flavourful, and done to perfection. The servers are friendly and welcoming. When we come back to San Francisco, we will make sure to slot in a trip to Tadich Grill.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 9.3/10
Atmosphere: Casual, Comfy, Grill
Price: $30-40

Tadich Grill on Urbanspoon

~ Thomas