With plenty of reasons to celebrate in life, it’s always nice to go out with your friends when one of those important moments pass. With a reason to celebrate last week, Sarah and I took The Captain and BP out for a nice dinner. With so many choices out there, and the decisions almost always in my hands, I was told there was but one caveat; it’s gotta be steak!
Going for a steak shouldn’t be a problem right? I mean, have a look around Edmonton and you’ll find plenty of steaks; we are in one big meat eating province after all. The problem with the above situation stems from personal experience, which has lead me to believe most steaks will be sub-par. Blame it on poor meat, incorrect heat, a lack of resting or something else, but the list really does go on and on. Which is probably the reason I rarely venture from my own BBQ anymore.
However, a request is a request, so I went to work narrowing down my choices; finally deciding to go with Lux Steakhouse + Bar. Located right in the middle of Edmonton’s downtown, the restaurant is distinctively split between the lounge and restaurant. The lounge is intimate, almost dark and is suited for after dinner cocktails. On this occasion at least, it seemed the men easily out-aged the women, by 15-20 years. Sugar daddy anyone?
The restaurant was empty when we arrived, which gave The Captain and BP their first chance to meet Chef Cowan. Sarah and I had met the team from Lux, including Executive Chef Tony Le and Matt Phillips, at the recent Indulgence ’10 smorgasbord. Wondering about a special meal earlier in the week, something off-the-menu maybe, I was excited when Chef Cowan agreed and went to work concocting a plan of attack. Not knowing what to expect until only a few hours before, made for one exciting week.
We started with two containers of bacon truffle popcorn. Arriving in small deep-fry containers, and topped with a slice of bacon, it was great play on savory popcorn. The earthiness of the truffle oil mingled with the open canvas that is popcorn, while the bacon provided a good fatty contrast. The one downside, was the seasoning, which didn’t seem consistent and left some bites overly salty.
Bread was soon brought to the table, providing us with yet another warmer starter. The bread was good, with an egg/butter flavour (probably from the wash), and it reminded me of a pretzel bread. We didn’t finish the loaf however, as we quickly realized we were just filling up on carbs before our main course even began.
With The Captain and I going off-menu, Sarah and BP were left to decide. Strange as it sounds, they both blurted out halibut when I asked about their choices. The ‘market-priced’ dish comes advertised as; Pan seared, rich broth, bacon braised cabbage, baby Yukon Gold potatoes. What arrived surprised both, as neither expected the dish to be sitting in broth. From a quick peak, and small taste, I can tell you the halibut was cooked perfectly. Arriving to the table, with a medium center, the fish, along with the cabbage and potatoes, went over well.
With the 30 minute wait over, something that was brought to our attention when we arrived, Chef Cowan delivered our meal. I knew it must look good, because a small ‘Oh my’ came quietly out of The Captain’s mouth when the plates came around the corner. 22oz Bacon Poached Bone-In Rib Eye. Combine that with two sides, Truffled Lobster Mac n’ Cheese and Truffled Bacon Cream Corn, and we had one giant meal to conquer.
Not for the faint of heart, this perfectly cooked (and I stress perfectly) steak was soft, tender and full of so much meat flavour that I don’t know any other way to describe it. While intimidating in size, the meat offer the perfect resistance, making you feel at ease when conquering the size. To put it another way, the meat was so tender that if they served this at steak eating contests, world records would be shattered as contestants would just keep eating.
The decadent truffled lobster mac n’ cheese was exactly that. So rich and so creamy, that it almost went unnoticed that the pasta itself was cooked pasta al dente. It didn’t hurt that the lobster pieces were surprisingly large; I know I didn’t have mac n’ cheese like this when I grew up. The truffled bacon cream corn was exactly as advertised, with a heavy cream and bacon flavour, which I think might have something to do with the package of bacon that was tucked inside. In this case, bacon did make it better.
It would seem, if you can’t tell from the descriptions, the crew at Lux love their bacon and truffles (be it oil etc..) so I was almost surprised not to be offered bacon ice cream. Keeping it meat free thought, we decided on an order of Pecan Pie Fritters; Cinnamon ice cream, pear & cranberry compote and Crème Brulée; Classic brulée, fig biscotti. The fritters were ingenious, as the sugar coated donut-like exterior hid a warm gooey pecan pie mix. The brulée was done to perfection, yielding a perfect knock when I tapped it with the back of my spoon and cracking into delish shards of sugar. This gave me access to a mildly sweet, thick pudding (maybe too think), and the bowl was accompanied by a fig biscotti that did nothing for anyone, and made us question it’s place.
With all but the two rib eye dishes regular menu items, I’d be more than happy making Lux Steakhouse + Bar my go to special restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to make it a regular adventure, but the prices here will always keep me from that. I’m just glad that we have somewhere to go in the city, where the food quality matches the premium prices. Our gorgeous rib eyes were leaps beyond anything I’ve had in here in Edmonton, and quite possibly the best piece of meat I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. I’d go back again and again for this dish, but I won’t. No, next time I’m back, I’ll once again call Chef Cowan, and see what special he is willing to try, or what other tricks he has up his sleeve because at this rate, it’s bound to be amazing.