Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Madison's Grill review

It was my first time at Madison's Grill in downtown Edmonton.  The ambience of the restaurant was probably one of the best ones I've seen in town.  It was modern, yet chic with use of mirrors,  and use of black, grey, and white as colour scheme for the interior.  My other favourite has always been Characters on 105 street for food and atmosphere.  Like other patrons, we decided to order the $85 for a 6 course meal of chef's selections.  It was more of a surprise of what the courses would be, unless you ask.  I didn't know what we were getting until they arrived.  I love surprises even though at times I hate the outcome.
Basil Grande martini
The 2.5 oz, daiquiri-like, Basil Grande martini, which consisted mostly of strawberry puree.  It actually sounded more exciting than it tasted.  The huge pieces of fresh basil hanging off on the side gave a very refreshing aroma.  Yet, I could hardly taste anything else beside strawberry and alcohol. It was strong, though, hit me like a rock.  I was nursing it the whole dinner.

Alberta beef carpaccio
As restaurants usually have their own version of beef carpaccio, I was excited to see how it would be prepared.  The Alberta beef carpaccio was served with micro greens, pickled onions, shaved parmesan and crispy potato chips.  I really liked the contrast in textures from all of the ingredients being combined together.  My favourite places for beef carpaccio are still reigning at the Twisted Fork Bistro (venison) and the Cactus Club for overall taste, serving size, and presentation.
Saskatoon berry and duck consome
I found the consommé to have a lot of depth.  From its colour and to the intense flavour, the broth must have taken a very long time to prepare.  The flavour of the consommé is similar to the french onion soup in which the broth is prepared the same way.  But the strong taste of the duck and tartness of the Saskatoon berry in the stock is most parallel to the chinese herbal soup which is cooked in almost similar fashion and with more herbs.  The roasted garlic on crostini I found have somewhat neutralized the bitterness of the consommé.
Second course: pan seared duck breast, and gnocchi
The duck breast was served with Yukon potato gnocchi, fennel, and foie gras sauce.  I wish there was more sauce as it was quite flavourful and went really well with the gnocchi.  The duck was tender and juicy.  It was filling though, I was almost full by that time.
Forth course: Halibut with double smoked bacon risotto
This was my least favourite dish.  While the halibut was cooked well, despite hearing other tables complaining  about it being over cooked, it was not well seasoned.  The risotto was bland and soggy.  I couldn't taste the "double-smoked" bacon in the least.  Worst of all, the risotto drowned out the fish even more.  The roast tomatoes on top didn't do much help.  It was simply bland, bland and soggy altogether.
Fifth course: Strip loin with sauteed leek and salted potatoes
At first, I was concerned with cutting around the fat and thought that it looked too well-done. Fortunately, the strip loin was tender and still rare in the middle.  It was not chewy as I thought it would be.  The server saw my initial reaction and stood by if I would be okay with the beef.  After the first taste, I didn't have to send it back.  The sauteed leek tasted like tartar sauce.  It was good with the potatoes but I'm not sure if it went as well with the strip loin.  A touch of horse radish with the leek would bring it up a notch.

Dessert: chocolate sip cake with strawberry compote
The chocolate sip cake for dessert was super rich.  It was complemented by strawberry compote and citrus biscotti.

Value wise, I have had similar selections for lower price else where, so I was somewhat expecting something more on a larger scale.  The service was excellent.  Our server was attentive and concerned if we enjoyed the quality of food we received.  I have heard good things about Madison's Grill so, for this visit,  some of the food didn't meet my expectation.  Nonetheless, I will still return and give it another try.

Madison's Grill on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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