Celebrating my 35th birthday we decided to have dinner somewhere we hadn’t been in a while. We recalled that we had enjoyed the food here before and thought it was time to revisit The Century Grill in Edmonton. While it was 6pm on a Wednesday, the parking lot was completely full. This could partially be because the restaurant is located next to two of the busiest restaurants in Edmonton, Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Restaurants, I might add, that have gone downhill horribly since the early years, so don’t expect us to review them anytime soon. It would likely just be a bitchfest. Anyhow, back to the Century Grill. As it was raining, SJ being the gentlemen he is, dropped me off at the door and went to find a spot. Waiting for him in the door way I briefly took note of the layout and ambiance of the entrance. The entrance is modern, the lighting soft, and to the left of the dining area is a raised private dining room surrounded by white curtains. Something I would think may be quiet interesting for private parties. The restaurant was busy, and as we were seated, we joined my family and ordered our usual cocktails. Our waiter was pleasant and knowledgeable, and arrived shortly thereafter with our drinks. For appetizers we chose three dishes to share: Parmesan chicken balls, calamari and gyoza.
The chicken balls came 4 to a bowl and were quite large. I think they thought size would outweigh quality in this case, because they were breaded and bland. The tomato sauce which accompanied them was sparse and did not do very much for the lack of spice or taste in the chicken balls. I would have expected a better seasoning in the breading, but for this dish it seemed obvious that they expected the sauce to offset the blandness...a disappointment in our eyes as they did sound good on the menu. Reality however was not dissimilar to something you could get frozen in the appies section of the grocery store.
The calamari however, were excellent. Not leggy (just rings), they came slightly peppered with Serrano peppers scattered to give a nice kick to the dish, and accompanied with a garlic dip . We were all very impressed with this dish. The Gyoza were also great, pan seared and lightly basted with a sweet soy Wasabi glaze that was great. The mushroom bed they were served on were tender and added quiet well to the dish.
SJ would almost call what I have a chicken fetish, because I LOVE chicken...(mainly breast- don’t like bones or skin...yuk!) This being the case I opted for the Free Range Chicken. When I ordered, I politely asked the waiter if there was bone and skin on the chicken, as the menu didn’t specify skinless..(a lesson I learned in Vancouver after ordering Coq Au Vin once only to find it was dark meat, and had skin and bones! So now I make sure to ask!). Advising me that this dish did indeed come with the leg bone in and the breast skin on, I asked if he could have the kitchen remove the skin from the dish, a request they complied with happily. The chicken was very good and tender (without skin) but the risotto was cooked a bit too much for our taste. It was (as many restaurants make the mistake), over cooked and bland. The sauce however when mixed with it made up for the lack of taste and texture.
Now one thing you may have noticed by now, is the complete lack of fish dishes in any of our reviews. This is on purpose. Neither of us are fish lovers. Frankly speaking, for the most part it always tastes like...well...fish! And all of you out there who in your minds are saying "that's because you haven't had it prepared with...", please stop. Trust me...it still tastes like fish. The exceptions to this rule are Salmon (occasionally), shellfish, and TUNA!! But there is a catch. You must have the Tuna seared, and not cooked. Yes, it's raw...get over it. But it's the best thing on earth to eat, and in fact, the more you cook it, the more it starts to taste like fish. Ironic. Having lived in Bermuda for a few years, SJ got turned on to Tuna...no, not the canned variety...and even went so far as to go fishing for it on a few occasions. A story he tells ad nauseum that involves tuna, a shark, and blah blah blah. Anyways, SJ opting for the Ahi Tuna, crusted with Captain Crunch cereal....yes you read that right. The texture was excellent, but you really couldn't taste the Captain Crunch. Fortunately there was a good sauce drizzled over and around that nicely complimented the dish.
Now completely stuffed, SJ and I shared a desert with my father. My dad, never having had crème Brule was convinced to order it, which he loved. The desert a vanilla bean crème brulee was amazing, the right texture and very tasty. YUMMY.....
The manager, having heard that it was my birthday, stopped by to thank us for choosing the restaurant to celebrate my special day, and handed me a $10 gift certificate for use on a future visit. In my opinion, it was a very classy move...for a moment there I was worried the staff would pop out from behind his back and start embarrassing me...(something I have always found tacky for a restaurant....SOOO glad they didn’t do that here or it would have seriously tainted my perception of the overall experience.)
Overall, the experience was decent. The staff was friendly and attentive, the food and the ambiance mostly good. I did think it was a bit louder than I would have preferred, as it was difficult to carry on a conversation around the table we were seated at, but for the price, the day and the company...we thoroughly enjoyed the celebration.
Location visited: 3975 Calgary Trail
Ambiance: Trendy and Fresh
Presentation: Above Average
Service: Above Average
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