Optimistically Cautious

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Unexpectedly Disappointing: The Keg

After returning to Edmonton on Sunday, Dickson and I decided on dinner at The Keg in South Edmonton Common (1631-102 Street). Besides a Christmas party at the end of one of my student teaching terms many years ago, I haven't eaten at The Keg since.

Walking in, this location was quite impressive - looming doors enclosed a large waiting area, all dark wood fixtures and flooring, dimly lit to set the desired tone and ambiance. The dining room was large and spacious, a combination of stand alone tables and booths, with the design allowing for several private dining enclaves. Lastly, a fireplace at one end extended the necessary warmth and feeling of comfortable hospitality the chain undoubtedly wants to be known for. In stark contrast with the surroundings though, was the music. For some unexplainable reason, upbeat hits from the 80s streamed from the speakers (e.g. The Jackson 5’s “ABC”) - appropriate for family restaurants perhaps, but not compatible with a muted, sophisticated dining area on a Sunday night.

Our waitress was surprisingly flighty and forgetful throughout the evening, but her cheeriness and genuine nature made her mistakes forgivable. Armed with menus, I chose to go with a lighter supper - a Keg Cesar and French Onion Soup, while Dickson ordered a Keg-sized Grilled Top Sirloin (medium) and a side of Portabella & Button Mushrooms. In an imbibing mood, I also called for a Greyhound (vodka and freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice), which seemed like an intriguing twist on the usual orange-based Screwdriver. The drink was either perfect (with the sourness of the grapefruit tempering the bitterness of the vodka), or just watered down.

The salad came quickly, but was smaller than I had anticipated. The same can be said for the soup, although the broth was quite good - rich and layered with flavor. I can't say Dickson enjoyed his meal as much, save perhaps the mushroom and baked potato sides. His steak came out downright carcinogenic, and was more accurately labeled well done (and dry) as opposed to medium.

While I didn't have a bad time, I really expected more from The Keg. Perhaps some of the funding for their television ad campaigns should be diverted to food preparation and music selection classes instead.

Dining room

Greyhound cocktail
Keg Cesar

French Onion Soup

Portabella & Button Mushrooms

Grilled Top Sirloin and Baked Potato

Us (Dickson's eyes are open!)

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