Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bistro Praha's Younger, Hipper Cousin: Accent European Lounge

Spurned by another Entertainment Book coupon offer, May and I met up at the easily-missed Accent European Lounge (8223 104 Street) on Whyte Avenue for a pre-show dinner. You may remember the previous occupant of the space - Milan's - but with a new owner (and the same chef), Accent was born in March 2007.

When I arrived just after 5:30pm on Saturday, I found the restaurant empty, save for one group in the corner. Business was steady over the course of our meal, however, and the room was nearly full by the time we left two hours later.

Accent is charming and cozy, and can be understood best as Bistro Praha's younger, hipper cousin. Dim, but with great foresight in lighting placement, the room wasn't dark, taking full advantage of wall sconces and pendant lamps. Tabletop candles provided some of the requisite ambiance, and played well against the room's dark wood. I also loved the copper inlay on the tables - they added both a nonchalant touch of class and a not-oft seen method of table dressing. I did think, however, that the two television sets (or at least, the one not above the bar) were out of place. Judging from that evening, I don't believe those who choose to dine at Accent would be using the space to follow game contests.

We were tended to by the lone waitress, a bubbly personality with a perfectly welcoming presence in the restaurant. She gave us ample time to peruse the menu, and didn't flinch when I mentioned the fact that I had a coupon. The menu was actually a little less "European" than I expected, with the only transferable dishes between its older, more stalwart Bistro Praha relative being the Wiener Schnitzel and Baked Goulash. May and I ended up with the decidedly more commonplace Filet Mignon ($26) and Baked Salmon ($21), respectively.

Our wait for entrees was lengthy, given that most in the room hadn't yet ordered. But we were satiated when we received our plates, especially with the generous servings of steamed vegetables provided. Filets of salmon are difficult to mess up, and aren't ever really spectacular, as it was in this case. The pan-fried potatoes were a nice treat though.

Less pretentious and more casual than Flavours, but with a less interesting menu than Packrat Louie, I don't think I will make many frequent returns to Accent. But if you're looking for a bit of charm on Whyte that can't be found at a bar, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Accent.


Filet Mignon

Baked Salmon

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