Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Appalling Inconsistency: Ric's Grill

I've been wanting to try Ric's Grill (10190 104 Street) for a while, and a special menu offered in accordance with Edmonton's Downtown Dining Week was the perfect catalyst to do so. So having made a reservation with enough wiggle room to make it to a show at MacEwan later that evening, Dickson and I headed to the Warehouse District on Saturday.

The Metals Building, in all its stalwart brick glory, always seemed inherently fitting for an upscale steakhouse. The interior offered nothing unexpected - dark wood, leather, and too-dim lighting reminiscent of Ruth's Chris. While I understand that the booth we were seated in was designed to create a private enclave of sorts, Dickson actually felt borderline claustrophobic in its looming wake.

When I didn't find a Dining Week menu among the leather-bound folders on the table, I requested one from our server. He replied that the promotion was not available to those who had not mentioned the special menu while making the reservation. As this was not clearly indicated on the website (as it is on Calgary's Dine-Out Week site), nor was I asked such a question when I spoke to the hostess over the phone, I couldn't fathom how this could have been their policy. Dickson amounted this to "nominal participation" in Dining Week, though when we heard a similar bottom line delivered to a nearby table who was also interested in the promotional menu, we found some comfort in their consistency.

Not so, it seems. May, who ate at Ric's Grill the night prior, was immediately given the Dining Week menu upon request, even without "pre-ordering" over the phone beforehand. What boggles my mind is that the options available on the Dining Week menu are no different than what is offered on their regular menu, so a lack of food supply would not be an acceptable excuse. And as one would think the pre-fixe menus are meant to encourage otherwise experimental-shy patrons to dine outside their borders with the hope of reaping return business in the future, why so many hurdles would be in place to ultimately save the restaurant just a few dollars (the 6oz Filet Mignon pre-fixe with dessert was $35, while the same Filet Mignon is regularly priced at $31 without dessert) is beyond me. Though I will continue with this review to be thorough, it's a safe bet I won't be back at Ric's Grill; it is unacceptable for a restaurant of their supposed calibre to be nothing more than a token participant in an event set up to promote the best of Edmonton's urban cuisine.

I ordered the 6oz Filet Mignon, with a soup to start, while Dickson settled on the 12oz Top Sirloin and a Caesar salad ($31). The spicy beef and vegetable soup was great - the amount of beef was generous, and the vegetables had obviously been simmering for quite some time. Dickson said his salad (made from scratch), was quite enjoyable as well.

As for our entrees - I had no complaints about my steak, though I do think the Filet Mignon I had at Mr. Mike's a few weeks back was just a touch better, if not only because I'd take a peppercorn cream sauce over Bernaise any day. And I won't deny it - the fun of onion rings as a side is something I still haven't gotten over.

Dickson's sirloin, ordered medium rare, was exceptionally moist. So much so that the red juices that collected on his plate became somewhat unappetizing. I don't claim to be a steak expert, but perhaps they should have let the meat sit for a while longer before serving it?

Ric's Grill, I hardly knew ye.

Exterior

Interior

6oz Filet Mignon

12oz Top Sirloin

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2 Comments:

Blogger Shermie said...

It's unfortunate that they made you jump through so many hurdles. Anyhow, when I went to Ric's Grill two years ago - the food was really good, the portions were huge. I was stuffed without dessert.

March 11, 2008 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Yeah, there is something to be said for the "industry standard" of three visits before a review is written, but for the average joe, that really isn't fiscally possible.

March 11, 2008 at 6:53 PM  

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