Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Half Hearted Hardware Grill

Seared Baja Scallops
Hardware Grill has long been considered one of the top fine dining establishments in #yeg. So much so that in 2010 when the Full House Lottery had a prize for a dinner with Gordon Ramsay, it was held there and was referred to by them as one of Edmonton's premiere restaurants. Once again, the humans had been there long ago when they first began dating, but before they started taking me out with them.

Porcini crusted sea b
The restaurant itself is surprisingly unstuffy despite the white table cloths, well dressed servers and room filled with rich dark wood. After being seated in a booth with a view into the kitchen, we were greeted by a friendly and talkative server, eager to share his favorite dishes with us, a few of which we ordered.

We started with moolicious seared baja scallops that were plump, moist and buttery tasting, with a creamy smooth cauliflower and pomegranate pistachio relish that added another dimension to the dish with a bit of tart acidity. The hand rolled butternut squash marscarpone tortellini appetizer unfortunately wasn't anywhere as good as the scallops. The pasta was too thick and undercooked, and the butternut squash filling within was bland.

The porcini crusted sea bass entree was moist, juicy and meaty, accompanied by large prawns. The side of lobster truffled potato crepes and arugula were far from successful. The arugula and corn were so over salted it was inedible, and the lobster within the crepes was tough.

Lacquered duck
The most baffling moment of the night was when they brought the lacquered duck breast to us and told us it was likely overcooked, but served it to us anyway. I've been to many restaurants where when something doesn't quite work out, they send the server out to let us know that it will be a bit longer because they needed to redo a dish. The duck was indeed cooked medium instead of the requested medium rare, resulting in a tough and rubbery texture. The server did take it away to have the duck redone, unfortunately, this resulted in the female having to finish the sea bass dish before it got cold while the male human waited and watched.

When the duck was redelivered, it was moovealously medium rare, juicy and tender as I'd hoped. The house made duck sausage was well seasoned, meaty and lean. The maple glazed carrots were delectable, but the cinnamon flavor did not work well with the quinoa and was left unfinished. We also wondered if they touched anything other than the duck as the sausage, carrots and quinoa were all cold. They did apologize for the gaff and comped the dish, which was nice of them.

Profiteroles with espresso ice cream
For dessert, we opted for the profiteroles with espresso ice cream and hot fudge. The espresso ice cream itself was rich with a prominent, but not overwhelming espresso flavor, flecked with chocolate. The profiteroles themselves were unfortunately too crispy and dense, making it impossible to get a single bite with all the components together. Neither soaking the pastry with melting ice cream or prodding vigorously with a fork could break through them.

We also tried out their small endings plate, consisting of a variety of bite sized desserts. Some of the stand out desserts included the white and dark chocolate brownie, which was nice and moist, and the two chocolates were nicely balanced. The chocolate truffles were also a hit, consisting of very dark melt in your mouth chocolate ganache. The shortbread was also well done, buttery and topped with some tart berries. There were however some less successful desserts including a maple fudge square that was overly dry instead of creamy. As well as a coconut macaroon with a gummy texture, and a 12 year old butterscotch pudding, with a tad too much scotch so that the caramel flavor was overwhelmed.

I'd suggest that Hardware Grill remember it's about cooking good food simply in order to ensure their food lives up to diner's expectations. Lastly, they should be proud of everything they send out of their kitchen, and if they know that it isn't cooked correctly, it shouldn't be sent it out.

Overall, it's another one of those places where there were both successes and failures. Similar to our visit to Madison's Grill, considering the hefty bill at the end versus what felt like a meal that was halfheartedly cooked, we aren't in a rush to revisit, especially on our own dime. Particularly considering all the other restaurants in #yeg, there are many other options that serve consistently well cooked food with high quality ingredients, at a much lower price point.

More photos at PhotoBucket.

Hardware Grill
9698 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB  T5H 3V5

Hardware Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. When did you dine there? Was this Down Town Dining week?

  2. I couldn't agree more with your review of Hardware Grill. I had dined several times at Hardware Grill and will never dine again there as had the worst customer experience. The owner uses waitstaff to resolve problems and refuses to see customer. Will never dine at this place again! Food OK and nothing outstanding. Nothing will entice me to dine at this establishment. There are other restaurants in Edmonton that deal with customer service in a professional and courteous manner.


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