Tuesday, December 1, 2015

XIX Nineteen – St Albert Beckons

Tasting at XIX Nineteen
Building upon the success of his first asian fusion restaurant, XIX Nineteen, located in Terwilliger, the new XIX Nineteen is located in St. Albert. The décor and design are similar, but still has individual touches, ensuring that this is not simply a clone of the original location.

XIX Nineteen St Albert
XIX Nineteen is the brainchild of one of Edmonton’s most underrated chefs, Andrew Fung. Chef Fung was trained in Europe, and in my humble opinion, the best saucier in Edmonton. Every time we have dined at XIX Nineteen, @thepolishviking and I have had to resist the urge to lick the plates clean. Every sauce he creates is different and is constructed to delicately balance out a dish, not merely existing just for the sake of being there, and never utilized to make up for deficiencies. Heck, I’ve never tasted a deficient dish by Chef Fung, and he is one of our favourite chefs in Edmonton.

Open Kitchen
Heading up the St. Albert location will be Chef Rino Lam, who worked at the Terwilliger location under Chef Fung. Chef Lam is a NAIT Culinary Arts graduate with experience working and training in Europe. Also, we were pleasantly surprised to see our favourite server, Jason at the St. Albert location. 

Prosciutto with Espresso Aioli
A plethora of dishes were presented to us, ensuring that we left full and waddling like penguins. Some of my favourite dishes included a prosciutto with a rich and creamy espresso aioli which helped to balance the salty cured meat. The albacore tuna carpaccio with spicy miso was bright, fresh and light, while the miso marinated sable fish was the butteriest feeling fish I’ve ever eaten in Alberta. A meal is never complete without dessert and they did not disappoint, presenting us with an array including their pizookie which is a large chocolate chip cookie served in a cast iron pan, pumpkin cheesecake, apple tart, and our favourite, a rich, yet incredibly light butter cake.

Prices are on the moderately high side, but I’ve never had better seafood than at XIX Nineteen, so you’re paying for a quality meal. 

Albacore Tuna Carpaccio
XIX Nineteen also offers a tasting menu to those interested, but you must book in advance. Although tasting menus are becoming more available in Edmonton, as it allows a chef to have fun and showcase their talent by cooking items not normally on their menu, they are not always executed well. I’ve found that some chefs often get too experimental, coming up with a great concept, but executing it poorly. 

Miso Marinated Sablefish
This was not the case with Chef Andrew Fung however, as he demonstrated that he knows how to conceptualize and execute, but also what progression items should go in, as well as portion sizes, skills that I’ve found are sorely lacking in many tasting menus I’ve experienced in North America.

Butter Cake
Tasting menus can be time consuming and more expensive, but are perfect for a special occasion or if you are feeling adventurous, and are well worth a try at XIX Nineteen – just call and ask to do, “Get The Fung Out”. We did it a few months ago with Chef Andrew Fung and it was one of the best tasting menus we have had in Canada, with each course progressively more delicious than the last. 

Admittedly, I’m biased as I love XIX Nineteen and Chef Andrew Fung’s cooking, but I wish him and Chef Rino Lam great success with the new St. Albert location and am looking forward to going back to try brunch. If you haven’t had a chance to try XIX Nineteen, definitely go and experience it for yourself. 

XIX Nineteen - St. Albert
104-150 Bellrose Drive
St. Albert, AB  T8N 8N8
Twitter: @XIXNineteen

XIX Nineteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

(Note: There was no financial compensation from XIX Nineteen for this blog post, although they provided free food and drinks. Any review provided by me will completely reflect my thoughts and opinions – good or bad – and will not be swayed by having free food and drinks provided.)

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