Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a soft opening of Parc Cafe and Brasserie.
Located a hop and a skip from 17th Ave (and quite close to Ollia and Corbeaux), I’ve been watching the demolition, renovations, and final set up of this spot for the past 3 months. Needless to say, the excitement has been building up inside me.
The portion of 17th ave between 6st and 8st has really become the French quarter of Calgary. I don’t know if it’s because my adamant cries for a European lifestyle have been heard and answered, but I’m going to think so. It might not fully satisfy my need for food, travel, and culture, BUT, it sure is softening the blow.
Anyway, Parc is the newest creation of the incredibly talented Creative Restaurant Group. You might have heard of their previous work (and some of my all-time favs) Posto Pizzeria, Cibo, Bonterra, and Scopa. They do Italian right.
But, Parc is a step away from their usual Italian cuisine and into the realm of fine French food.
Eager to get on with the show, Cole and I dolled ourselves up and headed out. We made sure to hit the gym earlier in the day, so that we could eat until our hearts were content – without the aftermath of guilt.
We walked alongside the large glass doors (that presumably open to a patio when summertime rolls around) and in through the main entrance.
Immediately glasses of sparkling wine were popped into our hands and the owner was describing his idea behind the Brasserie.
The décor was inevitably bistro-inspired, with a checkered black and white tiled floor, bistro sets, wine racks, and high-top booths. It’s classy, chic, and oh-so European.
The bar is stacked and ready to go, covered in white subway tiles and low hanging lights. Happy hour anyone?
We were given a brief forewarning that this was a pre-opening, and thus there might be some kinks in food or service. But that forewarning was really not required! Read on about the delicious feast that was laid down before us.
We glanced through the menu, remarking at the incredible selection of Apertifs, Hors d’oeuvres, Soups, Salads, and Entrees. Everything sounded absolutely delicious and we carefully took our time to make a selection..or two.
The croquettes were by far one of my top dishes.
Warm, molten, gooey ethemental cheese and bits of ham encased in a crispy, light deep-fried batter. The perfect appetizer spin on croque-monsieur.
Next we had tender, fresh mushrooms slathered in a garlic sauce and toppled onto a soft piece of brioche.
Followed by the softest house-made bread, deep in flavour, and paired with olive oil, butter, and sea-salt.
And then, Tarte-flambee.
I actually had no idea what this dish was going to be, but the description listed double smoked bacon, chives, onions, and crème fraiche, so undeniably, I was sold. Turns out it’s the most delicious flatbread, with soft and chewy dough (they must’ve taken a hint from the excellent pizzas at Posto), coated in a buttery sauce, and peppered with fresh and flavourful chives, perfectly cooked diced onions, and mouth-wateringly salty bits of double smoked bacon.
Ugh, just reminiscing about it makes me crave another slice.
Each came out with enough time to devour, savor, enjoy, and build up excitement again. We ordered our mains and took the time as a chance to wander around the restaurant and see a few celebrity faces.
The serving staff hustled and bustled between each table, grabbing meals fresh from the kitchen and topping up glasses with red or white wine.
For entrees, we couldn’t have picked more classic French dishes. Steak frites & duck.
The 10 oz striploin was cooked evenly throughout, coated in a parmesan butter and sprinkled with sea salt. It came along with a saucer of mushroom peppercorn sauce to drench over-top, salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and some of the best steak frites I’ve had.
Brined for that salty effect and cooked until crisp, I couldn’t get enough of these bad boys. My recommendation is to eat them by the handful.
Cole, an avid duck connoisseur, remarked that the duck was cooked to perfection, tender, and flavourful. It was topped with an orange sauce, and plated with fresh, crisp asparagus.
You would think that by this time our bellies would be screaming for us to stop, but, we just couldn’t get enough. When dessert rolled around we happily selected two, with every intention to share.
That intention quickly faded.
I selected the profiteroles and let me tell you, they were divine. Our neighboring table couldn’t stop talking about just HOW GOOD they were…and they were totally right.
Balls of smooth, creamy, vanilla ice cream, sandwiched between two pieces of pastry, smothered in a luxurious espresso chocolate sauce, and surrounded by whipped cream.
Cole had the crème brulee, which was so good that he stayed silent for the next 5 minutes.
That being said, the dessert list is so epic that I don’t think you can go wrong. I heard murmurs that the baked-to-order madelaines are to die for….so maybe next time.
I for one think I will be quite the regular. Croquettes for an after work snack…profiteroles when I need something sweet…and an array of delicious French entrees for any other occasion.
If you’re wondering about a few other menu options, check out my followup post on Parc Brasserie!
This post was a collaboration piece with Parc Cafe & Brasserie but all of the opinions are my own. As in, I seriously do love this place.
If you’re searching for more French cuisine check out my Suzette Bistro review. Located on 4th Street, it’s a little lighter on the budget and equally as yummy.