Giovanni and Michele are the new Chef’s/owner’s of Osteria Chef’s Table in Kensington. They’ve revamped the menu with a fresh, modern take on classic Italian dishes, and everything I’ve tried has been delicious (I’ve been here three times now!). With Michele now spending time in both the kitchen and in the dining room, it’s a bonus to be able to talk to one of the creative minds behind the dishes. They support local and organic, but bring in a hint of traditional Italian imports like red ‘bella di cerignola’ olives (which are awesome, by the way) and seasonal Italian truffles.
Fresh, homemade bread is now a staple at the restaurant. The recipe comes all the way from Italy – Michele’s Grandma was nice enough to pass it on to him – and it’s really, really good! With a new wine list, you’re apt to find something you like in a price range you’re happy with. Bottles range from $45-$75 and they serve wine in the 6 or 9 oz glass as well. Or, if you’re with a large group, you can purchase a gigantic 5L bottle that will go a very long way!
With the new year comes a new menu. The Chef’s listened to customer feedback and lowered the prices as well. Honestly, I think their prices are more than fair (even cheap in some cases). I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants in Calgary, and I think you get great value for high quality food at Osteria Chef’s Table.
Jay and I sat by the fire in the centre of the restaurant on this chilly night. We ate our way through the Chef’s Tasting Menu, paired initially with a delicious Valpolicella Ripasso from Italy, and later, a Malbec to go with the veal. The first dish of the evening was shrimp with organic spinach, organic pea shoots, and a light lemon sauce. The clean and fresh flavours were simple, but each held their own ground. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the delicate lemon sauce was delicious. Jay actually said ‘this spinach is awesome!’ (I don’t think I’ve ever heard Jay call a vegetable awesome before)…
Next we were served salad with greens, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, capers, a red olive, and boconcini cheese from Italy. The boconcini was much nicer than the cheap stuff I’ve purchased at my local chain grocery store; it was smooth and tender. The balsamic vinegar was sweet and thick, and there was just a hint of salt to tie the salad all together. The red olive was delectable – I could have eaten a whole bowl of them!
The handmade fettucine was served in a light sauce with B.C. wild mushrooms and truffle from Italy. The pasta was well-prepared, flavourful and made delectable with just a hint of truffle. I never really understood the draw towards truffles until I tasted this pasta. Now I get it… The pasta wasn’t full of mushrooms but there was a tonne of flavour. I’m guessing this is the wonderful experience of umami. Yum! Jay said that even Gordon Ramsay would be impressed!
For the main we were served a large veal chop with wicked organic mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked organic vegetables. Why can’t I cook veggies like that at home? Hmmm… probably because I cook them in the microwave? Again, all the seasonings were bang on, and I really enjoyed the mashed potatoes. I was scraping the last bits off the slate plate…
Dessert was amazing. Perfectly smooth and rich, the vanilla bean panacotta was served with organic berries, topped with a cinnamon stick. Oddly, Jay had never tasted a cinnamon stick before so I made him take a bite. But, I digress… I thought the dessert was like ‘summer in a glass’ – it was decadent and delicious.
With the evening coming to a close we sipped hot coffee and chatted with Michele as he cleared away other tables. The restaurant is still a little old school, with a classic dining room style. It’s not modern and hip, but it has great food, which is what matters the most to me. Although Osteria Chef’s Table is a bit of a drive for us, their new menu is full of awesome looking dishes and their new lower prices make it worth the trip.
*Although I was a guest of the restaurant, all thoughts and opinions are my own.