I haven’t been to Catch since I left for Kingston but it always held a fond place in my heart. It is where J and I really started to get to know one another. Ahhh memories. They’ve changed chefs and gone through a major renovation so we had to check it out. I was struck with how modern it had become. The old Catch had a classic feel, warm but never stuffy. The reno made the space feel more modern, a little edgier, with some interesting design details on the floor and the lighting fixtures. It wasn’t quite as cozy as before unfortunately.
We had a few “culinary apertifs” to start with. They were basically little bites, a bit larger than an amuse bouche. This is the Organic Ocean’s Trap Caught BC Spot Prawns (poached in foie gras oil with Alberta shiso leaf) for $8. Nicely poached, really flavourful prawns, and served beautifully.
This is the Qualicum beach Scallop Ceviche (finger lime caviar, confit mayer lemon) for $8. A really nice texture on these scallops and they were nicely seasoned. A really simple dish but quite tasty.
This is the Pura Vida Farms Beef Tataki (ginger and soy emulsion, sesame seed tuiles) for $9. Really beautifully presented with a lot of beef flavour coming through!
This is the BC Kusshi Oyster (hickory smoked at the table) for $6. This was the most interesting thing I ate during the entire night. They had a shucked Kusshi Oyster (which I love because of the saltiness and the small size). Then they lit up a piece of hickory wood, put it beside the oyster, then put a glass on top of both so that the smoke would be contained. They let it sit for maybe 30 seconds to a minute. Then they served it. It was salty, smokey, and delicious.
I liked the apertif prawns so much that I ordered the appetizer prawn too. This is the Poached BC Spot Prawns (cucumber and pickled watermelon rind salad, pinot gris sauce) for $15. It tasted a little different, with the cumcumber and pickled watermelon rind adding a lot of zest and acid to the prawns. I gobbled these up.
This is the BC Seafood Terrine (pumpernickel toast, creme fraiche, ikura caviar) for $14. A very interesting dish. The terrine was so nicely prepared with layers of prawn, lobster, crab, and salmon. It separated nicely with just your fork. It was light and really sweet with a lot of flavour. The caviar just made me salivate and want more. The saltiness really complimented the terrine.
This is the Whole Roasted Nova Scotia Lobster (house made pomme frites, saffron aioli and creamed spinach) for $45. We had never had a roasted lobster before so we had to try it. It was sweet, bouncy, and juicy. Served really simply with some lemon and butter. Overall, I still prefer the Asian methods of preparing lobster, where they chop it up, fry it up, and add a lot of sauce. It does mask the essential lobster flavour but it is oh so delicious. This was a bit too simple for my liking.
This is the Wild BC Ling Cod (corn risotto, golden Saskatchewan chanterelles, and watercress pistou) for $28. The corn risotto was sweet and satisfying. The chanterelles were wonderfully chewy. Unfortunately, the fish was a bit underseasoned. The sear was nice and crispy but it overcooked the fish just a little.
I forgot to write down the name of this dessert but it was a chocolate torte. Really nice chocolate flavours but texturally challenging. Each layer was quite dense. You really had to chew and salivate to get each bite down. Would have been nice with some milk. Just too heavy a dessert for me.
These were the chocolate profiteroles. These were pretty bad. I’ve had superstore profiteroles that were better. The pastry was dry and chalky. The chocolate sauce was really pasty and gritty. And there was far too little cream in each piece. This was the disappointment of the night.
Catch Restaurant (upstairs) served some great food, especially their appertifs and appetizers. The mains were solid but not exciting. The desserts were disappointing. Catch will always have some sentimental value for me. Fortunately, they also serve some great food. I’d go back again and again for the oyster and the terrine.
Catch Oyster Bar, 100 Stephen Ave. SE, Calgary, (403) 206-0000, www.catchrestaurant.ca