The fiance and I met Chef Darren from Downtown Food at a dinner a month or so ago, and found him to be a hoot! After hearing him talk about his food and restaurant with so much passion, we felt like we had to go check out the place. So we thought a quiet dinner just the weekend before Valentine’s Day might be a good idea.
The restaurant itself was quite welcoming. Although I was not a big fan of the white chairs which reminded me a bit of The Brick, the room itself was quite lovely. The stone wall and the artwork of Calgary downtown was amazing.
The host was very professional and helpful, and so was our waitress. She was friendly and warm, and had great hair!
So we told our lovely waitress to let the Chef know that we felt adventurous and he can feed us anything his heart desires. She disappeared into the kitchen, and came back smiling, and took away our menus. I guess our fates were in the hands of Chef Darren then!
What came after was a stream of delicious amuse, soup, etc etc and soon our tasting menu turned to so many courses we eventually lost count and just drowned in the deliciousness that is the food at DTF.
What we ate:
- The amuse which had shrimp and a tandoori popcorn and I popped it into my mouth so fast that I dont know what else was in it. Delicious.
- The beet tartare. Quite good, but not my favourite of the night.
- A compressed pear, apple, candied walnut and blue cheese salad. Very tasty, and fiance seemed to love it.
- The beef ravioli. Just on bite wasnt enough. I wanted more, it was so so good. The brought out fresh truffles that they shaved tableside onto my ravioli dish. Amazing! The broth it was sitting in was heavenly. I only had a fork so I couldnt scoop it all into my mouth and I half-debated asking the waitress if I could have a spoon so I could finish the broth.
- The duck ‘ham’ and cheese, which is basically cured (I think) duck, cheddar and seared foie gras on a sliced baguette. It was a rich, and seriously good.
- The lobster soup. Holy, I could have an entire meal of just this. It was creamy, yet not too heavy, and very lobster-y. Chef Darren said he puts no white wine in the broth. He didnt need any, because this dish was to die for.
- We shared two mains. One mains, we had the pan-seared sablefish with boy choy and mushroom marinated/glazed with miso and ginger and gojuchang sauce. It was served on this 2-foot long plate, which was quite funny. The fish was incredibly soft, tender and buttery. My fiance and I both absolutely loved it.
- For our other main, we had the confit duck leg on braised cabbage. The cabbage was a cool - it look and served the purpose of pasta - but it wasnt! The cabbage was spicy, which was nice. The duck leg had a crispy skin on it, with the cabbage, was really good.
- For dessert we tried the lemon tart with cassis gelato; and the DTF s’mores with vanilla bean ice cream. I am a vanilla bean fiend, so I ate it all up even though my tummy was bursting at the seams by now.
- We finished everything off with two little lemon macaroons, light and refreshing.
I also had the DTF farmers Martini, and 2 glasses of wine. The martini was awesome - cucumber, gin, sage and elderflower. I love refreshing, herby cocktails, so this was great.
Some things to note about DTF: they make everything from scratch, right down to the bread they serve with butter. They put care into what they deliver, and it shows.
I bumped into an acquaintance in the bathroom and named off a few things for her to try, because she was vegetarian and didnt know what to order!
All in all, this meal was absolutely terrific. Chef Darren came out to say hello and asked how we were liking everything. It was cool how he stuck around for a few seconds to chat because it is always nice to let the chef know you’re enjoying the meal! We could see that the staff - from the chef to the waiter to the host - all really cared about the customers. This place has tons of potential! I, for one, am waiting for another reason to visit! ;)
Clockwise from top left: Beet tartare; Foie gras ‘ham’ and cheese; lemon tart and cassis gelato; apple, pear and blue cheese salad, miso marinated sablefish, beef ravioli.
Clockwise from top left: DTF Farmers martini; duck leg confit; fresh truffles; DTF smores and vanilla bean ice cream; lemon macaroon and coffee!