Tastiness Factor: 9.5/10
Locavore Approved? For sure YES- With a motto of "At the intersection of food, farm and friends", I felt fairly confident that these guys would deliver on the locavore front and fortunately I was correct. RGE RD is serious about local eating, from its constantly evolving menu to its emphasis on nose-to-tail dining. I can only hope that RGE RD is the pioneer for the locavore movement in Edmonton and that many other restaurants, both old and new, will soon follow suit.
After a very impressive dinner the night before at Corso 32, I was doubtful that I could find equally amazing food anywhere else in Edmonton.
Little did I know that my second Edmonton pick, RGE RD would deliver food that would impress me on every level, from local ingredients, to creativity, to perfect execution. These guys have the whole package, and then some.
I should note right off the bat that RGE RD is a classic case of "don't judge a book by its cover". It is located on a residential street, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and its small storefront is about as non-desript as it gets (I must have checked my IPhone about 5 times to make sure I had the right address).
You will breath a sigh of relief when you enter to find a very pleasant room bursting at the seams with happy diners. Although the space is small, the tables are adequately spaced and we felt like we had ample room. The decor is quite rustic in keeping with their "untamed cuisine" theme (the fire wood in little cubbies along the far wall was a nice touch). The kitchen is open concept and if you are not fortunate enough to snag one of the prized seats right in front of it, you can also watch the action through a small window at the side like we did. I can vouch for the fact that they are running one busy kitchen!
Service at RGE RD was just as I like- friendly and informal, yet attentive and knowledgeable. Our server was exceptionally personal and clearly passionate about the food they are putting out there. Each time he came to our table, he gladly engaged in conversations about everything from the meaning of the restaurant's name (apparently RGE RD is short for "range road" which is what they call offside roads here in Edmonton) to other restaurants in the city that he recommended. Not once did we feel rushed or unattended to, which is quite a feat for such a busy restaurant.
If you are so inclined, RGE RD has a nice selection of cocktails, and a well-rounded wine list which includes mostly Canadian wines. I appreciated the inclusion of 3 half-litre choices of both whites and reds which is a rare find these days but just perfect for a couple to share.
The food menu is composed of a good selection of appies, including a few sharing plates. The "Kitchen Board", which will easily feed 2-3 people, changes nightly and includes a variety of meats and cheeses. In terms of mains, there are about 5-6 to choose from, including at least 1 fish and 1 veg dish, and a few nightly specials. Additionally, there is a "chef's choice" tasting menu including a some dishes not found on the standard menu, that will almost surely opt for on our next visit (base price $75/person).
Gouda and Potato Perogies- On the recommendation from our server, Hubby opted for the full order of this starter (4 perogies vs. 2 in the half order) and was mightly glad he did. Our server told us they sell out of these pretty much every night and after tasting them, it is no wonder. From the soft exterior to the mild gouda in the centre to the pickled cabbage on top, these made for a winning first course.
Fall Harvest Squash and Potato Risotto- onion, wood roasted garden veg- This dish was a bit unexpected as the "risotto" was actually diced potato prepared in cream and butter (yum) instead of arborio rice. The richness of the "risotto" was nicely offset by the bounty of roasted root vegetables on top (squash, beets, parsnip). There is no better homage to fall than this dish.
Pilatus Farm Bison- hazelnut spatzle, grainy mustard, charred carrots- Hubby left the restaurant raving about this dish which was perfectly executed in every way, shape and form. From the perfectly cooked sliced bison to the tasty spatzle underneath, it would be impossible to find anything to improve. This is about as close to perfect as it gets.
WOW. This place totally blew me away and surpassed all my expectations. This chef is talented beyond words. It is places like this that will start to put Edmonton on the radar of Canadian foodies.
RGE RD, you have truly stolen my heart with your dedication to local ingredients, your creativity and your spot-on execution. Edmonton is mighty lucky to have you!