Former Top Chef Canada competitor Xavier Lacaze, who is already well-known to Calgary diners, has opened a new place in town.
This week Calgary Eyeopener restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist turned his attention to the venture called Briggs Kitchen and Bar.
- Hear Gilchrist's full review:
The restaurant is located at 317 10th Avenue S.W. in the space formerly occupied by the Cannery Row seafood restaurant.
"It's an interesting decor, because it is that old Cannery Row, a big wood warehouse.... They've taken it right back to the wooden beams, and installed this bright, flashy, new kitchen."
"There's a bit of an odd contradiction of old, rustic wood and shiny new kitchen."
One of the most distinctive features of the new restaurant is its Josper oven — a charcoal oven that Gilchrist describes as giving the food a unique "woody" flavour.
Briggs Kitchen and Bar describes its menu as "rustic comfort food," featuring items such as lobster mac and cheese, flat breads with goat cheese and honey and a 48-ounce rib-eye steak.
According to Gilchrist, Briggs Kitchen and Bar has some great things going for it — but they're not quite there yet.
"It's fine work, but it's still in progress," explains Gilchrist.
He was impressed with the "absolutely gorgeous" sweet pea soup and Briggs' paella, which Gilchrist describes as a rarity in Calgary.
"Of the places that do (paella), very few of them do it well, so it's nice to see one that actually works."
However, Gilchrist was less enthusiastic about other menu items, such as the oven-smoked mushrooms with pepper chantilly cream that "gets in the way," and a prime rib sandwich made with pre-prepared meat.
"It's one thing to have the oven, but you have to be able to do interesting things with it."
Despite the concerns, Gilchrist has high hopes for Briggs — especially as they plan to expand beyond the 10th Avenue location.
"These are fairly small things and it shows that the menu is still under development. I think they'll sort them out over time."
Briggs Kitchen and Bar: 317 10th Ave. S.W., 587-350-5015