The Calgary beer scene has been on the upswing for the last couple of years now. There are several local brew houses and even more ‘gastro pubs’; enough to make lots of beer drinkers extraordinarily happy. On the rare occasion that we have a Saturday free of kid or sport activities we like to get out of the house and go for a mid afternoon pint or two.
Saturday we drove up to the North West quadrant of the city to visit some friends who recently added a beautiful baby boy to their family. I got in lots of ‘baby time’ but then we got to leave when he needed a diaper change. It was the perfect visit. On the way home I mentioned that we could possibly be passing ‘Wurst’. Hubby then realized that I have been steering him blind every free Saturday we have. My method: We leave home to do something legit like pick out bathroom tiles or visit a friend, then when we are done said activity I mention we just happen to be close to ‘somewhere yummy’ and that maybe we should check the place out. I’ve been doing this since January…so it took almost four months for him to catch on. Maybe he figured it out sooner but why would he make a point of mentioning it? Good food is good food and beer is even better!
We arrived at Wurst Restaurant & Beer Hall really early. The hostess said to sit where ever we would like so we had a look downstairs which has huge booths on one side and long beer hall style tables on the other. It was fairly dark down there so we chose a table in the upstairs dining area. The dining area is a little more refined and had better light so that I could take some pictures. A server came to take our beer orders while explaining that the kitchen was closed for the next 40 minutes and that she would soon be replaced with another server.
Mmmm okay. I knew that if I had a beer on an empty stomach things would get interesting fairly quickly. Luckily when the kitchen is closed, there are several ‘Bar Snacks’ on offer. We didn’t feel like ordering a whole charcuterie platter because we knew the kitchen would be opening soon. Instead we ordered a couple of East coast oysters for hubby, Hungarian Paprika Sausage, and Brie de Meaux. The oyster bar at Wurst is actually located to one side of the long ‘refreshments’ bar. There were dozens upon dozens of oysters perched on a bed of ice and two of those lucky bivalves became a snack for my hubby. There were three sauces for the two tiny oysters which I thought a bit excessive and I encouraged him to order more. One was a red onion mignonette, another was a cream based and the last was spicy. I think he just used the cream sauce.
I’m at least partial Hungarian so I was happy to have some Paprika sausage. The sausage itself wasn’t really hot at all, though if they wanted something truly Hungarian some cubed raw smoked bacon dusted with hot Paprika and some salt, pepper and dipping vinegar would have been sublime! I made the nasty mistake of thinking the shreds on top of the sausage were mozzarella. I found out way too late that they were freshly grated horseradish. The dish definitely got it’s heat from the fresh horseradish and that grainy mustard was no slouch either.
On the opposite end of the tasting spectrum we have the Brie de Meaux. The platter of creamy brie, sweet raw almonds, tart dried cherries, nut paste, and Raincoast Crisps was everything the Sausage platter wasn’t. We enjoyed both of them immensely. I particularly love the Hazelnut and Cranberry Raincoast Crisps. They are my favourite way to eat brie at home.
We found that both of these platters were decent value for the money and that they went well with the beer that we ordered. Hubby went for the lighter Hacher-Pschorr Oktoberfest and I had a much darker Erdinger Dunkel. I would have ordered another E.D. but really thought that I should try another of the lovely beer on offer. It seemed a waste to order a repeat.
Just as we were finishing our snacks, the wait person came by to take our dinner order. It seemed so odd to be eating at 5:30 pm but eating early ultimately freed us up to meet some friends later. I knew from the start that I would be having a steak if it was on the menu. Though I was tempted by several other options like the Boar Chop with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Creamed Spinach and Cedar Jelly or the Schnitzel Chop with Spaetzle, I did finally decide on the Northridge Farms Beef Tenderloin with Wilted Greens and Port Sauce. Oh yeah. It came with some onion rings as well. The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and seasoned, juicy with every bite. I loved the garlic laden kale and I found that my lighter beer (Pilsner Urquell) was a great way to clear the garlic from my palate. I would definitely order it again.
Hubby has a thing for bunnies. If rabbit is on the menu, he usually takes the opportunity to order it so he went with the Spinach Spaetzle and Braised Rabbit with shaved Bella Lodi and Huckleberries. He was surprised to find rabbit sausage as well as a few chunks of braised rabbit. I think he was a bit disappointed in the mild tasting rabbit. I did have a bite of his spaetzle and it was okay, just not as ‘eggy’ and light as mine are. I’m not really convinced that this dish was worth $27. The mains seem to be quite overpriced so I think this has started to affect rating on popular dining sites.
Wurst Restaurant & Beer Hall
2437 4th Street SW, T2S 1X5
|Dinner||Sun-Thu||5:00 PM – 10:00 PM|
|Fri-Sat||5:00 PM – 11:00 PM|
|Brunch||Sat & Sun||10:30 AM – 3:00 PM|