Friday, November 29, 2013

Fiddle River Restaurant – Jasper Alberta

Our first night in Jasper…and it was time for dinner.  I’d done some research and I’d decided that we’d have an expensive dinner on the first night in town and then, on the second night, we’d find somewhere much more reasonably priced.

So…as I said, this was the first night!  Here we are at Fiddle River Seafood Company.  As per Trip Advisor just prior to our trip, this restaurant scored 125 Excellent or Very Good Reviews vs. only 5 Poor or Terrible.  Since my normal risk limit is a 10:1 ratio and these odds were far better, at more than 20:1, I felt pretty confident when we entered the restaurant!

We were seated right next to the window facing out over Connaught Street and the rail yards…with the mist covered mountains barely visible through the rain…

The interior of the Fiddle River Restaurant is warm…woodsy and simple.  It’s located on the 2nd floor and with windows on 2 sides of the dining area there would normally be ample light to brighten up the room.

When we were seated, this was our view.  It was raining and visibility was limited.  We had a nice view, (if you are a railroad buff), of the old Canadian National Mountain Type Class U-1-A steam locomotive on permanent static display as well as one of the 6 VIA Rail passenger trains that stop or originate in Jasper each week.  In clear weather we would have also had a good view of the Colin Mountain range from our table by the window. 

Laurie started out with a glass of the featured red wine for the day, 6 oz. for $9.00.  I asked our waitress for a mild beer and she recommended a Stiegl lager. ($8.90) Stiegl is brewed near Salzburg Austria and it is one of the most common brands of beer in that country.  Stiegl was founded in 1492, so they must be doing something right! We were both happy with our pre-dinner libations…
I’m sure that it’s no coincidence that Fiddle River serves Austrian beer…as the owner, John Riedler, is an Austrian trained chef.

For an appetizer, we decided to share something we’ve never had before.  This is the Moroccan Dates appetizer. ($14.00) It consisted of baked fresh organic dates stuffed with feta cheese, served with Moroccan spiced tiger prawns on a cumin scented sun-dried fruit cous cous cake and accompanied by fresh chive aioli.  This was both different and excellent!  Our flavor buds were popping, that’s for sure!
Two other appetizers caught my attention… There was the Crispy Lamb Strudel, ($14.00), which consisted of curried lamb, fresh mint, tomato chili chutney and sweet potatoes wrapped in phyllo pastry with a balsamic reduction and accompanied by a cucumber and dill yogurt.  The other appetizer I noticed was the Earl Grey Smoked Candied Salmon. ($14.00) This offering included Corey’s famous maple and brown sugar cured Atlantic salmon with a hickory potato cake, accompanied by a lemon and horseradish whipped cream. 

We rarely cook fish at home, preferring to order it at restaurants and we do like simple but flavorful fish dishes.  Laurie ordered “Just for the Halibut”. ($30.00) Her herbed panko crumbed halibut fillet was topped with a cilantro pesto drizzle and it was accompanied by horseradish and grated parmesan cheese.  Her sides were French organic lentil coconut rice and 4 fresh seasonal vegetables.  She really enjoyed her entrée!  Excellent!
One fish offering on the menu that I’d never seen before was the Phyllo Arctic Char. ($32.00) This consisted of oven baked Arctic char, with spinach and goat cheese wrapped in phyllo pastry and accompanied by a cucumber, dill and fresh chive raiti as well as the standard rice and grilled seasonal vegetables… (Raiti is Indian…from India…word for a variety of sauces)
FYI… Commercial Arctic char typically weigh between 2 and 10 pounds and it is a member of the salmon family.  The flesh is fine flaked and medium firm.  The color is between light pink and deep red, and the taste is like something between trout and salmon.

OK…I had Bison at Lake Louise, so I decided to try a different type of meat this time.  I ordered the Braised Elk Stroganoff. ($28.00) This was slowly braised elk with caramelized onions, smoked paprika and a cognac demi-glace. It was finished with dill pickles and chive sour cream and it was accompanied by roasted vegetables and the potato of the day.  I decided that slowly cooked elk is a winner!  This was a very good meal…
Another entrée of interest was the Drunken Chorizo and Wild Boar Goulash. ($32.00) This dish includes braised wild boar with merlot chorizo sausage and caramelized caraway onions with a sage and cranberry tea towel dumpling.

I ordered coffee while we waited for our shared dessert.  The rain had stopped and the VIA Rail train had departed…to be replaced by a hind…a wandering female elk that was just moving on down the road.

For dessert, Laurie and I shared a berry crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. ($9.25) It was very good…but it would have been even better had it been a bit warmer.
The food at Fiddle River was imaginative and very, very good.  This is one of those instances where we paid quite a bit for the meal and felt like we got our monies worth!  Our only complaint was that after a promising start, our waitress became a bit moody, forgetful and inefficient for some reason.  It was too bad as I was thinking 4 ½ to 5 stars on my rating scale.  Still, we would recommend this restaurant if you’re ready to splurge!
Fiddle River Seafood Company is located on the 2nd floor at 620 Connaught Drive in Jasper Alberta.  Phone: (780) 852- 3032.  To learn more about this restaurant, go to http://www.fiddleriverrestaurant.com/Fiddle_River/Home.html.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

5 comments:

  1. You both had great sounding meals and I'm sure I would have been delighted with either.

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  2. Great meals and I've had that beer in Austria! Great beer and gorgeous country there! Good with the RR bit and yummy dessert also. Hope you and Laurie had the best Thanksgiving with lots of good food. We had a crowd here and things are finally back to normal today! Have a good rest of the weekend, my friend!

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  3. Dear Dave, What a nice meal you both had. I am glad that you and Laurie enjoyed your food. I never ate elk! I am glad that you liked it though.
    The dessert looks wonderful!
    Blessings, Catherine

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