Yesterday, Michael and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary by having our supper at the Red Ox Inn.
The Red Ox Inn is located in the peaceful community of Strathearn, in a quaint 1950’s ish strip mall, which also houses Centre d’arts visuels de l’Alberta (CAVA), a place we like to hang out on Friday evenings to view new art created by local artists. It’s a great little mall, surrounded by residential homes, a nice supply of angle parking out front, and an assortment of shops from coffee, gifts, yoga, massage, an accountant and embroidery shop.
We have often walked by the Red Ox Inn and peeked in the windows, and each time the place was full. Attempts to make same-day reservations have always failed. Michael made us reservations a few weeks in advance using Open Table with no problems.
We arrived, and our table was ready. It’s a comfortable, cozy room. In my sight line I had a large table containing a multi-generational family, with the youngest making noises like uuuuuurrrrrrgggggmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaahhhhhh, as they do when either a) they are frustrated they haven’t learned the language yet, and/or b) are constipated.
On the other side of the room another large multi-generational table with a new born baby the size of a pineapple that breast fed for the entire time it took us to order our Prosecco and appetizer, eat our appetizer and drink the Prosecco, and get our mains.
Along our wall, we had a young couple at the far end that were deeply involved in an iPhone app for the duration of their dinner. Next to them and us were two tables of two with couples round about Michael’s and my age, the men in the chairs facing the wall, us women keeping tabs on the goings on in the restaurant.
Each of the men, except Michael, ordered the duck and had the worried expression one has when its announced that they cook the duck just under medium rare and then wonder how rare that means. Okay, maybe they weren’t thinking that. I certainly wasn’t thinking that. Until I got my duck, and it seemed to be about two minutes under, under medium rare. I have absolutely no doubt that my duck would have been discreetly returned to the kitchen and given a few more minutes of heat had I asked, but its one of those things. It was still edible and quite delicious, and by sending it back, it offs the timing of the rest of the meal. So I sucked it up. But as I’m still thinking about it, I probably should have returned it to the kitchen.
The truth is, when the kitchen door would flap open, I’d see a man in a kilt back there. I’m sure this kilted man is the vision of peace of light himself, but one side of my brain has visions of my returned duck causing a Scottish fury and have him come out shouting hoot mon’s and och och och’s, brandishing a broadsword screaming, red faced, “Who doesn’t appreciate my under-medium rare duck?” and then muttering profanities. As there were two little children in the room, I didn’t think it would be good to upset the peaceful atmosphere, so again, I sucked it up.
Our appetizer was the smoked salmon served on celery root and was quite tasty. Michael had the flank steak, which was served perfectly under, under medium rare. It was a delicious piece of beef, and was accompanied by leek and shallot bread pudding, broccolini spears, and crimini sauce.
My duck was sweetened with roast carrots and red pepper, and accompanied with a few gnocchi and goat cheese. It was a refreshing change to have duck served with something other than the usual cherry accompaniment this city seems to be stuck on.
For dessert, Michael chose a lemony Earl Grey pudding with apple compote that he loved. I chose the cambozola cheese, served in a giant soup bowl with a delicate jelly and candied walnuts. It was a nice ending to our meal.
The service was absolutely flawless. The menu is diverse and exciting, the wine selection varied and with a wide spectrum of price ranges. Would we go again? Absolutely.
The best part of the evening though, with full tummies and feeling the after-glow of a bottle of Prosecco, was our after dinner walk through Strathearn. The neighbourhood is pretty, the sidewalks all cleared of snow, the houses still lit with Christmas lights and trees in windows. A few blocks away we were standing along the edge of the river valley looking over downtown. It was refreshing and nice way to end the meal.
The Red Ox Inn is located at 9420 91 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta. Phone 780-465-5727.
If you are able to walk, the Red Ox Inn is easily accessed using any bus that runs along Connors Road, such as the #8. Give it a few years though, and the LRT will be stopping close by too.