We went to Select (formerly Cafe Select) to celebrate an anniversary. Reservations were made by Open Table, a quick and reliable way of making reservations. They didn’t appear to be needed however, because January 3 seemed to be a night most everyone in Edmonton decided to stay in. When we arrived, there was only one other table of two, Michael and I had the place to ourselves most of the night.
My first reaction to the lack of customers was that the night could go one of two ways. Service will will either be fantastic, or non-existent. Happy to say, that they had two servers working, and the service was perfect. Attentive, intuitive, friendly, and accessible. We weren’t blasted with over-the-top food romance – I’ve had a little bit too much of that in 2012/2013, and am weary of having to smile politely at our server while they reach an orgasm beside our table while describing the demi glace.
The place is comfortable. The tables are nicely spaced, the chairs comfortable for a long night in. There is a bar, and above it three television screens. Michael was thrilled to see Man with the Golden Gun playing on all three screens. I was content to sit under a framed picture of Pierce Brosnan. If you are a James Bond fan, this is the place to go. Sports fans don’t have to twitch. The middle screen will play whatever important game happens to be on that night. The screens are in plain site, but the volume is off so it doesn’t take away from the evening.
As we were celebrating, I started with a single serving bottle of Prosecco. Michael had a good old fashioned Caesar with an appetizer sized garnish of pickled asparagus spear and giant green olive. Both were delicious.
The ubiquitous basket of bread was brought to the table along with some herbed butter. The bread was aromatic, dense and chewy, fresh and warm. If you vowed to eat less carbs in 2014, I would advise you to tell your server to not bring the bread at all, because I promise you, once it hits the table, you will eat it. Yes you will.
Our appetizers were the tartare, which was YUMMY, albeit done with a coarser chop than we are used to, as well as a small plate of the mesclun greens, which in themselves was fresh and delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the pistachio vinaigrette.
Michael chose the seared arctic char for his main, and I went with the beef tenderloin along with a lobster tail. All of it was delicious and did not disappoint. I had my first experience with Brussels sprouts – they were honey glazed. Honey glaze any vegetable, and I think I would eat it.
Our wine selection for the evening was a nicely priced and delicious Malbec. Our evenings of studying the wine menu are over, especially when dining at a place that has knowledgeable staff. If you have a smart server, tell them what you are thinking of having for supper, discuss your price point, and let them decide for you. This is what happened here, and our Malbec was perfect.
We ended the night with a shared crème brulée, which we never tire of. Sharing is done with a close eye on each others spoonful lest someone take more than their half. Select’s crème brulée has the perfect crunchy top and smooth silky custard, just as it should be.
If you haven’t been to Select yet, consider it for an intimate evening with great food, service and ambiance.