This past week I was invited to continue my trek through Calgary’s best restaurants with a trip to Brava Bistro on 17th Ave.
Before dining with Brava I was invited to meet with Dewey, the smiling face at the helm of Brava’s management. Dewey and I got along well right from the beginning, partially because of our shared passion for great food being shared with great people. He invited me and a friend to dine with his team at Brava to see their philosophy in action.
My friend and I arrived at Brava Bistro on a busy Tuesday night. We were both surprised to see such a packed house at 8:15pm on a Tuesday, which immediately left an impression.
The dining room is upscale casual in decor. It’s a space where you can feel comfortable spending time with family and friends, without feeling out of place in a sharp pair of jeans and a sweater. The upscale casual dining room is an extension of Dewey’s culinary philosophy, and sets the stage for his loyal patrons to enjoy themselves without pretense.
While my friend and I were waiting for our first course, we observed Dewey mingling with his guests (I’d say patrons, but they really are guests at Brava.) The importance he puts on giving his guests a great experience shines through, and was evident before we even received our first plate.
When our first plate did arrive, it was a treat from the sea. Scallops have always been a favourite of mine, and these were brined, seared, and served to perfection with a great spring flair of grapefruit and avocado.
During the course of our dinner Dewey and Andrea, the new head chef at Brava Bistro, sat down with us to discuss some of the menu changes, and their guiding food philosophies. Both Vince and I really enjoyed hearing the background on the dishes, the guiding principals which they hold dear, and learning about the complete overhaul of Brava’s menu recently.
When Andrea was brought on board it was a perfect opportunity to overhaul the menu and to push Brava even further. Andrea had studied and worked in Toronto before coming to Brava. It was great to have a chance to meet her, and at one point I asked her what drives her culinary experimentation, and she said:
“It may sound cliche, however I believe in letting the ingredients do most of the talking for themselves. The easiest, most economical, and most sustainable way in which to do this is to buy local. I know that eating local is kind of trendy right now, but it’s something I’ve always believed, and I hope this trend stays around.”
This philosophy was evident in my main which was locally sourced lamb, with a side of fresh organic greenhouse baby carrots, and chick peas cooked in homemade bacon (yes they were as delicious as they sound.) The main was evidence to the care and philosophical principles which have been constructed at Brava. The whole plate was delicious, and had complementary flavours which went together perfectly.
My friend had the roast chicken main, and it was equally great. The wild rice side went absolutely perfectly with the chicken. The juiciness and flavour of the bird couldn’t have been achieved if there wasn’t a level of pride in the source of their food. This definitely was not store-bought, freezer-dried poultry which your mom may have over-cooked for your childhood dinners.
Our fabulous meal ended with dessert, port, and coffee over more conversation with Dewey. I am a huge dessert fan, and the gingerbread dessert alone is good enough to warrant a trip to Brava Bistro. It is a new dish to their menu, and they are in the trial basis for this particular dessert. If I had a vote, it would become a mainstay. Imagine a warm baked gingerbread cookie, still soft, covered in freshly made vanilla bean ice cream. There were other gooey goodies in the dish, but I couldn’t quite place them as I savoured every spoonful.
Eating at Brava Bistro is a fun experience; as dining should be. The food is great, the staff are fantastic (thanks Denise for serving us!) and the atmosphere sets the mood for a great evening. The world needs more people as passionate about what they’re doing as Dewey and Andrea are at Brava.
Location:723 17 Ave SW Calgary, AB, Canada
Hours:Lunch: Monday — Saturday
11:30 am to 3:00 pm Dinner: Sunday — Wednesday
5:00 pm to 10:00 pm Thursday – Saturday 5:00 pm to Midnight
Contact Info:Phone: 1.403.228.1854 Website: www.bravabistro.com