Last week I had the honour to be invited to Rouge in the Inglewood neighbourhood here in Calgary.
When it comes to Calgary restaurants, Rouge is known for setting the bar for excellence in consistency and quality.
Does the previous statement sound like a hyperbole? A food writer pouring on the praise a little too thick? Well when a restaurant has been named to the S. Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurants, I think it’s justified.
Having said all of this, my expectations for Rouge were very, very high.
My date and I arrived at Rouge on a snowy Tuesday evening in April. To people outside of Calgary snow in April may sound out of place; to Calgarians, it’s an expected part of “spring”.
The restaurant, set in the A.E. Cross heritage home, was a cozy atmosphere lacking in pretension or stuffiness. This is not to say, however, that it was not elegant.
Everything at Rouge was done professionally, and the dining room was no exception. The homey elegance of the room allows you to relax, and let the food be the star.
And that star shone bright.
Every course at Rouge was immaculately prepared. The plating was so artistic that Monet could have used Rouge as a muse for still life paintings.
The plating wasn’t the only place where artistic genius poked its welcome head. The daring nature of the wine parings – particularly the dessert wine served with the foie gras – added yet another layer of world-class to the meal.
All of this praise, and I have barely mentioned the food. Well, Rouge couldn’t have been featured in every food publication across Canada since opening without exceptional food.
Everything in Rouge is made in-house. Everything. Including the butter. When I was told the butter for our bread was churned in-house, I knew we were dining at a special place. The mere mention of home-made butter gave me an image of the Cross family servants churning butter in the exact same home 100 years ago.
The butter goes to show that nothing is left to chance. The food is done to their standard, by their people, and these details showed in the end product. Our main was an elk dish which was quite simply one of the best main courses I have ever ate. This level of food quality is not attained unless absolute perfection is the final goal.
Our final course was a homemade (of course) marshmallow dipped in chocolate, with a truffle on the side. We finished off the meal with a finely prepared coffee. It goes without saying that our final course was as fantastic as the rest of the meal.
Throughout the entire evening the staff were friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. It was evident that the employees took pride in being a part of such a special restaurant. Every employee whom I talked with had a genuine passion for food and hospitality. This did not go unnoticed.
The night we had at Rouge was a world-class dining experience not to be outdone in New York, Paris, London or Tokyo. Paul Rogalski and Oliver Reynaud have created at Rouge a Calgary restaurant which has earned every accolade it has received.
Rouge is truly world-class.
Location:1240 8 Ave SE Calgary, AB, Canada
Hours:Lunch: Monday — Friday
11:30 am to 1:30 pm Dinner: Monday — Saturday
5:00 pm to Close
Contact Info:Phone: 1.403.531.2767 Website: www.rougecalgary.com