My wife and I were recently invited to have dinner at Atlas Steak and Fish — to get the “full experience” of the restaurant. So, consider this a disclaimer, one that should be included any time a media member or blogger or Instagram influencer is invited to eat at any dining establishment.
We went on a Sunday evening, through the Starlight Casino entrance at West Edmonton Mall, then a quick run up the steps to the second floor. Atlas is nicely separated from the casino; it’s well-shielded from the clinks and beeps of the slot machines a floor below.
It’s an open space, with tables tucked along the wall, surrounded by tan leather couches. Servers wear white shirts and aprons, like steak houses from a generation ago. They also do some tableside service, like salad made in front of the diners, or a baked Alaska that’s subjected to the camera-ready blue flame. While the feel at Atlas is distinctly modern, there’s a definite nod to old restaurant traditions, that the meals itself should be an experience that’s more than what’s on the plate.
And, after the server poured us some champagne to start, he brought out some bruschetta and — retro alert — Oysters Rockefeller to start. Champagne and oysters is always a winning combination, but I haven’t had them cooked with a generous helping of melted cheese in a long time. The bruschetta was rich with garlic, and to make it truly “gastro,” the balsamic vinegar was encapsulated in pearls that dotted the chopped tomatoes. Our server used the words “it explodes with flavour” a lot. I liked that. And, yes, the pearls made this a fun dish to share.
Our mains were the Josper grilled salmon and the prime rib dinner. The prime rib is big; it is basically a dinner for three or four people. My wife ordered it medium rare, it was soft and perfectly cooked, and came with creamy mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. Yes, there’s a retro theme here.
The Josper is a Brazilian brand well known for charcoal cookery, and the salmon was so tender, it fell apart with the touch of the fork. And the skin was nicely crisp, as it should be. You don’t eat fish skin? Live a little, it might be the best part. My wife and I shared the dishes and we had plenty left over to bring to the kids at home. The rest of the prime rib did not survive the rest of the evening.