Finding a refined dining experience on the Calgary Trail/Gateway Boulevard strip can be a challenge. This is the domain of fast-food chains, drive-thrus and chains. If you’re speeding by on Calgary Trail just south of the Whitemud, it can be easy to miss the Stanhope Eatery and Bar; after all, it’s oh so close to a burger joint, and is across the parking lot from a Lowe’s Home Improvement outlet.
But, inside, you’ll find deep leather seats and high-backed lounge chairs. The restaurant, opened by Jeet and Yuliya Arora, opened its doors last year, and features a menu that borrows from many different influences — from risotto to butter chicken to wontons, to a cold seafood platter for two. I went for the roasted half-chicken, but, being a Friday, I decided to start things off with an Old Fashioned. Actually, I would have started things off with an Old Fashioned if if was any other day, too.
So, the drink comes in two parts; a glass, filled with a large ice cube and smoke, is covered by a wood cut. The mixed drink and cherry come in a small decanter. You pull back the wood, pour the drink into the glass as smoke wafts out. You can cover it again, to seal the smoke in with the drink. But, myself, I prefer to drink what’s put in front of me. It was smooth, smoky, and one of the better Old Fashioneds I’ve had in the city.
The chicken dinner was served with red-skinned mashed potatoes and blackened peppers and asparagus; it had a flavourful herbed crust, and came with a very healthy helping of mushroom sauce. While the sauce was meant for the chicken, the herbed crust is floral enough, crispy enough, to enjoy without the sauce. Now, the potatoes, they were fair game — and made for a real smooth pairing with the earthy sauce.
The Stanhope Eatery and Bar’s menu is very ambitious, almost overwhelming. But, when it comes to the basics, it does well.
4208 Calgary Trail NW
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