Location: Whyte Ave
I had a lovely dinner at Murrieta's on Whyte Ave the other night and took advantage of the Telus Tuesday promotion that is going on for the month of may (I previously posted about this). Today, with the purchase of an entree, you receive a complimentary appetizer and dessert, per person. Obviously, who wouldn't take advantage of that great deal. Surprisingly the place was very quiet, but then again we were there at 7:30 on a random Tuesday night so then again I did not really expect it to be that busy.
I've been meaning to try out this place for quite a while but never quite made it until tonight. The interior was beautiful; high ceilings, dark wooden floors and cabinetry, soft lighting, handsome shuttered windows. The restaurant featured a dinning area, bar, outdoor patio, and a more casual dining area surrounding a fire place and boasted a tall floor to ceiling dark wood wine cabinet. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the interior, but their website provides a glimpse of what it looks like inside. During dinner time it is a white table cloth sort of place.
For appetizers we ordered the P.E.I mussels with chorizo sausage (15$) and calamari with sambal aioli (10$). I read some great reviews about the mussels so I was excited to try them. We received a large pot of steaming mussels in a tomato onion broth to which we quickly inhaled. The muscles were cooked perfectly and the broth was very rich and flavorful. My only complaint about the mussels is that I found the broth to be over salted. However, because it was so liquid and we were not slurping down the broth, it was tolerable.
The calamari was less to brag about. I really did not enjoy it and think that a walk down the road to OPA would have certainly been a better choice for calamari. They were little battered calamari segments that were almost soggy. The sambal aioli had no taste, whatever the taste was, it disappeared in about a millisecond after putting it in your mouth. Would not order again and do not recommend it, you can find better calamari at other places.
For dinner I had the Chicken Supreme (21$) which was a jalapeno stuffed pan seared chicken breast with mashed sweet potato and corn, asparagus, grilled vegetables, and topped with a sun dried tomato reduction. The chicken breast was perfectly cooked, however I found it to be lacking in flavor. the crispy pan seared skin was nice and did give some flavor, but the meat itself was nothing special. I have to say, I think I enjoyed the sweet potato and corn mash and the asparagus more than the chicken itself. The jalapeno slice inside the chicken did not do much to enhance the flavor of the chicken and lost most of its flavor during cooking. I was rather disappointed in the lack of flavor of the chicken and would without a doubt recommend The Copper Pot's chicken supreme over this one. However, I recognize Murietta for giving this dish a go, unfortunately however, I think it was lacking a bit in both flavor and interest.
My dining companion, the birthday boy, ordered the Brome Lake Pan Seared Duck (28$) ordered rare and came with some sort of reduction, a medley of steamed vegetables, and lemon potatoes if I remember correctly. I had a bite of the duck and did not really know what to make of it, I'm not a fan of rare meat and I got a fatty piece of skin/meat, so I don't think it would be fair for me to comment of the quality of the dish. However, he quite enjoyed it and took a liking to duck having been his first time eating it.
For dessert I ordered the vanilla bean creme brule (9$) which was accompanied by half a cookie and a cinnamon whip. Having had creme brule many times, I was surprised that this creme brule was served at room temperature and had the texture of butter, and not the whipped kind. I broke through the hard caramelized sugar top which exposed a creamy custard dotted with vanilla bean seeds. I guess the texture could be described as being similar to the inside of a Lindt white chocolate ball. I can't say I liked it very much. Flavor wise it was good, but the buttery texture made me feel like I was eating pure lard or something.
My partner had the banana foster with a vanilla peanut butter ice cream cake (9$) and it was very very good. The carmel sauce was very buttery and had a strong banana flavor which worked well with the cold peanut butter flavored ice cream. The sauteed bananas however were undercooked and could have stood to be cooked for longer until they were softer and caramelized, but it was alright. Overall a good dessert that I found better than the brule.
My overall experience at Murrieta's was good, great atmosphere, good food, very good service. I do think however that the food could be improved to enhance its standing as a fine restaurant.