Saturday, May 4, 2013

...Xocolate (Calgary)

Overall - 9/10
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Food - 9/10
Service - 9/10
Ambiance - 9/10
Xocolat on Urbanspoon



Upon recommendation from a friend (Teresa of TreesCakes, check out her amazing work), we decided to try Xocolat and see if the place lived up to it's promise of "posh Mexican cuisine".  The interior has almost a lounge feel, with dark brown furnishings and hot pink accents.  We enjoyed the look of the modern, well stocked bar and a view into the kitchen.  Our server was extremely attentive and personable, taking the time to explain every dish.  

I ordered their signature magarita, the margarita Xocolate, which had Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, tamarind, agave syrup and Tajin spice on the rim.  This was not one of my favourites, as the tamarind was quite strong and seemed to overwhelm the senses.  However, it seemed to taste better with the food.  A nice touch was the hand painted pick which according to our server was imported from Mexico.  Unfortunately, the pick held a frozen, inedible piece of tamarind.  On the other hand, they had a great selection of beers and Darrin ordered an all time favourite from our trip to Spain, the Alhambra (not pictured here).



Things got much better after the drinks:  we were offered an amuse-bouche of finely chopped prosciutto ham, onion, tomato and green onion.  This was a single bite of deliciousness, the cherry on top of what was already a pleasant surprise.



We were expecting petite sized portions for our appetizers, since they advertise "posh" cuisine.  However, the portions were generous, made with fresh ingredients and packed with balanced flavours. The Tacos de Canasta had four tacos, each containing a different filling: chicken, beef, lamb and chorizo.  Each taco had it's own spice profile and enhanced by the different salsas served on the side: salsa verde, pico de gallo, hot chile sauce and pickled radish (?).  This appetizer was a great size for sharing but would be enough for a light meal for one. 

The second appetizer we tried was the Queso con Chorizo.  This baked cheese and spicy sausage was similar to Greek saganaki, but much more creamy and meaty in flavour.  The best part of this were the freshly made tortillas.  Best by a small margin, since sausage and cheese is always a winning combination.
Moving onto the mains, we were starting to regret ordering all this food.  However, the regret vanished once they brought the dishes to our table.  I had the "Pipian"; duck breast served with foie gras (read: posh), pipian sauce, potatoes and pumpkin seeds.  The duck breast was slightly chewy which we find it can be since it was cooked medium-rare, instead of medium.  On the other hand, the pipian sauce was something we've never tried and definitely a delicious surprise.


Darrin had the Ternera, a veal chop served with a "xocolate sauce", lentils with chopped bacon and fried plantain.  The veal was tender and despite the xocolate sauce implying a sweet flavour, we found it instead, to be meaty and savoury.  Be warned- this is a very large portion.  A large, delicious, portion.



Lastly, we enjoyed the Chocoflan, a chocholate cake served with vanilla custard and tuille.  

And just when you think you can't fit in any more food, they give you your bill in a box with chocolate truffles, that had a hint of spicy chilli.  Xocolate proved that you could have posh food without the pretense.  Walking in, we weren't sure if the dishes would be worth the high prices.  Walking out, we felt like our money was well spent.  Overall, their attention to detail and hospitality made for a great experience.

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