{Dining out: The delicious return of Catch Restaurant and Oyster Bar}

Last Thursday, me and the boy were invited to the media launch of the newly renovated award-winning seafood restaurant  Catch & the Oyster Bar (located in the heart of downtown on Stephen Avenue). The restaurant had closed its doors for two months this past summer for renovations and returned with a new look and feel, while still retaining the classic cuisine they’re famous for.

Catch has always been on my top list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. I’ve enjoyed several great meals here, my most memorable being our 3rd year anniversary dinner where we enjoyed the Chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings in their dining room upstairs. So when I found out we had the chance to try out their newly revamped menu and sneak a peek at the new space a day before their officially opening, I jumped at the chance.

Plus, it’s an awesome excuse for a swanky date night 🙂

When we arrived, we were led into the newly refreshed Oyster bar (located on the main level). The bright open space offers a full view of the kitchen and a semi-circle bar lined with stools showcasing their fresh oysters on ice, bringing a new interactive experience to the dining guests.

We enjoyed a selection of freshly shucked oysters served with our choice of accompaniment (my favourite was the Chinook Farm honey mignonette).

And seemingly bottomless glasses of bubbly Prosecco, all enjoyed while we scanned the newly designed menu.

It was great to see that Catch works closely with Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program to promote sustainable fishing and consumption to preserve the oceans. Another nice touch was the mention of the fisherman’s names and their boats that provide the seafood for their restaurant.

The richly detailed creamy white ceiling is a nice contrast to the dark wood in the space. 

Shortly after, we were invited upstairs to the dining room. The space looks VERY different than how we had remembered it from our last visit. Dark wood tables replace the white linens and these new rustic art pieces hang above the bright white kitchen.

To tie in the heritage of the building, a large metal bank box display proudly shimmers on the right wall, a great piece to catch your eye as you first enter the dining room.

The left wall is lined with rows of wine categorized according to region.

And their paper wine list is replaced with an IPAD to enhance the dining experience. Very cool.

We seated ourselves at a table by the kitchen and began our sampling of their culinary apertifs, appetizers and entrees – served with a selection of red and white wines by the glass.

*Warning: images and descriptions may cause involuntary drooling and hunger pangs*

#1 Daikon and cucumber cevichewhisper thin tendrils dressed in chili, lime, ginger, cilantro sesame and topped with spicy watercress.

#2 Qualicum Beach Scallop Ceviche –  topped with finger lime caviar and confit of meyer lemon. This was sweet delicate and just melted in your mouth.

#3 Wild BC Albacore Tuna –  marinated in togarashi, yuzu and topped with seedlings.

#4 Poached BC spot prawn – served on a bed of cucumber and pickled watermelon rind salad with a  pinot gris sauce.

#5 Hawaiian Yellow Fin Tunawrapped in double smoked bacon on a bed of white navy bean, sundried tomato and artichoke barigoule.

#6 Wild BC Pink Salmonconfit heirloom tomatoes, asparagus spears and fondant blue potatoes.

#7 Organic Ocean’s Trap Caught BC Spot Prawnspoached in foie gras oil served atop a Alberta shiso leaf.

#8 Wild Alaskan Sable Fish shaved fennel & radish salad, eggplant ravioli and burnt mandarin orange beurre blanc.

#9 Diamond Willow Braised Alberta Short Ribcooked to perfection and served with Lund carrot puree and glazed root vegetables.

#10 Tomato Tartar – Shallot-cider vinegar reduction, lemon oil and micro basil. I loved the sheer simplicity of this dish and the fact that the sweet and bright flavours of the tomato was the star of the show.

#11 Qualicum Beach Scallops & Alberta Veal Cheeks served with a cauliflower and truffle emulsion, sautéed wild BC mushrooms and gremolata. My favourite dish of the night, that veal cheek was was one of the most tender and flavourful meats I’ve had.

#12 Wild BC Ling Cod served with a creamy corn risotto, golden Saskatchewan chanterelles, & watercress pistou.

#13 Pura Vida Farms Beef Tatakimarinated in a ginger & soy emulsion and sesame seed tuiles.

#14 BC Kusshi Oyster – this one won the award for best presentation. The dish was brought to the table covered in glass filled with a cloud of hickory smoke. The server lifts the glass and reveals the oyster on a bed of burning embers on a mound of salt.

And finally, dessert! 

#15 Triple layer chocolate cake – topped with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

#16 Pecan toffee cake served with a caramel sauce and a cranberry ice cream.

#17 Pumpkin Creme Bruleecreamy and decadent and perfectly spiced – so perfect for Fall. This was our favourite sweet of the night.

#18 Profiterolesfilled with an apricot and saffron cream and drizzled with chocolate. The combination was rather unusual, we were both on the fence about the flavour of the cream filled center. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Big thanks to executive chef Kyle Groves,  his culinary team and the friendly and knowledgable dining staff for an unforgettable evening of delicious eats and drinks. We could not have asked for a better date night. And as a bonus, we both won gift certificates for two glasses of sparkling wine and a half a dozen oysters (woo hoo!).

Next time we come back, I’ll DEFINITELY be ordering that veal cheek..

Catch and the Oyster Bar – 100 8th Ave., SE on Stephen Avenue Walk  |  Main phone: 403.206.0000

Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to “{Dining out: The delicious return of Catch Restaurant and Oyster Bar}”
  1. I am definitely a fan of Catch as well. It is the best choice for seafood in Calgary! But I might have to make a trip, just for that chocolate cake!!!

  2. Tatiana says:

    That whole menu looks to die for. Genuinely can’t wait to go back and check the new space out.

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