RGE RD Untamed Cuisine
I’m a Doctor – Victoria Oaken Gin, Lillet, Honey, Lemon, Fresh Thyme, Rhubarb Bitters
Wood Oven Baked Whole Wheat and White Bread – Herb Butter
Grizzly Gouda & Potato Pierogies – Boar Bacon, White Onion Cream, Warm Cabbage Slaw
Goose Rillette Tart – Mascarpone Cheese, Grilled Pear, Roasted Onions
Hunter’s Stew – Bison Meatballs, Goose Offal Sausage, Potato Gnocchi, Mushrooms, Tomato, Wilted Greens, Brown Bread
Kitchen Board – Bison Sausage, Alberta All-Beef Corn Dogs, House Butchered and Cured Ham, Sylvan Star Gouda, Picked Carrots and Potatoes, House Mustard, House BBQ Sauce, Flatbread, Whole Wheat Bread
Scorched Honey Pudding – Canele and Butter Crumble
Pouding Chomeur – Skillet Cake, Honey-Caramel Sauce, Raspberry Ice Cream
Describing a restaurant as Untamed brings about a certain idea – images of Wild Game, Offal and Stews cooking over an open flame or in cast iron, for example – and it was with those thoughts in mind that dinner was booked at RGE RD Thursday evening, the space decorated in wood, brick and furs turning out good food, even though none of it is actually ‘wild.’
Opened by Chef Blair Lebsack in 2014, and garnering accolades as one of Canada’s best places to eat ever since, RGE RD began as a series of Farm Dinners that continue to be offered during warmer weather and despite going brick and mortar the focus of the concept remains whole-animal butchery and the region’s best produce, the nightly “RGE RD Trip” Carte Blanche expanding boundaries further, though the menu on this night seemed a bit too Coastal, thus giving added appeal to an a la carte order.
Featuring a refined-casual manner of service, the middle-age gentleman serving banquets along the wall clearly a veteran with extensive knowledge about the food and restaurant’s build-out, it was with warnings of “overordering” ignored that three plates plus housemade Breads and a board of Charcuterie were requested, the Maple burning around 380°C imparting a great bit of smoke in White and Wheat slices served with Herb Butter.
Explaining that even “wild” game in Canada must be farm raised, worries of contamination during dressing of field Meats as much a concern up North as it is back home, it was with an appropriately named Cocktail rife with herbal notes that the first appetizer arrived, two creamy pockets of locally produced Gouda and mashed Potatoes in a stone bowl with crispy Boar Bacon bathed in the creamy essence of Onions with next to lightly sweetened purple Cabbage.
Passing on a daily special of Kidney Pie due to the more appealing prospect of roast and shredded Goose Thigh plus its Liver in a crisp shell atop Mascarpone with Pears, my idea of what ‘untamed’ means was part-met by Hunter’s Stew served in a wide-rimmed white vessel, the lean orbs of Bison playing off funky sausage, melt-in-the-mouth Dumplings and a lightly acidic Broth with a small hunk of Rye Bread for dunking.
Not holding back on the Kitchen Board, a $29CAD wooden tray served after a brief tour of the Meal locker and kitchen, those looking for a sharable starter are strongly encouraged to inquire about nightly offerings, the big links of Bison Sausage and Alberta All-Beef Corn Dogs enough to provide a few bites of each to a party of four, though the house-butchered Ham was unfortunately a little overwhelmed by its Barbecue Sauce topping.
Unable to choose just one dessert, but cutting myself off at two due to one more restaurant visit planned for later, it is only in retrospect that I regret not going all-in for all five sweets as the Scorched Honey Pot de Crème with a slightly spongy Canele was very good, while the steamy Pouding Chomeur was the best dessert enjoyed during eight days in Alberta.