Today’s Weekly Dish checks out the food at two of the better-publicized, bigger, new brewpubs, Campio downtown and Polar Park in Old Strathcona.
Polar Park Brewing is the brainchild of Robert Oeming, grandson of the late, great Al Oeming, the colourful owner of the long-defunct Alberta Game Farm/Polar Park private zoo.
Polar Park is finally open after years of renovation, in the attractive former Bee Bell Bakery building in Old Strathcona. The attractive interior uses Polar Park references as its theme.
At Polar Park, chef Trevor Connie (ex-Corso 32, Cibo) has created one of the most interesting menus in town — establishing Polar Park as much for its food as its beer.
Of course chicken wings, fries and burgers are beer-obligatory. But they are scattered among more interesting options like pimento ricotta, steak tartar, charred cauliflower, lamb shank and pork belly.
Everything at Polar Park was excellent. A beautiful crisp batter surrounded the creamiest of whipped potato and parmesan cheese in the potato croquette.
The steak tartar is fabulous — a generous dollop of moist, ground, high-end steak, full of garlic and pickled mustard seeds that popped in the mouth. The tartar was presented with an embedded swirl of potato chips to bring the tartar from plate to mouth.
The pork belly strip was luscious, soft and rich — with an unusual shaved Brussels sprouts topping, a touch of apple and a rarely seen cauliflower puree.
Everything at both brewpubs went great with the home-brewed beers!