The Ranche was introduced to me by several coworkers who claimed that it was a must try. As it is fine dining, I just had to save it for a special occasion as I eat out more than enough anyway, so this was the Birthday meal from hubby. My friend I says I always complain about traveling down to the South and I don’t think she can disagree with me about how far south Fish Creek is! Anyways, the restaurant itself looks like an antique house and I like the cozy, rustic feel to it. I can see why many people have their weddings here – like my coworker did!
Here’s what we tried tonight:
Ranche Made Bison Brisket Ravioli – $16
Goat Cheese Ricotta, Fig Glaze, Bone Marrow, Sage
Hubby chose this as his starter and for days he could not stop raving how much he enjoyed it. I only tried half a piece, and I thought the pasta was perfectly al dente and it was stuffed with a filling of tender, melt-in-your-mouth brisket in a slightly sweet sauce, coupled with the creamy ricotta cheese. There were just so many flavors going on in this delicate dish. I would love to have this as an entree.
Game Meat Tartare – $18
Egg Yolk, Fingerling Potato Chips, Arugula Chimichurri
As I love tartar, I had to choose this. It was hard because I wanted the caribou as my main but I didn’t want a game meat tartare and a game meat entree. So I convinced hubby to get the caribou as his main so I can taste it, and still get the tartar to start… best of both worlds. I’m such a food dictator 🙂 The game meat used for this tartar was caribou and bison, and they were cut to very tiny pieces which transformed to a fine, slippery texture. The meat was seasoned beautifully and it didn’t have a strong game taste to it either. Mixing it with the egg yolk and chimichurri sauce made everything even creamier and it was just such a delight to eat with the housemade chips.
57°C Wild Northern Caribou – $39
Yam Purée, Beans & Bacon, Chocolate Infused Veal Glaze, Crispy Shallot Rings
I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried caribou before, but in my mind I was expecting a very lean (and maybe dry, due to low fat content) piece of meat. This was definitely lean, but as it was cooked to about a medium the meat was still very tender and quite robust in flavor. The green beans were still quite crunchy and I love how creamy the yam puree was.
Brome Lake Duck Breast – $34
Citrus Chive Gnocchi, Wilted Spinach, Orange & Maple Reduction
I am so glad I got this. This is easily the best seared duck breast entree I have ever tasted – all thanks to the orange and maple reduction. It was light, sweet, citrus-y, orange-y and just complemented the duck so well that I can’t believe no other restaurant makes it this way. I know orange sauces pairs with duck quite well but to actually taste such a delicious sauce was just… honestly, I’m speechless. It was absolutely delicious and I want to eat this again. And again. And again! The duck itself was seared to about a medium with a nice layer of fat between the tender meat and the crispy skin. The spinach was lightly wilted and the gnocchi was not your traditional thick and chewy version, rather, it was soft, creamy and had an aromatic chive flavor – all tasted absolutely wonderful with the reduction.
Hazelnut Pot du Creme – $10
Whipped Crème Frâiche, Strawberry Compote, Chocolate Wafers
Hubby was thinking of getting his usual creme brulee, but he decided to try something new. Honestly, how can whipped creme fraiche not taste good? The creme was light, airy and not overly sweet with hazelnut flavors. Our neighbors behind us couldn’t get enough and actually kept scraping the inside of his jar clean, haha! I didn’t try the compote, but the wafers were chocolatey and so soft that they crumbled to the touch.
Sticky Toffee Pudding – $10
Forty Creek Whisky Ice Cream, Citrus Candied Pecans
Yes, my hot and cold dessert. I was worried the ice cream would be too strong in liquor taste, but it wasn’t and neutralized (in a good way) the sweet toffee sauce. The pudding was perfectly moist and I enjoyed the crunchiness of the sweet candied pecans.
Service was what you would expect in a fine dining establishment – attentive, professional and efficient. We really enjoyed our meals tonight and the overall experience was just wonderful. Do note that they are moving to Lake Bonavista in early 2014 but for the remainder of 2013 you can still dine at the current location, which I can’t wait to visit.