Highwood (SAIT)

It hurts me to write this review. I don’t really know why our experience is so much different than everyone else’s on here, but wow… what a disappointing dining experience. Perhaps our friends have hyped it up too much for us. Perhaps our expectations were set way too high. We keep making excuses in different scenarios yet I cannot get over the fact how much I disliked tonight’s dinner. Here’s the full scope…

Highwood is a dining room on the SAIT Campus where most of the “staff” are students currently enrolled in their programs so they all have different roles. As such, because I thought they are actually learning how to work in a restaurant, I expected the experience to be perfect. Instead my friends and I kept discussing on the various things that happened or didn’t. Here are some examples:
• Water glasses were never automatically refilled.
• Wine glasses were not removed until much later even though we indicated we did not want wine.
• Empty bread platter sat for a long time, was asked twice if we wanted more bread to which we indicated no, but it was not removed until the end! Neither were the little side plates.
• A butter spreader was given to my friend as her knife who ordered the tuna entree.
• Our server kept dropping our utensils every time he cleared our plates. Like, I mean every single time.

Yes, these are my very critical notes. However, I thought these are things that should have more carefully attended to because that’s what you’re learning in this program. Am I wrong?

Highwood - Bread Basket

Starter Bread

A nice variety but all served cold… my favorite was the cornbread.

Highwood - Duck Croquette

Duck Croquette

This was a great starter and we thought it would be a good indicator of how the rest of the meal would go, but boy… were we wrong.  However, the croquettes were nicely flavorful and fried just lightly.  I especially enjoyed that large chunk of duck breast but I did find it a tad too rare.

Highwood - Raw Carte - Scallop

Raw Carte

This was the special from the raw carte and it was something of a scallop carpaccio.

Highwood - Mushroom “Pho” (1)

Highwood - Mushroom “Pho” (2)

Mushroom “Pho”

So when our server was pouring the broth, he just kind of dumped it out and roughly knocked everything apart.  I was expecting something like at Q Haute where the servers would carefully tip the pitcher, let the broth slowly flow out and then pour it in circular motions around the saucer.

This was awkward to eat. The broth was definitely not good. I’m not sure what it really tasted like except it did not taste like the usual pho broth. It’s interesting to note that the “pho” is a sheet of rice paper wrapped up. I didn’t really enjoy the presentation It was also quite salty. Our server saw that we left more than half of the broth behind and asked us what didn’t we like about it, and we gave him our honest opinions. He said he would tell the kitchen. At that point I would expect someone to come talk to us about it but no one came by.

Highwood - Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Soup of the night.  RW said it tasted like broccoli and cheddar.  That’s a good thing I guess?

Highwood - Miso Glazed Tofu Salad

Miso Glazed Tofu Salad

K’s salad.  She didn’t like the grilled pear and the dressing (whatever it was) was too sweet and was not a good complement to the already sweet pear.

Highwood - Beef Carpaccio Salad (1)

Highwood - Beef Carpaccio Salad (2)

Beef Carpaccio Salad

I quite liked the innovative presentation of this salad but sadly, the flavors were not there.  The salad was very lightly dressed and the beef was very bland.

Highwood - Seared Albacore Tuna

Seared Albacore Tuna

By the looks of it, I thought the tuna chunks were too thick and seared too much.

Highwood - Alberta Beef Striploin

Alberta Striploin

This is where things went even more south… like really south.  I have never had a piece of steak as tough as this.  While I’ve never ate shoe leather before, I could not help but compare this to it.  You cannot convince me that this is striploin, and if it was, it must’ve been a really cheap cut that was sliced wrong.  Despite of the pretty grill marks, the steak was overcooked to my liking.  Then that medallion on the right side was the short rib but it tasted sweet and jerky like.  I honestly don’t know why I didn’t send this back… maybe because we waited so long for our mains that I didn’t want to wait any further for a different one.

Highwood - Monte Cristo

Monte Crisco – $5.00

This was extra from the set menu, but we did enjoy watching the student making it! I will have to say their alcohol prices are actually really low comparing to other restaurants.  Like pretty much all other restaurants.

Highwood - Honey Apple

Honey Apple

Highwood - Lemon Meringue

Lemon Meringue

Highwood - Special

Honey soaked cake with olive ice cream

Highwood - Chocolate Passion

Chocolate Passion

When dessert ends up being the best course of your meal, you know there is a problem… everything was pretty good except for the rosemary ice cream in the first one and the olive ice cream in the third – a bit too exotic for me.

We were pretty tired near the end (entire meal took over three hours) and then our server came by and see if we wanted anything else.  We simply asked for our bills and said we’re all paying separately.  He runs off, comes back five minutes later and actually asked us how we’re splitting it. Um… RW and AC ordered the monte crisco, K and I didn’t, so how do you think we should split it? Another two minutes went by he comes back with the billfolds where we quickly place our credit cards in and he runs off again.  Yet another minute later he comes back and tells us to go pay at the front as the lady there has a few questions she wants to go over with us.  Ok… we thought we were expected to do an evaluation of some sort.  Nope.  We stood in line to pay with zero verbal exchange with said lady.  Wow.  I really, really wish we could’ve done an evaluation but we got the message that they didn’t care or wasn’t looking for feedback.

This was an absolute disappointing meal.  The food was not good and I felt that we paid way too much for what we received.  It is very unlikely that I will return even though I was looking forward to trying the lunch buffet one day…

The Highwood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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