I ate at Rock Creek when I was in Regina. Obviously they were successful enough to expand, and I see why. It was a fun night, the food was decent, and our server was excellent. The building is nice looking: modern, trendy, and cool. They have a good-sized wine, beer, and cocktail list. It was busy when we went and I think they will remain busy and popular.
Now on to specifics! The chronically late food-consuming duo of wife and I joined my aunts who had already arrived more or less on time. When they showed up, my clever aunts snatched up the only remaining table, a table for four. Makes a food blogger contemplate fatalism! Our wonderful server, about whom I will have more to say later, took our drink order, and as is my custom, I asked for a Caesar. As I have stated before, I often judge the quality of a bar by its Caesar. I feel justified for two reasons. First, most places brand their Caesar using their restaurant’s name. Second, we Caesar people are snobs. Sadly this one wasn’t very good. The “Rock Creek Caesar” had insufficient Tabasco and Worcester or Worcestershire, depending on who you ask. Not enough zip from a lack of acid, only one sad little lime slice, and a pickled bean. The bean is low on the hierarchy of the pickled accompaniments in my books. Sashimi is about subtly, whereas Caesars are about being drop kicked in the face with flavour.
Aside from the Rock Creek Caesar, we ordered one appetizer, four entrées, dessert, wine, and beverages. As an appetizer we had the Very Gouda Spinach “Fondue” (read dip). Though my wife is always a fan of spinach dips I often find them bland and boring. This was not boring. If you like Gouda you will like this dip. They are not trying to trick you by the name it has lots of Gouda. However, the dish had a sourness that needs a contrasting flavour. I would have liked some chipotle sprinkled on top. A sweeter bread, rather than the ubiquitous ‘tri-coloured nachos ‘n’ toasted pita’ would give it the much needed contrast.
Both my aunts ordered the Blackened Chicken and Barbequed Ribs in apple bourbon BBQ sauce. The chicken was not overcooked, as is all too common these days due to a hyperbolic and all-consuming fear of evil chicken germs. The ribs were tasty, but not falling off the bone tender, as I like my ribs to be. There was a fair amount of chewing to do. The veggies were properly cooked and seasoned: the potatoes tasted like potatoes, and who doesn’t like potatoes? My wife had the brie and cranberry turkey burger with yam fries. The yam fries were served with a chipotle dip. Some places use a sweet dip (like dilly honey mustard) and the sweet-on-sweet is junk. I’m glad they use chipotle dip here. Brie and bacon with meat, all inside a bun is a hard thing to criticize. My wife did, however, find a bit of gristle in the meat. Also, the sandwich was so big it’s hard to eat (I am not sure if this a bad thing though…)
I had the Smothered Seafood Linguine. I think it was the tastiest thing of the day! The “tangy citrus creole cream sauce, garnished with fried capers and fresh herbs” was delicious. The heat was just right, not overpowering, but enough to excite you in all the right ways, culinarily speaking of course. The capers added that exciting little zap of flavour whenever masticated.
There is one cautionary note I need to tell. It did not bother me as I am used to it, but it has to be mentioned. When a menu in Saskatchewan says “prawns” they really mean tiny little shrimp. If you have seen a real scallop, then seeing what passes as scallops in Saskatchewan may cause you to feel obliged to put them back in the ocean to finish growing. Seafood here is small and not as delicious as their gigantic oceanic counterparts. Try and remember how far we are from the ocean, but even still our seafood is just so…sad. Oh well, the pasta was damn good, though a tad over cooked.
For dessert we had a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and wild berries. This was the most balanced dish of the night. The chocolate was rich and sweet, the ice cream was also sweet, and the tartness of the berries gave this dessert the perfect contrast. I was happy with the desert.
And now a word about our server. She was excellent. This does not just mean she brought us what we ordered without mucking it up. Even though she was busy, the water, diet coke with no ice (aunt), and iced tea (wife), were refilled without incessant supplication on our part. When she was on her way to one table, she looked at other tables to see if they were low on drinks. This meant she could bring drinks with her, dropping them off prior to taking the order from another group. For some strange reason, I have seen and worked with countless servers who would make a trip back and forth for each table, one at a time, wasting so much time and pissing everyone off. It is so much less work to just do things once, and the customers are so much happier.
In addition to our great server, the manager came out to say “hi” and ask me a few questions. I was taking pictures, after all. He was friendly, and took an empty plate away at the end our meal. This is a sign that he is likely a good boss, not leaving it for a lowly server, but noticing something which needed doing and taking care of it. I am sure Rock Creek is here to stay, that it will be popular, and that they will eventually expand again. There may be a few kinks to iron out in the menu, but overall it is a decent place worth trying if you haven’t done so yet.
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