In the old days, steakhouses ruled the culinary scene. The rooms were large, dark and manly; heavy on the wood and big on banquettes. Men wore dinner jackets, and if you arrived sans veste, one would be provided for you. Caesar salads were assembled table side. Grand Marnier and Amaretto came together in ‘blueberry teas’ and speciality coffees were laced with Galliano and Frangelico. You ramen-loving, Fernet-Branca types won’t be able to relate, but for those of us who headed to Hy’s Steakhouse or the Westin’s Carvery for post-work drinks and steak dinners on weekends, we remember well.
Atlas Steak + Fish in the Grand Villa Casino is attempting to reconnect us with the classic steakhouse. They’ve done a pretty good job of it, too. The dinner menu hearkens back to the 80s when everything was big— including expense accounts, shoulder pads and hairdos. Expect raw oysters, jumbo prawn cocktail, lobster bisque, steaks of varying sizes, and a roster of accompanying sauces like béarnaise and peppercorn.
Chopped Canada (2014) winner, Chef Shelley Robinson, is in command, overseeing a large territory that includes Match gastro pub on the main floor, Atlas Steak & Fish upstairs and a handful of fast take out places like Vera’s Burgers between the casino and the community rink. The dinner menu is quite conservative and classic steakhouse, but Robinson does get to exercise her culinary muscle more on the lunch menu: bone marrow, pho, lobster roll, spaghetti carbonara and a riff on oysters Rockefeller, called Atlas oysters here.
A few hits, some misses; a classy room and a great place to go before hockey games when a shorter menu means you’re fed and watered well before game time. Have a listen to my CBC on air review with Mark Connolly here, or read the web article here.