Hart’s Table and Bar – Restaurant Review

Century Hospitality Group has opened another restaurant, this one—Hart’s Table and Bar—in Terwillegar, takes over the space previously home to Ric’s Grill.

IMG_5491_Hart Interior

A smart colour scheme of bright greens and dark woods makes this restaurant classy, inviting and comfortable. The restaurant is staffed by the young and pretty and nattily dressed.

IMG_5492_Hart Interior 1

IMG_5499_Hart Menu

Hart’s Table is all about comfort food offered in “a warm, relaxed social experience paired with a hand-made, locally sourced menu.”

For comfort food you’ll find short ribs, grilled cheese, roast chicken, gnocchi, and even perogies—made in-house, using “baba’s recipe”.

Being a Saskatchewan farm girl raised among eastern European immigrants, I’m skeptical when a restaurant serves “home-made” perogies,  but I have to say, these dumplings were duzhe dobre (very good), and almost as good as Baba Rohatensky’s.  The Mundare sausage served with the perogies, though, was obviously cut by someone suffering from symmetrophobia:  some thick, some thin, some big, some small. How hard is it to cut sausage?  (Details people, details!)

Perogies and Mundare Sausage Appetizer $13
Perogies and Mundare Sausage Appetizer $13

The dippidy-do-da is a pretty righteous dip. Kale and roasted garlic make wonderful companions and this dip hit all the right notes. This is modern comfort food, and I loved it.

Dippidy-do-da $14
Dippidy-do-da $14

But then this happened:

Shishito Peppers $9
Shishito Peppers $9

Apparently, about one out of every 10 peppers is hot. We weren’t able to find out because the sweet soy glaze hardened like mortar making them hazardous to our fillings, but more than that, these roasted peppers were drowning in oil, and bitter to boot. They went back to the kitchen after three of us tried one each.

Roast chicken entrée: Nicely roasted, juicy, savoury and not dried out like chicken can sometimes be in restaurants. The accompanying havarti/jalapeno mac and cheese was extra saucy with just the right amount of jalapeño kick. A zippy kale salad offered the required acidic touch to refresh the palate and balance the plate, but $26? That chicken had better arrived with its own chauffeur to justify that price.

Roast Chicken $26
Roast Chicken $26

I was pleasantly surprised with the gnocchi — again, made from scratch, and not over-played with flavour other than what it took from the tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs. My suggestion would be to share this filling dish with another person, and supplement it with a salad.

Gnocchi $23
Gnocchi $23

The steak frites was the flame-out entrée and the most expensive. At $30, the portion was pitiably small and thin and the meat itself grossly under-flavoured. The frites were killer, but the arugula and tomato salad was more a “what else can we put on this plate” afterthought than anything worth calling a salad.

Steak Frites $30
Steak Frites $30

The pricing of items remains something of a concern, as in, some items are way out to lunch; the roast chicken and the steak frites for example, along with a $9 ice cream float.  You just can’t sell me on a scoop of ice cream in pop being worth $9, no matter how hard you try. The salted caramel bread pudding, however, was easier to swallow. It was the same price, but had much more heft and was easily shared between two (almost three) people.

Salted Caramel Bread Pudding $9
Salted Caramel Bread Pudding $9

The food, for the most part, was commendable. The service…well, our server—sweet as she was—was so naive about food that it was, literally, embarrassing. But, at least she put in effort unlike the floor manager who spent most of the time strutting to and fro and looking very important. His quick “How was everything?” while half our party was out the door told me that not only was he unaware of any concerns, but that he also lacked the confidence to deal with the issues even if he’d been apprised.

I can hardly blame servers like this, but rather place onus on the owners who need to look beyond the false eyelashes, swanky outfits, and over-coiffed locks, and instead, look for passion and intellect in the people who serve as the front line in their business.

My CBC Edmonton AM review of Hart’s Table and Bar can be heard here.